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JBG Smith is managing some tours of its commercial spaces through a DC-founded web app

Amazon HQ2's landlord is the first real estate company to use OfficeTour's web application, which allows multiple users to view a space and interact at the same time.

A JBG Smith property in D.C.'s Navy Yard. (Photo via @jbgsmith on Twitter)

JBG Smith Properties is piloting a web app for virtual showings of its commercial spaces.

The real estate investment trust located in Bethesda, Maryland owns and develops mixed-use properties in the D.C. area, including Amazon’s HQ2. JBG partnered with D.C.-based OfficeTour to launch the web application which allows leasing professionals to lead interactive, virtual tours with prospective tenants.

“Through our collaboration with OfficeTour, we can couple a dynamic visual experience with the enhanced ability to communicate with our clients by responding to questions and pointing out key features that might go unnoticed during a self-guided virtual tour,” said JBG EVP David Ritchey in a press release.

The announcement of this partnership comes as D.C. is stuck in phase two of its reopening plan, with no clear timeline for moving forward. To keep fighting the coronavirus, Mayor Muriel Bowser also recently announced that anyone traveling for nonessential activities and entering to the District from 27 high-risk states must self-quarantine for 14 days (though there aren’t clear details on how D.C. plans to manage this).

“Innovation, creativity, market leadership, and customer experience are essential to office leasing in all market conditions,” Ritchey said. “The COVID-19 crisis made it clear that our virtual experience needed to reflect the same best-in-class approach.”

OfficeTour is the developer of a web-based platform with a simple interface that allows multiple users to view a real estate space and interact at the same time. The company said that its tech doesn’t require prospective tenants to download anything to participate in virtual tours on its platform, making the viewing process more seamless.

“We wanted to complement what happens in real life, where personal interaction between parties looking for offices allows for discovery and deal alignment,” said OfficeTour founder Zak Kidd. “Additionally, we wanted to prioritize the ability for the landlord’s broker to establish a real connection with the tenant driven by this integrated, collaborative experience.”

JBG, which says it currently owns 20.8 million square feet of office, multifamily and retail spaces, is the first real estate company to use OfficeTour’s web application. The company plans to run virtual tours at 30 of its spaces, including its property at 1900 N St. NW and several in Northern Virginia.

JBG’s focus on tours begs the question: Will local biz leaders return to the office, let alone look for a new one, any time soon? The real estate company itself reported a drop in earnings due to the pandemic. Some local tech businesses may follow the lead of Big Tech and not return to IRL work until summer 2021. But ultimately, as with so much related to the pandemic, we’ll have to wait and see.


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