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August 7, 2008

Big shout-out to great new sponsor the Washington Redskins!  FedExField is the perfect year-round venue for your events. And the 'Skins are now offering Bisnow readers a special 20% discount! Please see ad to right for info, and tell 'em we sent you!


Goodness, what is architect WDG not involved in these days? Four of the first buildings on American Way at National Harbor for Peterson, 11 of the buildings around the ballpark (for Lerner, Donohoe, JPI, Opus, and Camden), Rockville Town Center for Federal Realty, ROSS Development and DANAC, and architect of record for Helmut Jahn and Vornado at 1999 K and for IM Pei at 1000 Connecticut. We went to visit WDG's longest-serving principal, George Dove, at 1025 Conn Ave yesterday to find out more. 


To judge from the state of his desk, we are not surprised to learn they can barely remember all their projects. In the last 70 years, the oldest continuously operating local architecture firm in DC has designed  600 buildings in the metro area, including older ones like 1666 K Street and 801 17th (the one that preceded Louis Dreyfus' new trophy), and 2101 L that they first designed 35 years ago and have recently helped Vornado redesign. George, who started with the firm in '71, tells us the firm was founded by Edwin Weihe in 1938, the same architect who introduced "flat plate" design here, a method allowing maximum space within DC's restrictive building heights.    

Tower Oaks

Principals Howard Weiss and Hiro Isogai began WDG's newest entity, WDG Interior Architecture, four years ago with only six people. Now it has over 20, with only half its work coming from the base building client pool. Among their activities: the 213-unit Vista at Courthouse in Arlington for First Choice Properties and Starwood's Aloft Hotel and attached condo at National Harbor. 


Hiro and Howard, both auto buffs, debate whose toy car would get better gas mileage. Howard's heading to Deer Valley this weekend for a vacation which he won playing poker against card champ Rhett Butler at Monte Carlo Night at the Ritz back in March. Hiro, who just got back from Italy, says he'll be in one of two places: the golf course or the go-cart track.


As you know, we design many of our activities around food. On Tuesday at Zola we held one of our monthly trade association CEO roundtables, where National Association of Broadcasters CEO David Rehr and Aerospace Manufacturers Association CEO Marion Blakey, both on left, joined National Association of Manufacturers CEO John Engler, second from right, in debating the importance of real estate near Capitol Hill (there are pros and cons). Arent Fox Chairman Mark Fleischaker, center, moderated the discussion, with assists from Russell Reynolds' Denise Grant and Jones Lang's Ken Patton. On one topic the three CEOs agreed: Marion (former head of the FAA), John (former three-term governor of Michigan), and David (former senior Hill staffer) all say they're expected to run their associations like a business and make hard-headed real estate decisions, not treat space as an afterthought.


And then yesterday we had our monthly Tech CEO roundtable over at lunch at McCormick & Schmick's in Reston, bringing together Unisys Federal president Greg Baroni (he has 4000 under him), Morgan Franklin co-founder Bob Morgan (240 employees), Fairfax County Economic Development Authority president Jerry Gordon, and BTG founder and now ATS CEO Ed Bersoff, with Lewis Victorino of California law firm Sheppard Mullin. All agreed tech firms face a continuing quandary: being close to their government clients, yet conveniently located for employees living farther out. Harry Klaff of Jones Lang is also normally part of our tech roundtable group but unlike the rest of us had to work for a living yesterday.


Monument Realty CEO Mike Darby and Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz at a breakfast ceremony at Monument Corporate Center I recognizing the building as Gaithersburg's first LEED office building. It's the first of three buildings in a 750k SF joint venture between Monument and Transwestern Investment Company.  The project, in the I-270 tech corridor, was designed by Davis Carter Scott and employs a "cool" roof and low flow plumbing.


Working hard as usual were Studley's Rick Barnett, Beth Hobbs, David Lipson, Mett Miller and Tim Mazzucca at the swanky Delano Hotel in South Beach for their recent corporate 19-office retreat. Why are they standing in water like this? We guess they're cooling off.


Also working hard in Miami, Lawson Wilder, David Scheinberg, Leland Middleton of the Studley NoVa office weren't swimming with the fish; they were catching them.

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