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February 26, 2008

Big shoutout to new sponsor MarcParc! With over 50 facilities in the region, MarcParc offers real estate owners, developers, and property managers a great one-stop solution to parking needs. Welcome!

We dropped in to see new GW President Steve Knapp last week, and found he's already heavily involved in real estate. Sure, they're known for Square 54, but they've got a bunch of other projects lined up, too:  conversion of the F Street Club to the president's residence; renovation of the Smith Center (funded partly by a recent $10M gift from the Smith and Kogod families); and two new dorms. Steve wants GW to be seen as a model of green.

No, Steve is not telling us to leave, but pointing out how all the university's new construction will be built to LEED standards, including things like low flow toilets and shower heads, storm water retention, and local and recycled materials. He also wants to show how to retrofit to green in historic preservation (they have a lot of great old buildings on campus), and has a presidential task force on sustainability practices that reports in June.


Here Steve shows us how he's learned to do groundbreakings, recently as part of a deal they did for the School Without Walls, which sold them an adjacent area where GW will build a new residence hall, with SWW using the proceeds to renovate.


Meet Paul Himes:  pilot, biker (Harley Softail Heritage Classic), scuba diver, underwater photographer—and developer of top secret "techie" buildings for Fortune 500 companies. What started as a one-man band back in '82 is now a 24-person firm in Fairfax. Himes Associates is a development manager for the likes of Verizon, AOL, Orbital Sciences, Fannie Mae, and  Exxon Mobil (twice over the last eight years re-doing their one million SF in Falls Church). Meaning, they assemble architects and engineers, hire contractors, oversee schedules and budgets, and manage everything until the project is done. Latest big gig: a 200K SF four-building office complex for Orbital Sciences that just broke ground in Loudoun. Paul says 60% of Himes' work is "Big E — little a"; they hire the engineers first, then the architects, instead of the other way around as usual.  They build what he calls "$50/SF boxes with $350/SF interiors." Some even require their own power substations.


We snapped this of the Himes Happy Family in their offices: Heidi Peppel, Mark Duval, Dan Berger, Paul, Karen Fields, and Erin Bartlett. Though he can't tell us in detail about the data centers they do (people like to keep the location of these places a secret), he says we probably drive by them every day without realizing it. In Loudoun alone, Paul estimates there are several million square feet of Tier 4 space (ultramodern labs and centers). He says because we're in a relatively stable environment (no earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.), and have an educated workforce and relatively cheap electricity, our metro area is a hub for data centers.

When Paul's not in the office, you'll find him in the sky.  He flies his Piper Malibu for the non-profit charitable organization Angel Flight. The charity flies patients in stable condition who wouldn't otherwise be able to get treatment to medical facilities. He sometimes even flies organs from donor to recipient—literally, hearts in Igloo coolers. Above, Paul with Binta Patel, a fellow Hodgkins survivor, on what Paul said was one of his favorite Angel Flight Missions.
Trammell Crow
Reznick Group
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