14th Annual Real Estate Forum to showcase and explore current market trends in Thurston County, presented by the Thurston Economic Development Board

Jhe real estate market is a clear indicator of economic growth, although it can be complex to understand and apply its impact on our local economy. The Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) proudly presents a forum for investigating the intricacies of the real estate industry and how it relates to other areas of growth and success in Thurston County. The 14th Annual Real Estate Forum will take place on September 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Olympia Hotel at Lake Capitol. The event is open to all professionals and community members for $50 per person. Register for your spot today and learn about current trends in our local market!

Olympic Rental & Landlord Services celebrated the completion of newly renovated space at the Olympic Press Building on State Avenue. The Warehouse – Urban Offices consists of 11,500 square feet of Class A office and meeting space in the heart of Olympia. Photo credit: Olympia Rental & Landlord Services

Chat and connect with local real estate industry experts

The Real Estate Forum is one of a series of high-impact networking events that the Thurston EDC hosts each year. Throughout the pandemic, they have continued to provide insightful real estate market insights virtually. They are thrilled to announce that this year the Real Estate Forum will return in person to resume the traditional networking and presentation experience offered in years past. “We are excited to have him in person to ensure there are connections for developers, professionals and business owners doing business in Thurston County,” said Michael Cade, Executive Director of Thurston. EDC.

Through this event, attendees can connect with a wide range of local industry professionals and experts to better understand how Thurston County’s unique market can translate into opportunities within their own businesses and lives. . “We always try to provide attendees with a foundation of knowledge about the state of the economy and opportunities for resource development and partnership,” Cade shares. “We want people to understand the impact of real estate on the functioning and evolution of the economy. It’s an important conversation that also applies to people outside of real estate development and really sets the stage for economic forecasting at the Regional Economic Forecast & Innovation Expo event that we host each December at the Great Wolf Lodge.

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with a networking segment to allow attendees to explore local vendors, event sponsors, and connect with other industry professionals. “This is a strong connection point for individuals where they can have the chance to meet local businesses and developers in the area,” shares Michael. “They walk away with a working rolodex and a better understanding of the local environment that they can do business with.”

digital design of a 54,000 square foot multi-family mixed-use project at the corner of State Street and Water Street in downtown Olympia.
TAS is developing a 54,000 square foot multi-family mixed-use project at the corner of State Street and Water Street in downtown Olympia. Called The Madrone, the project was named after the native madrone tree that grows near saltwater shores. The project will likely be completed in early 2023 with retail on the ground floor and 60 residential units above. Photo courtesy: Thomas Architecture Studios

At noon, the roundtable will begin where four local panelists will discuss current trends they are seeing in the Thurston County real estate market. They all bring some expertise that explains how all of these ideas are connected and how the pandemic has affected different parts of the real estate industry and our economy as a whole.

Speakers for the 14th Annual Real Estate Forum

This year, the Real Estate Forum will have a strong focus on the impact of the pandemic on commercial and residential development. Specifically, the forum’s expert panelists will explore how residential markets and the development bubble have been ‘pushed’, both of which have led to changes in the buying and selling experience for consumers and businesses, respectively. Real estate trends and projections for Thurston County will be examined to explore the opportunities that have opened up and why our local economy has quickly become one of the fastest growing regions in the United States.

This year’s forum will feature four key local presenters from Thurston County, including Steve Shaul of Crow Holdings Industrial; Danielle Rants from The Rants Group; Brandon Smith from West Bay Development Group, LLC. and Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess, LLC,, and current Chairman of the Board of EDC, as panel moderator. Each speaker brings a unique perspective to offer insight into this ever-changing market and contribute to the ongoing conversation about real estate industry trends and impacts.

Managing Partner Heather Burgess has extensive experience representing property owners and developers in all phases of property development. She is also an experienced civil real estate litigator and represents clients in boundary and title disputes as well as real property claims.

digital design for 521 Capitol Way to create a mixed-use boutique hotel.
REIN COMPANIES is looking to convert 521 Capitol Way to create a mixed-use boutique hotel. Although still in its infancy, the project holds great promise for bringing this unique hospitality experience to Thurston County. Photo courtesy: REIN COMPANIES

Vice President of Development Steve Haul is focused on land acquisition, design and development of industrial warehouse distribution projects in the Pacific Northwest. He has 29 years of experience in commercial real estate and is currently responsible for the Tumwater Corporate Center project.

Director Danielle Rants is a third generation business owner who joined the Rants team in 2013. She is deeply involved in the property management of the commercial real estate division, as well as the operations of the company as a whole.

Principal Brandon Smith has 20 years of experience in civil engineering, surveying and construction management and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State. He has an in-depth understanding of Washington’s regulatory environment through his past experiences and current partnership with Ron Newman to build multi-family projects, collectively accumulating over 500 units in Thurston County.

Join the conversation at Real Estate Forum

The 14th Annual Real Estate Forum will provide exceptional opportunities for local professionals to learn, connect and grow. Through the insightful panel discussion and the networking involved, attendees can expect to come away with a deeper understanding of the local market as well as exciting new professional connections. Sign up today to join the conversation for yourself and learn about the growth and impacts happening in Thurston County!

The Real Estate Forum and Thurston EDC are also proud to cross-promote their event this year with the Tour of the houses of Olympia Master Builder.

Special thanks to this year’s platinum sponsor TwinStar Credit Union for making this event possible, and to local businesses OlyFed, The Rants Group, CRG, Work Opportunity Tax CreditPhilip Burgess, SCJ Alliance, Olympic Rental And Owner Services, Prime locations, Kidder Mathews, Intercity transport, Thomas Architecture Studios, Port of Olympia, Heritage Bank, South Puget Sound Community Collegeand South Sound Business Magazine. Thank you all for your support!

14th Annual Real Estate Forum
September 22
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Olympia Hotel at Lake Capitol
2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, Olympia
Online registration


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Melvin B. Baillie