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SEATTLE, WA-The topic had been given plenty of time on the lips of executives across the nation, but when possibility became reality on Sept. 11, two words leapt to the forefront of corporate America–disaster recovery.

To address these issues for Puget Sound companies, Seattle-based media company Fisher Communications and the Corporate Services Groups of the Seattle office of Colliers International are co-hosting a special executive forum: Resource Preservation — Are You Prepared?

Doug Barrett of Colliers tells GlobeSt, “We’re very interested in the topic of resource protection and disaster recovery because it’s a very hot topic with a number of our clients.” He says many Puget Sound companies are re-examining their plans. “Specifically, they are trying to figure out impacts on their real estate decisions. Do they have the right kind of facilities to withstand disasters—natural or man made?”

The Colliers man says companies are wondering what they would do if their facilities were shut down — how customers and employees would be affected if their real estate and systems couldn’t be accessed for a number of days — as was the case in New York.

The key speaker for Dec. 5 event will be Ed McCraw, VP of public affairs and network operations for Verizon. Barrett says the title of McCraw’s speech, “Being PreparedÂ…Lessons Learned from Ground Zero,” was borne of direct experience. “This is a company that thought they had [disaster recovery] totally figured out,” he says. “But on Sept. 11, the face of one of [Verizon's] main buildings was completely sheared off—leaving millions and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment exposed to the rain—with fire hoses running through it.”

Barrett, together with fellow broker, Stephen Rothrock, is the leasing agent for Fisher Plaza, the Lake Union headquarters of the communications/media company. Barrett says the 300,000-sf complex, being constructed in two phases (the first of which is complete) was specifically designed to serve as a community and mission-critical center for media and communications companies for which resource protection and recovery are of paramount importance.

Barrett says the building is fully self-contained and could manage on its own for an extended period of time if outside resources were cut off. Included in the various elements of its super-infrastructure (too numerous to list) are a private ground well, which could provide all the water necessary for the building’s HVAC—currently six, and ultimately ten, generators with fuel stored in 10,000-gallon containers. Its seismic capacity, Barrett says, is equal to that of a hospital or 911 call facility.

One of five panelists at the symposium will be Ed Doyne, a key developer of the Fisher fortress. Doyne will speak to the audience’s question of sufficiency in real estate facilities—detailing design and engineering concerns.

While Barrett says he sees the demand for physically secure buildings increasing, providing the supply will be no easy task. “Buildings like the Fisher Plaza just can’t be turned around in two to three-years,” he says, adding “They are very expensive and require a lot of expertise.” Nonetheless, Barrett expects some developers will begin to step-up to the table to build real estate for post-9/11 corporate America.

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