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May 15, 2008

Don't miss the next great Bisnow event: Retrofitting to Green.  Lunch panel & schmooze. May 20, Il Mulino.Thanks to Transwestern, Perkins + Will, and Balfour Beatty! Sign up!


Is there a more prominent street corner here than K and Connecticut, or a more prestigious sounding address than 1000 Connecticut Avenue? (All right, fine, other than that 1600 place.) That's where downtowners have been watching in awe as the latest old building from the 70's has been reduced to a heap that resembles, well...see pictures #3 and 5 below. Although it's long been rumored, this morning 350-lawyer Arent Fox officially announces that it's becoming anchor tenant of the glistening new trophy that will arise on the spot, taking 250k of 370k SF for an "initial" 17-year lease to commence in 2012. Studley represented Arent Fox, Cushman the owners:  the Small, Gewirz, and Kaplan families. All of which is an inspirational Washington story: three of the region's oldest and still independent real estate families, leasing to one of the oldest local, still merger-free law firms.


We visited Arent Fox partners Mark Katz and Jerry Fox in their office last evening; together with colleague Joe Fries, they did the lawyering  for their firm's own deal (Grossberg Yochelson was on the other side). They point here to the heap out their current window.  It's so close because Arent Fox is only a building away. Leading Jerry to observe that theirs will be the "biggest move in the history of Washington without trucks." Yes, they will use movers, but the loading docks of the respective buildings will be just 40 feet away, so things will be wheeled, not driven. The firm's moving because they've been in the glassy Washington Square since 1982—as the anchor tenant of what was then also the coolest new building in town—and their 30-year lease will be up. (Note to old timers: Yep, time flies.) 


Here's a rendering of their new building. They tell us they considered every new submarket around, but are "committed to the fabric of DC" and wanted to be near all major transportation (they have the red, blue, and orange lines across the street) because "it's the right thing for the city and the environment." The building, designed by the late James Ingo Freed of famed Pei Cobb Freed, and being constructed by Clark, will be an improvement over where they are now, with a 4000 foot fitness center, 9 foot ceilings, and big roof garden overlooking Farragut Square and the White House, and of course LEED Gold with a separate lobby entrance (read: "large brand presence"). They're working with STUDIOS Architecture on interior design, but haven't picked out a contractor. 


Studley's Tom Fulcher was kind enough to take this picture of the site for us last night (he was on his way back from the Alzheimer's Ball at the Grand Hyatt, which he and colleague Adam Schindler attended for AARP, a client they share with Arent Fox). Tom and Adam were joined on the tenant rep team by Art Greenberg and David Lipson; Cushman had Audrey Cramer and Lou Christopher. Studley was engaged in August '06 because the scarcity of space downtown (thanks to height limits) raised the possibility a developer might have to assemble multiple properties, with the process taking several years.  


Mark and Jerry in the alleyway checking on progress. (C'mon, the pot will never boil if you keep watching.) They'll have floors 2-9 of a 12 story building and 15k more feet than they have now, with options for expansion. It's bittersweet, though. Arent Fox's current landlord is the Lerner family, who they say has been absolutely wonderful all these years, including now that they're moving.  But don't worry guys, it's still four years away. Although it will seem the same as today: We'll be in the middle of yet another Obama/McCain/Hillary campaign, except one of them will have served their first term.


This picture taken at 9:51 am today...check out the webcam at www.1000Conn.com.


Yesterday we had lunch at Restaurant Mio on Vermont Avenue, celebrating its first anniversary this month. Above, owner Manuel Iguina, center, with FOX Architects principal JP Spickler, left, and biz dev guru Mark Strandquist. Mark came in the door six months ago and did a doubletake to see Manuel. They'd known each other in the late 70s when Mark was a bartender after college at the Third Edition in G-Town (historic tidbit: and Petch Gibbons' roommate) and Manuel was helping to open up Filomena.


JP heads basebuilding design, and told us over Carpaccio del Maestro (marinated tofu, quails eggs, minced mushrooms, and some cool kind of meat—there's a limit to your humble publisher's cooking lingo) that one of their top activities is designing for TDRs. For example, they're adding two stories at 1129 20th St, the old BOT building, owned by Lincoln Property Trust, where they're adding in the process of gutting and reskinning the building into a trophy renovation being done by Jones Lang's construction division. Another TDR deal is at 2175 K, where they're getting ready to start construction with Davis; and they also have one in design and one in feasibility.


This is the afore-mentioned dish sitting before your publisher yesterday, as he tried to remember his wife's admonition to taste food before devouring it. Executive chef Stefan Frigerio was senior sous chef at four-star Maestro. With 150 seats, Mio bills itself as modern American with Mediterranean influences. As for the wine, how can you talk about TDRs without it?



May 20 Retrofitting to Green Panel and Schmooze  Sign Up
June 12 Breakfast Schmooze with Debby Ratner Salzberg  Sign Up
June 24 Bisnow State of the Market Conference  Sign Up

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