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Big Time NY Firm Coming to Lil Ol' DC
September 6, 2013

Big Time NY Firm
Coming to Lil Ol' DC

After years of rumors that it was interested in dipping its toe into Potomac waters, Bisnow has learned that a giant has entered DC.

Mention the name Related Companies in NY, and you're talking a powerhouse—together with Brookfield, it's behind the recently launched development of Hudson Yards, which Fortune, in a cover story this week, calls the biggest real estate project in US history. It developed Time Warner Center in the '90s and today owns and operates over $15B of high-quality assets around the world. Oh, and founder Steve Ross, whom we snapped in NY some time back, even owns the Miami Dolphins.
AmeriJan Intext MDCRE

Prominent NY-based developer Richard Ruben, center, who has long known and worked with Related, is JV'ing on a project at 909 Half St SE, two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro on M Street and three blocks from the main gate of Nats Park. (We snapped Richard a couple years back with his COO John Schrenker and Holland & Knight's Chip Glasgow.) With the right to build 800k SF, the project is in design for a first phase of 400 apartments, and is contemplating a second phase of residential and/or office, and potentially a "young, cool boutique" hotel (they're talking with two operators). Richard assembled the land, buying a note and foreclosing on JPI at the bottom of the financial crisis four years ago, then purchased an Exxon station two years ago. In DC, Richard owns another 1.5M SF of developable land around Capital Riverfront as well as Pennsylvania Plaza (601 Penn, featuring restaurant Fiola). He also developed Lincoln Square (555 11th), 400k SF of office that houses E Street Cinema.
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Behind the Deal: Republic of India to U Street

Rock Creek Property Group wasn't sure what to do with the vacant former nightclub and post office it bought on U Street in 2011. The right move turned out to be waiting (something it probably learned at the post office). The firm's Gary Schlager (snapped with CBRE's Tina Weaver earlier this summer) tells us that after buying 1438 U Street in January 2011, the firm took over a year to evaluate the best next use for the 12k SF property. Plans included everything from condos to apartments to retail. But Gary says selling or leasing to a single-user occupant made the most sense, which culminated in India purchasing the building for $5.7M. It will be used as a cultural center, Gary says, and India, which closed all cash on 1438 U, was ultimately attracted to the open floor plan and unique historic interior not found in many properties in DC.

There was one more suitor in the running—a retailer, Gary says—but the buyer's willingness to move quick and close all cash helped set them apart. As for the upcoming cultural center, Barnes Vanze Architects principal Anthony "Ankie" Barnes, who assisted the India with due diligence on the buy, tells us the design will serve to "foster the exchange of cultural issues" between both India and the US.

What CBRE Did This Summer

We're wrapping up our look at where you all went this summer with a visit to CBRE's Bethesda office, where we snapped the firm's Andy Cole next to one of his prized possessions—a gong he'll strike whenever a big deal closes. Andy says he hit up the Outer Banks recently, though also tells us the fall is his real summer—he's a college football nut (and former Nebraska player himself) who will travel to Ann Arbor for the Nebraska-Michigan matchup as well as Syracuse for the first ACC bash between the Orange and Clemson (where his son is in school). Andy also says he and partner Larry Thau have 140k SF in LOIs and leases at the Colesville Business Park in Silver Spring, AKA Choice Hotels' former HQ.

Tenant rep vet Kathy Keller just got back from her annual family vacation with her children and six grandchildren (five of whom are boys) in Bethany. But like Andy, Kathy's got a big fall planned, including a trip to Columbus in October for golf's President's Cup. As for Montgomery County's leasing scene, Kathy says activity has picked up at Metro-oriented submarkets specifically Bethesda and Silver Spring.

The firm's Brad Wilner just paid a visit to Mt. Rushmore on a cross-country trip with some friends. Brad tells us he flew into Chicago and made stops in Madison, WI, Minnesota, and Saratoga, WY, where he got in some fly-fishing. He returned Sunday from the trip, and is back in the office actively working on the sale of the National Labor College's campus in Silver Spring, as well as hunting for space for the Immune Tolerance Network in Bethesda and Ullico in downtown DC.

GMU Back in Session

MRED guest Len B 003
George Mason's Masters in Real Estate program is already back in full swing, and snapped here is program director Bob Wulff (seated, middle) kicking off the school year last week along with guest speaker Len Bogorad of RCLCO and adjunct prof Mark Cummings of MEC Realty Associates. Mark tells us this year's bunch includes a good mix of local, national, and international students, and that the newbies are hoping to follow the lead of last year's graduating group that took first place in a NAIOP competition of area schools on the best use for a site in Capitol Riverfront.

CohnReznick Awarded for Workplace Excellence

CohnReznick regional managing partner Gary Perlow announced the prestigious accounting firm's Bethesda (pictured) and Baltimore offices have received the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan award for excellence in workplace effectiveness and flexibility (Maryland category). Part of the national When Work Works project—administered by Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management—the award recognizes employers of all sizes and types in Maryland and across the country. Gary says that workplace flexibility, such as flex time and part-time work, has been demonstrated to help employees while benefiting business. It also has a powerful impact on employee engagement and motivation. As a recipient of the award, CohnReznick ranks among the top 20% of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies, and culture for creating an effective, flexible workplace. Congrats to a job—and a workplace—well done! For more info on our sponsor, click here.

Eight New Restaurants

Is this the golden age of dining in DC, or what? If you subscribed to Dining Bisnow, you would know everything you need to keep you culinarily content, including in our most recent issue eight cool new restaurants we bet you haven't tried or even heard of. (Here's the issue, if you haven't read it.) But, hey, it's easy to subscribe—and of course, it's free.

Super Bowl Picks?

The defending champion Ravens may have looked sluggish last night in a blowout loss to Peyton Manning's Broncos, but Harkins Builders' Steve Rubin and Fitze Group's Karen Fitze aren't fazed, both responding to us yesterday that the Ravens are their pick to go all the way again this year. Barrett Tucker of American Infrastructure tells us that the 49ers, not his beloved Redskins are his pick to hold up the Lombardi Trophy next February. CBRE's Yvette Donnelly is pulling for the home team though, telling us it'll be the Redskins all the way.

What are you getting into this weekend? Our Prancercise class was cancelled, so we're looking for something new. Email chris.baird@bisnow.com

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