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April 2, 2008

Next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze:  Louis Dreyfus Property President Jeff Sussman and DC Head Bob Braunohler. Apr. 16 at BLT Steak. Come hear about their amazing Lafayette Tower and other new projects. Special thanks to Tishman Construction, Gilbert Randolph and WorkSpaces LLC. Sign up!


Columbia, SC-based Edens & Avant has a strong reputation as a retail developer. Here in the mid-Atlantic, it has 40 properties (many grocery-anchored strip malls) and a traditional focus on "retail urban infill."  But testing a new frontier of mixed use, it's venturing with J Street Development into what it sees as a DC growth area over the next 10 years called Florida Market (others refer to it as "New Town" or "Capital City"). It's 27 acres of warehouses and wholesalers that sit northeast of NOMA and adjacent to Gallaudet, where on mornings you might see 18-wheelers clogging the streets to pick up food supplies for the region's restaurants and hotels.


In his Bethesda office this week, E&A's mid-Atlantic head Steve Boyle shows his Massapequa roots on Long Island, which he proudly calls "home of Jerry Seinfeld": Yep, that's a picture of Kramer in the background. Steve says the Florida Market is the sort of "true urban redevelopment" that comes along once in a blue moon. They've bought 6 parcels already from among 70 owners in the area, aim to get more, and in December closed on DC Farmers Market, a structure with about 50 tenants selling everything from bananas to sneakers. Though still just in an entitlement and zoning, Steve tells us he'd love to see a focus on cultural food, maybe a culinary institute, and a grocery store to lend a neighborhood feel. He loves a little Italian grocery store there called A. Litteri, and wants to preserve it and other mom and pops. "We want to bring the old and the new parts together."

Kane Company

More of the E&A team, Tom Gallagher, Brad Dumont, Walt Bagley, and Brady Pate, show us an overview of the market site. (Those are halos, not spotlights.) E&A has 130 shopping centers in 14 states; founder Joe Edens started company 40 years ago after his father sold the family grocery store chain to predecessors of Winn-Dixie. What started out as a one-man-show has evolved into a 250 employees (35 here) and assets over $3.5B


Steve with Adam Frazier, Tom Kiler, and Jessica Bruner. Two weeks ago, E&A broke ground on a Safeway and Home-Depot-anchored shopping center in Haymarket and is set to open a Super Wal-Mart in May at Riverton Commons at Front Royal, where they already have a Lowe's. They're also slated to break ground in the fall on Mosaic at Merrifield, a 2M SF mixed-use center with 1000 residential units, full service hotel, 150k SF of class A office, a 16-screen theater and 600k SF of retail. They opened a Super-Target last month at Innovation Center in Prince William, and have a huge Albemarle Place project in Charlottesville. Steve likes to be "on the real estate" — visiting and shopping the sites. Almost every weekend, he packs up his wife and two small girls, Lila and Sadie, for a trip to a different shopping center. "It's cool to hear a three-year-old say 'leasing'" Steve says.

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