OBO hosts property forum in Washington

Leaders from OBO and Allied Partners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K. join together at the Annual International Property Forum held in Washington, Feb. From left: Tony Whitehead, U.K.; David Schwartz, Canada; Diem Hetherington, Australia; Ed Hobart, U.K.; Addison “Tad” Davis, U.S.; Dan Danagher, Canada; Bina Chandra, Australia; Karen McAulay, New Zealand; Sacha Anderson, New Zealand; and Henry Jardine, U.S. Photo by Christine Foushee
Leaders from OBO and Allied Partners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K. join together at the Annual International Property Forum held in Washington, Feb. From left: Tony Whitehead, U.K.; David Schwartz, Canada; Diem Hetherington, Australia; Ed Hobart, U.K.; Addison “Tad” Davis, U.S.; Dan Danagher, Canada; Bina Chandra, Australia; Karen McAulay, New Zealand; Sacha Anderson, New Zealand; and Henry Jardine, U.S. Photo by Christine Foushee

By Christin Martinelli, Nicole Butts, and Sunny Peterson

In a commitment to the strong multilateral alliance among the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, the Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) hosted the 2020 Allied Partners International Property Forum in Washington, Feb. 19-21. The forum had not been held since 2015, and it marked the first time that the United States served as the host.

The 2020 gathering brought together Allied Partners’ leadership from real estate, property management, and construction to collaborate on critical real property issues facing the five countries’ global diplomatic portfolios. The partners discussed shared successes and challenges related to real property development and management to include global property standards, public private partnerships, as well as construction logistics and innovation.  

Over the two and a half day seminar, the partners heard from Under Secretary of State for Management Brian J. Bulatao and collectively identified actionable initiatives intended to solve common challenges.  

“The 2020 forum established a renewed commitment to work together, exchange information on real estate opportunities, develop scenarios that enable the potential co-location of facilities, collaborate on residential opportunities, develop common policies for life safety and security infrastructure requirements, and to coordinate systems maintenance operations at remote locations,” said OBO’s Director Addison “Tad” Davis IV, who provided remarks at the event.

As the event concluded, the partners committed to share information, learn from one another, and continue to explore ways to effectively work together at each other’s respective posts across the globe. While the next Allied Partners International Property Forum will convene next year in London, the dialogue between the countries is continuing throughout the year—including recent conversations about the impact and response of COVID-19 on real property portfolios. OBO looks forward to frequent communication and future opportunities to navigate the global landscape in property management with the Allied Partners.

Christin Martinelli is an architect/planner. Nicole Butts is a President’s Management Council fellow. Sunny Peterson is a planner in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ Office of Planning and Real Estate.

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