U.S. Travel Association is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(6) trade association, and the largest travel-related association in the United States. Their membership includes a “who’s who” in the travel industry including American Express, Marriott, Diamond Resorts International and Hyatt Corporation. Their main goal was to capitalize on a soft real estate market and increase the efficiency and image of their aging Washington, D.C. headquarters.
U.S. Travel retained West, Lane & Schlager. The challenge was to successfully negotiate an aggressive real estate transaction which not only achieved a reduced rental rate and large concession package, but also provided them an immediate construction allowance adequate to renovate their 22,000 square feet. Their space allowed for a maximum capacity of 78 people, and was office intensive, dark and disjointed not allowing for collaboration between their growing staff.
After completing a strategic plan, it was determined by U.S. Travel that remaining in the building and renovating their space best achieved their goals. However, since they had more than three years remaining on their lease, outside alternatives to leverage against the existing landlord were limited.
Using their knowledge of other major tenants in the building and their lease expirations in the same time frame as U.S. Travel’s, WLS presented a case that convinced the landlord that negotiating early with U.S. Travel was imperative in minimizing the building’s looming vacancy.
We retained West, Lane & Schlager over three years before our lease was to expire based on their assessment that we would be able to renegotiate our lease early and take advantage of a very soft real estate market. Our rent was well above market and our 20-year-old space was in dire need of a complete renovation. WLS was successful in renegotiating all our lease terms to below market and provide U.S. concessions that covered our renovations. The process they lead U.S. through and results they achieved exceeded all our expectations.
Roger Dow, President U.S. Travel Association
WLS was able to negotiate a long-term lease that locked in a market rental rate, but would not take effect until two years later and provide a construction allowance immediately so U.S. Travel could complete their renovation that year instead of waiting.
U.S. Travel was able to design and construct a space that increased its maximum capacity from 78 people (282 square feet per employee) to 95 people (231 square feet per employee), and increased the visibility and image of the association with a modern, bright and collaborative work environment. In addition, WLS was able to negotiate a free rent period during their construction, and find them interim space in a neighboring building to relocate to for 90 days during the renovation. By leaving their space during the renovation, they reduced the construction schedule from six months to three months, and saved 20% in construction costs.