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July 7, 2008

We're excited to announce our Bisnow on Business Green Awards, recognizing environmental leadership by organizations in each of the sectors we cover in our newsletters. We'll recognize 5 real estate firms, 5 law firms, 5 tech firms, 5 trade associations, and 5 medical organizations. Nominations are easy: Just send us bullet points on what your firm's done to promote environmental benefit and consciousness. Send by Aug 10 to GreenAwards@Bisnow.com.


Green Day? No, we're not talking about the punk rock trio, but an amazing lunch we had today with illustrious figures from the local environmental community. Somehow your humble publisher was invited to be a judge with them of the US Green Building Council National Capital Region first annual awards (not to be confused with the Bisnow Green Awards), recognizing top projects, firms, and members.


Don't we look judicious-esp. with our box lunches?  At today's judging session, from left: USGBC-NCR board member Lacy Brittingham (of ASG), former USGBC-NCR Chair Lidia Berger (of HDR), ULI chair of Sustainable Development Ed McMahon, USGBC-NCR board member Brian Gault (Peterson Companies), past national president of the American Institute of Architects Raj Barr-Kumar, alleged expert Mark Bisnow, Associate Dean of the University of MD School of Architecture John Maudlin-Jeronimo, and McInturff Architects' Mark McInturff.  Awards will be given for projects of the year, firms of the year, and member of the year at an evening event to be held at the World Bank August 7.




That's what developer Marc Dubick says the vision is for his swanky 12-story luxury condo at the corner of Woodmont and Old Georgetown Rd. Opened last month, it's named "Lionsgate" after the two 900 lb. patina bronze lions that Marc commissioned from local sculptor John Dreyfuss to guard the front doors. Of course it has 24/7 concierge service; but one thing we almost never see outside the Big Apple: fully clad doormen standing outside with white gloves from 8 AM to 10 PM every day.  We've known Marc since his days as principal at Lowe Enterprises and (in full disclosure) have become reacquainted via his sponsorship of this newsletter. We think his project, with units selling from $700k to well over $2M and 98% of his buyers coming to settlement even in this down market, is making a major statement about a new phase of Bethesda.


Lionsgate straddles both old Bethesda (aka Bethesda Triangle), down the block from Black's Restaurant and Houston's; and the newer Bethesda Row area resuscitated in recent years by Federal Realty and others. The Montgomery County Planning Commission in the last year has been paying more attention to the Triangle, trying to encourage residential development, eg, by adjusting height limits. Marc bought the corner property from Giant Food heir Sam Lehrman in 2004 and says that by mid-August there will be over 100 occupied condos in the 158-unit building. He estimates 40% of his buyers are empty nesters for whom this may be a second or third home, many from inside the Beltway including Va; 30% are young professionals; a few are recent college grads with generous parents; and some are international buyers from Kiev, Paris, Nicaguara and Nigeria.


13 floors high, Marc shows off views of downtown Bethesda-and well beyond, from Rosslyn to the Mormon Temple to Sugarloaf Mtn. Marc's a Baltimore native, which means he played lacrosse (at Gilman and the U of Md). He got into real estate while at AU law school trying to make extra dough helping a friend build houses. Later he signed on with Lowe where he stayed 17 years developing the likes of City Vista. In 2004, he teamed with father and son duo Steve and Marty Alloy, owners of Stanley Martin Homes, to create Duball (combining their names), which currently has an asset value of over $500M in the DC metro area. He's also working on a mixed-use project at the Rockville Metro which will boast two towers of 500 residential units, 40k SF retail, 1250 parking spaces, and Starwood's Aloft Hotel. Marc says his equity partnership with CIM Group for both Lionsgate and the Rockville development evolved from friendship with principal Charlie Garner, with whom he's formed Duball Land Venture and is pursuing acquisition of residential land for entitlement, infrastructure, and sale to builders.


Here Marc and fellow youth lacrosse coach Doug Firstenberg, head of Stonebridge development, show their organizational skills.  Marc says he's responsible for strategy while Doug's in charge of parent communication. This weekend Marc hit Bethany with wife Draga (with Clark Construction for 19 years, her last position being assistant general counsel) and their 12, 9, and 4 kids. It was supposedly a rest.

Story ideas?  Contact Stacey Pfarr: Stacey@Bisnow.com.


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