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February 12, 2008
 
       
 
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BARON OF BALLSTON

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Now that John Shooshan of the Shooshan Company is all settled into his own new offices in  Liberty Center in Ballston—a two-tower, one million SF complex he delivered late last year that represents his first-ever mixed-use project—he's set his sights on revamping the view. By the end of '09, he hopes to bulldoze the Arlington bus garage across the street, making way for Founders Square, 1.1M SF of LEED Silver mixed-use. We snapped this of John last week on the roof of his office at 4075 Wilson Blvd overlooking dozens of buses.  With a smile, he says the view gives him "motivation" to move his next project forward.

 

After assembling four of the six acres from WMATA, he just filed a site plan with Arlington County at the end of December for the RTKL-designed base buildings to break ground in early '09. He actually submitted two plans:  one for regular office tenants and one for a high-security government agency.  But because he says there's "certainly a slowdown," he'll most likely pre-lease before building. Liberty Center is his first project to include residential:  234 rentals that begin to get residents next month and 234 condos nearing completion (joining lead office tenant DFI government consulting, and retail like Marvelous Market, HSBC, and ongoing negotiations to lure a white tablecloth restaurant).  Nothing's changed in his philosophy of long-term ownership: He says they're "not a 'merchant build' company," but rather "build and hold."

BUCH
 

Marketing maven Katie Ward and development guru Brian Scull show us a rendering of Founders Square.  Though Liberty Center was delivered in partnership with the Fred Schnider Company and Clark Enterprises, Shooshan is the majority owner of Founders.  And the Shooshan Company is lean:  amazingly, only eight employees (it had a few more who did property management, but recently separated them into a new firm called Kodiak).

 

John will tell you he's "been very blessed." Indeed, he gets to go to work with his kids every day. (Ah, we can identify.) Above, John with his 26-year-old son, Kevin, a former GVA Advantis guy. Kevin's been working on leasing for Liberty Center. Kelly, John's 29-year-old daughter, a Spaulding & Slye alum, also works for the company. John's a native Washingtonian, who built his business from the ground up over the last 22 years. Ever since delivering Quincy Street Station in '87, he hasn't strayed far from the area.  Even when he's not in the office, the ex-jock (he played lacrosse and football at U of Delaware) gets his sports fix as a football and LAX coach at the Landon School in Bethesda. His drive and strong presence make even many parents think at first he's a full-time teacher, but it's just testament to high energy.

 
 
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