WASHINGTON - Food Marketing Institute here last week confirmed that it would relocate its headquarters to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va.
The association, which said in May that it was seeking a lower-cost base of operations in the suburbs, has found such a venue in the former offices of U.S. Airways, an FMI spokeswoman told SN. The site provides "ease of access to [Reagan National] Airport and to transportation, and the area has a lot of hotels and restaurants for visitors," said Karen Brown, senior vice president, FMI.
She said FMI would maintain a separate office for about 15 government-relations workers on Capitol Hill. FMI is targeting early December for the move.
Local real estate sources estimated that FMI likely was able to negotiate good terms for the location.
"Tenants who are striking deals now in Crystal City are now are really getting some favorable terms," said Manny Fitzgerald, senior vice president and national director of the nonprofit practice group at CB Richard Ellis, Washington.
He estimated that FMI could easily save $10 per square foot on a 10-year lease, from rents that average close to $50 per square foot where FMI is now to between $33.50 and $36 per square foot in Crystal City.
"I don't think Washington has always been the most welcoming area for businesses," said Chris Vest, director of public policy for the American Society of Association Executives, although lately the district has become more business-friendly, he said.