Areas BOMA Conference Broadens Its Scope

June 14, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The bi-annual trade show arranged by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Grand Rapids will take on a new dimension this year.

The change is the addition of a conference that will focus on national, regional and local issues in commercial real estate.

The goal of the conference is to offer a broad perspective on trends and changes in commercial real estate and how they apply locally.

“There’s a real opportunity to disseminate information,” said Marcel Burgler, an associate broker and principal at Prime Development and a director in BOMA’s local chapter. “It’s kind of nice to have a national perspective and then be given the local flavor.”

The Grand Rapids BOMA trade show and real estate conference, “Building Value in 2002,” is scheduled for 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 23 at  Frederik Meijer Gardens. The conference is designed for owners, investors, developers, property managers, brokers, appraisers, lenders, accountants, attorneys and government officials.

The event marks the first time professionals from various segments of the Grand Rapids area commercial real estate market have been brought together in such a setting to examine national and local issues and their effects on business, said Joe Zainea, vice president of the Waters Corp. and the conference’s organizer.

Zainea, a BOMA director, hopes attendees will develop a better understanding of market dynamics and how they affect the value of their holdings and investments, as well as learn insights into the industry’s future.

“We live in uncertain times right now. It’s really difficult to know what the future holds,” he said.

While they are competitors in the marketplace, commercial real estate professionals all have the same goal in mind: “Making sure the value of their investments grow,” Zainea said. Networking and collectively offering their views about the industry’s future benefits everybody, he said.

“It’s imperative for people to connect with something larger than themselves and look outside their own organization and know that what’s going on here isn’t dissimilar to what’s going on around the country,” Zainea said.

The scheduled keynote speaker for the conference is Skip Perry, a national partner in Ernst & Young’s Real Estate Advisory Group in Chicago.

Perry’s address will include a national overview in the direction of office building values, a review of market conditions in major metropolitan markets across the country, and a look at the forces driving absorption of vacancy, acquisition trends and new construction.

A follow-up panel discussion of professionals within the local commercial real estate market will then address the same issues from a Grand Rapids perspective. Their discussion will focus on office building rentals, what CAP investors use to buy property, local lending practices in financing new developments and resulting real estate values.

A second morning panel discussion will examine effective real estate management practices.

The afternoon will lead off with an address by Charles Dismore, a Philadelphia, educator and consultant with 18 years experience in corporate and commercial real estate and a frequent speaker and panelist at national BOMA meetings.

He will focus on marketing and leasing practices in the current economic climate.

A local panel discussion and question-and-answer session will follow Dismore’s address.

The conference costs $30 for BOMA members, $65 for non-members, and includes lunch. The trade show, which runs 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day and is expected to attract up to 50 exhibitors, is free.

Registration for the conference is limited to 175 people. To register or for more information, call Sue Bierlein at BOMA at 732-5370.

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