Lisa Picard is the new chief operating officer of Equity Office, the Chicago-based company which was once the largest office landlord in the Puget Sound region.
Picard previously led the Skanska USA Commercial Development arm in Seattle. The rising star in the commercial real estate industry is joining Equity's San Francisco office, where she'll oversee areas including quality, technology and innovation.
Skansa started its Seattle operation six years ago and, under Picard's leadership, developed an ultra-green office building on the north end of Lake Union, an office building in South Lake Union, and a 260-unit, mid-rise apartment building in downtown Bellevue. Now Skanska is planning an office high-rise in Seattle.
“I have followed Lisa’s work and career since meeting her in 1998; it was clear from the beginning that she possessed a special talent, intellect and curiosity, and her subsequent career has borne that out in spades," Equity Office President and CEO Eli Khouri said in a prepared statement.
Part of a global construction company, Skanska's ability to self-fund projects allowed it to start building projects in Seattle and elsewhere when lenders were still skittish about investing in real estate as the market was coming out of the recession.
Equity is owned by Blackstone (NYSE: BX), a multinational investment banking and financial services company with a market capitalization of nearly $30.8 billion. Equity was the region's biggest landlord in 2007, when Blackstone bought the company as part of a $39 billion acquisition. Within weeks of completing the deal, Blackstone started flipping some properties, with Beacon Capital Partners buying many of the assets locally.
Evidence of Blackstone's financial heft was demonstrated earlier this year when the New York City-based company announced a $1.16 billion cash deal to buy from Houston-based Hines some West Coast properties, including an Amazon-occupied office in Seattle and some office campuses in Redmond where Microsoft rents space. In addition, Blackstone snapped up 20 suburban office buildings in Seattle in 2015 for $208.4 million.
"Lisa’s experience will make an immediate impact on how we create and position our assets within each of our markets and ultimately foster the success of our customers," Khouri said.