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November 14, 2008

Big shout-out to great sponsor Delucchi+! Annette Picon has just joined the team as Media and Research Director, overseeing the firm's media, research, and public relations programs, as well as assisting with its new biz dev initiatives. Congrats!


The headline above is our idea for a reality show. Oh, wait, that's already our life. Last night was no different. Quick, who are the fresh scrubbed, enthusiastic faces below? Finalists in Project Runway? A crowd standing outside the window of the Today Show? Groupies waiting for tickets to New Kids on the Block?


No, this is just a dozen of the hundreds who turned out to see ING's glitzy renovation of 901 15th St. The crowd sipped wine and "ING-tinis" and took in breathtaking views of the Washington Monument (well, since it was night, if you squinted through the glass or went outside on the balcony perched dramatically over McPherson Square). The building was Washington's coolest trophy when it first appeared 20 years ago, and the extreme makeover is an effort to reclaim that distinction. It's 250k SF, with tenants Kay Scholer (a returning vet which lived through the renovation), New York Life, and Apple, among others. 140k feet remain, including 80k contiguous feet in the four top floors (out of 12). Almost two years in the making (sounds like a movie trailer), everything's new from bathrooms to elevator cabs, HVAC, and lobby.


ING's Marc DeLuca and Cassidy's Bobby Schwartz (who with colleague Eli Barnes is brokering) stand above the grand white-ensheathed modern lobby. Leo A. Daly and Forrester Construction did the sizzling work. Our arrow above helpfully points out Cassidy CEO Joe Stettinius, who signals his approval from down below. Others who approved last night include winner of a five-star splurge at Nemacolin, Geoff Kieffer of Woodmark; five winners who each got $901 Visa card credits (reflecting the address); and everyone else who came, taking home $100 credits.


Speaking of Cassidy, congrats to Christian Miles and Phil Mudd, snapped yesterday in their office, who just closed a 54-month, $194 million construction loan from a syndicate of 6 lenders led by Chevy Chase Bank. Phil tells us the secret to getting such a deal in this environment: A great location (1000 Connecticut Ave.), tenant (Arent Fox), and sponsors (Gewirz, Small, Kaplan). 


We mean great as in, highest quality of both professional work and personal warmth. Everyone's favorite, of course, sits in the center: the man we've previously dubbed Dean of the Washington Real Estate Bar, Arent Fox's timeless David Osnos, for many decades closest adviser to the likes of Abe Pollin and Jim Clark. We snapped this last night at BLT at a dinner hosted by Leslie Voth, left, president of Pitcairn, a renowned (but low-key) multi-family office serving many of America's wealthiest families. Standing in back: Grossberg Yochelson's Dick Beyda, Nixon Peabody's Ray Gustini, Greenberg Traurig's Nelson Migdal, Selzer Gurvitch's Mark Lapin, and Patton Bogg's Jim McNair. By the way, showing how carefully we interweave our stories, we note that Dick Beyda was the lawyer who represented the borrowers in the $194 million loan mentioned in the previous story.


And so the accountants don't feel left out (but don't tell the anti-trust authorities they were at the same table): Reznick's Jim Martinko and Aronson's Harry Harrison standing, with Beers & Cutler's John Cutler (who looks pretty rested, considering he's got twin two-year olds at home). 


Also at BLT last night, in an unrelated cabal: Tranwestern's Cliff Mendelson, CB's Scott Frankel, Calkain's Jon Hipp, and Meltzer Group's Alan Meltzer. Jon's preparing his grocery list for a big family Thanksgiving at his house in Deep Creek Lake, and also prepping for a big Net Lease seminar he's giving at Congressional CC shortly thereafter. 


At still another table: Arent Fox's Denise DeLorey with RMJM Hillier design director Peter Schubert and his colleague George Skarmeas, who's worked on historic preservation of the US Supreme Court, Virginia State Capital, and Lincoln Cottage. Peter has in design East River Science Park, Manhattan's first speculative research park.


Still last night, we caught the tail end of Ballard Spahr's National Housing Symposium at the Reagan Building. Industry leaders like Conrad Egan from the National Housing Conference led panels on affordable housing in '09 and beyond. Above, Freddie Mac's Kim Griffith and SunAmerica's Mike Best flank Ballard's Paul Casey, Mary Jo George, Sharon G?no, and Wayne Hykan. Paul tells us the good news is things will look better in 12-15 months. Bond interest rates are already down and some of the Capitol Hill panelists seemed amenable to technical fixes to tax credit programs to create jobs. Also, last year tax credit investment was $10B; this year, $5B. Rather than being discouraged, Paul says that proves investments are still being made.


Also yesterday, about 100 women turned out for the third annual Women in Construction, a daylong conference downtown with panels on everything from BIM to health and well-being. The event was founded by Howrey's Barbara Werther, second from right, here with Train Like a Pro owner (that's a downtown gym, we think) Roger Brown, U Penn's Harvey Rubin, and Titian Partners principal Margaret Van Voast, currently working on a hotel on virtually the last piece of property in Shirlington.


Also on hand: Sydne Garchik (of SJM Partners), Jesse Garchik (of The Meltzer Group), and Meghan Davis (of JM Zell). We'd go on, but must be off to new rounds today. Food awaits! 

Reznick Group
Potomac Gateway
Beveridge & Diamond
Patriot Contracting
GVA Advantis
Board of Trade
Burka Studios
Cardinal Bank
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