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June 24, 2008

Our friends at K3 Construction are attacking rising fuel costs! Last week the firm started a "Friday-work-from-home policy," resulting in a 20% reduction in fuel consumption, improved quality of life for staff, and reduction in the number of cars on the road. Yeah K3!


There's the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House, but the landmark getting a big expansion this summer is Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street. We dropped by the other day to find out more about it—a thinly veiled excuse to down a couple of their great half smokes


Brothers Kamal and Nizam Ali don't want to change the original Bowl, which was opened by their parents, Ben and Virginia in August '58. The 1213 U Street, NW, eatery is staying the same, but the bros will be opening Ben's Next Door, where patrons "can finally get a chili dog and a beer." They say the new space, coming in August, will be the "Bowl version of a bar" and offer a more upscale ambience than the original.

Kane Company

The 3k SF Ben's II is literally right next door, a space owned by legendary jazz musician Jellyroll Morton in the 30's. Above, GGA's Thomas Hart and Tom Mulhearn stand with Nizam, PCM Construction superintendent Rick Thayer, and Kamal. It's a busy year for the Ali brothers: They've also opened a Ben's at the new stadium, and later this summer celebrate the Bowl's 50th Anniversary with a gala at Lincoln Theater nearby where Bill Cosby will emcee and other celeb fans are expected in droves.


Rick, Thomas, and Tom join construction guys Corey Young and Demetrius Mason in what will soon be the new kitchen of Ben's second act. Group Goetz Architects, which is doing both exterior and interior design, says the space will include one of the longest bars in the city—over 50 feet—and an area for live performances. Truth be told, they had us at: "Chili dog and beer."


Volume may be down, but not all money guys are spending their days perfecting chip shots. We paid a visit to the Tysons office of CapMark, which remains active as one of the giants in both mortgage banking and lending. The firm (until two years ago known as GMAC commercial mortgage until KKR, Goldman, and Five Mile took a majority interest and re-branded them) remains the largest Freddie Mac lender and one of Fannie's biggest, too. Above, Marvin Hill, Greg Ciambruschini, Ryan Pinson, and Fabrice Vasques told us Capmark's the equity partner in the $100M 14th and W Street YMCA project with Perseus Realty. The new Y, which breaks ground in September, boasts a state-of-the-art fitness facility, Olympic size swimming pool, indoor basketball court, childcare, 10K SF ground level retail, and 229 market rate rental units.


Branch manager Richard Bopp, Jeff Geifman, Ryan Krueger, and John Meese. Capmark also provided the equity on One Loudoun for Miller & Smith and Meridian Group. The 262 acre development in Ashburn will have 3M SF of office, 700k of retail, 1,040 residential units, 750 hotel rooms, a 10-screen theatre, and a gourmet grocery when its final phase delivers in 2010. Capmark's also Herb Miller's equity partner for the retrofit of Georgetown Park, to begin in '09. Nationally, the San Mateo-based company has a servicing portfolio of nearly $400B, which they tell us makes them the largest servicer of commercial paper in the country. Though the DC office finances debt directly through Capmark, they say their niche is arranging third party debt and equity. We love stories about how money is still around!

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