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October 4, 2007



Comin’ to our big Bisnow Happy Hour October 11? Presented with us by WorkSpaces, LLC, in the Kimball Office Showroom downtown. Free of charge, but you must RSVP.

The world’s most famous architect, Frank Gehry, was in town yesterday to get a big award from the National Building Museum. I was thrilled to be invited to meet with him beforehand (I’m a former Trustee of the Museum), and as you can see from his expression below, he was equally thrilled to see me.

This is why we can make subscriptions free. We do not have to hire Annie Liebovitz for our fine character studies. This was taken with my trusty 5-year old pocket digital that my wife keeps telling me to throw away.

Gehry was en route to Bilbao for its 10th anniversary, but stopped off to get the Turner Prize for Architectural Innovation, named after America’s biggest construction company, which he said means a lot more coming from the “meat and potatoes crowd” than “those artsy ones I’m always getting.”

Turner Construction CEO Peter Davoren, left, and Tom Turner, grand nephew of founder Henry Turner. The prize was inaugurated in 2002 on the company’s centennial. Tom told me the sad story that his grandfather got notified he’d be named Chairman in 1946, got on a train to come back, and had a heart attack and never got the position. Now Tom and his son are the only family members left in the business. Peter comes down from NYC every six weeks to look in on progress at the Newseum. Why, of all their 1500 current projects? He’s close to Tishman Speyer, which is acting as owner’s rep.

Also yesterday: Forest City regional president Debbie Ratner Salzberg with Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, for groundbreaking of “The Yards” at 4th and M in Southeast. Take note, the place will become famous: A huge 42-acre, $1.7B mixed-use re-development along the Anacostia River, to deliver in late ’09. Debbie told us that she’s happy Washingtonians will be able to head out there for a latte and shopping, after 200 years of being closed to the public. When finished, there will be 2,800 residential units, 1.8m SF of office, a 5 acre riverfront park, and a retail hub in a former industrial building known as the Boiler Maker shop. A more immediate reward for Debbie? She’ll take a November break in Ireland to visit her daughter who’s studying at Trinity.

The ubiquitous Fenty and Holmes-Norton. You ever seen such put-together people standing next to a bulldozer?

Washington, DC Economic Partnership’s Steve Moore and PN Hoffman’s Monty Hoffman. PNH partnered with Forest City for one of The Yard’s biggest buildings: the former Broadside Mount Shop or, as the Navy designated it, Building 202. The warehouse was originally built by the Navy to produce parts for its war ships but soon it will be converted into 250 hip, urban condos. It will also boast ground floor retail, an internal courtyard, original exposed steel members, and restored gantry crane. (Haven’t we picked up the lingo impressively—“gantry crane”?) Later this fall, Monty’s off to Montana to get lost in the woods and commune with moose and bear outside Yellowstone.


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