McLEAN, VA-Like just about every region, Northern Virginia’s commercial real estate markets have been suffering from the capital markets’ freeze and, more recently, the dramatic economic downturn. Alongside the economic fallout, Northern Virginia, though, also received a blow of sorts with the presidential election. The conventional wisdom is that NoVa benefits when there is a Republican Administration because of its strong defense base; Maryland and its biotech and heath care industry clusters win when the Democrats do.

Yet despite these multi-headwinds, local industry experts expect the submarket to perform well given the circumstances. How and why will be the subject at the fourth annual RealShare Northern Virginia, being held Dec. 11 at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner. More than 250 people are expected to attend the half-day event, an increase from last year’s crowd, according to conference manager Colleen McShane.

RealShare began devoting a separate conference to Northern Virginia because its issues and market drivers are just different enough from the District’s to warrant its own gathering. For instance, for the first time this year, a representative from the General Services Administration will be speaking to the NoVa gathering, McShane tells “We have had people from the agency to speak at the DC event. But this is the first time they will focus specifically on the Northern Virginia market.” Bart Bush, assistance regional administrator of GSA’s Public Building Service, will give the keynote address, called “Post-Election Special: ‘Up Close’ with the GSA”, moderated by John Salustri, editorial director of Incisive Media.

The other chief topic, it hardly needs to be said, will be the economy. “Northern Virginia and DC are faring much better than other regions of the country, but they still are facing issues,” McShane says.

Northern Virginia’s fundamentals will be discussed at “Town Hall Meeting: The State of the Northern Virginia Market Heading into 2009″, which will follow Bush’s comments. Bradley Flickinger, managing director of CB Richard Ellis will be moderating that panel. Panelists will include Doug Fleit, CEO of America’s Capital Partners; Jim Lee, president and CEO of Opus East; Mark Levy, vice president and regional market officer of ProLogis; Jon Peterson, SVP of the Peterson Cos.; and Joe Stettinius, CEO of Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers.

A capital markets panel discussion will follow, moderated by Cliff Mendelson, senior managing director of Transwestern. Renee Mankoff senior finance executive of Imperial Capital Bank; Neil Markus, principal of Spectrum Properties; and John Norjen, managing director of investments for Corporate Office Properties Trust, will discuss who and what can fill the void for debt financing.

Concurrently held panel discussions will include the impact of the recession for the Northern Virginia multifamily market next year and the leasing and development outlook for in a recessionary, post-election market.

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