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November 30, 2007


A big welcome to new sponsor Grunley Construction.  Among many projects, the Rockville firm is wrapping up the 1401 New York Ave. renovation by the end of the year. Check out their new look! 

Hmm, somehow the shovels got cut off in the picture below, but trust us, these were not pogo sticks.  55 balmy degrees yesterday, perfect for a groundbreaking.  So we were on hand as Quadrangle, Boston-based AEW Capital Management, and GM Asset Management did the honors for 8030 Towers Crescent Drive in Tysons.  They say (and quoting them beats doing research) that it’s the first trophy office building to begin construction in Tysons in the last five years. 

At 13-stories and 295K SF, the building will deliver in summer ’09 and is being leased by Jones Lang.  Above, Quadrangle chairman Bob Gladstone, AEW principal Dan Bradley, SmithGroup’s Steve Lewis, and Hensel Phelps Construction’s Steve Speer play in the mud; fortunately, cranes in the background are doing actual work.  Bob should have kept on the safari gear he just wore for a trip to Botswana; this nice grandpa took six grandchildren.


Now, we’re not saying this was the reason all those brokers came by, but wow, everyone was treated afterwards to a humongous churrascaria buffet at the adjacent Chima Restaurant.  Above, Walsh Colucci’s Elizabeth Baker and Art Walsh, Quadrangle’s Bob Knopf and Stan Stanfield, Cushman’s Brian McVay and Quadrangle’s Mark Brungart.  8030 (next to the landmark “Shopping Bag” a/k/a Tower Club building) will have a covered pedestrian bridge connecting it to the mall. Next phase planned:  1M SF of residential.

What is this, a picture from the ‘50s archive?  No, ladies and gentlemen, bowling is just so in again!  Last night we were on the scene as Lucky Strike at Gallery Place was packed full of architects and designers, hosted by the International Interior Design Association.  From left, Perkins + Will’s Susan Ives, Eight Day Design’s Pedro Nunez, IIDA Mid-Atlantic President Frank Norcross, Omnifics’ Cynthia Hund, Davis Construction’s Louise Boulton-Lear, Mohawk Commercial’s Norma Mehler, and Gensler’s Alison Kennedy.  In case you wonder what technological advances have occurred in the last few decades:  bowling balls, evidently, are now green.

Also last night, flipping on our intellectual lights, we swung by the National Press Club for a panel on DC’s height limits, put on by DCBIA.  Here we snapped some smiles from the panelists:  Post Columnist and U of Maryland Architecture professor Roger Lewis, Holland + Knight zoning guru Steve Sherr, and Don Hawkins of the “Committee of 100 on the Federal City” (a leading non-profit civic group).   The audience was reminded that the 1910 height restriction was originally enacted to prevent buildings from exceeding the limits of fire fighting technology at the time and is determined (for some strange reason) based on width of streets. 

Outgoing DCBIA programs committee chairman Michael Seltz of Volunteers of America is flanked by new co-chairs replacing him: on left, Jones Day’s Steve Teitelbaum, and Louis Dreyfus’ Sean Cahill.  Steve, who moderated, tells us the subject engendered the most passionate debate he’s seen at DCBIA in 12 years.  Don adamantly opposed changing the law for preservation reasons, while Roger proposed “nuanced” increases around Metro stations, mixed use, and open public spaces.  But no one advocates skyscrapers, so no King Kong sequel is likely to be filmed here.

Not content to stop partying, we went on to a pre-opening night for the new BlackFinn saloon in Bethesda.  As you can tell from this picture, this will be a place known for its great…food.  BlackFinn’s Melissa Hughes, Redksins’ corporate hospitality director John Schlieman (he had to attend to test the hospitality), and Coffee, Etc.’s Tiffany Compton.

And even Sterling, Va., gets in on the late night action these days, so last night we also joined JK Moving, hosting its monthly schmooze at O'Faolains Irish Pub.  From left, JK’s Brad Van Kleeck, US General Contracting’s Larry Summers (we wondered what happened to him after he stepped down from the presidency of Harvard), PNC Bank’s Sawra Safi, and JK’s Steve Kuhn.

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