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January 15, 2008



Sponsor UpdateJones Lang LaSalle's Law Firm Group was recently awarded an exclusive contract to provide global real estate services for mega-firm Reed Smith's 1.4M SF portfolio.  Congrats!

No, that's not a secret Redskins play but a key Kettler strategy, according to Chief Investment Officer Mike Blum.  By which he means:  Find the last site left to develop in densely packed urban areas and fill it in with high-end residential or mixed use.  We met with Mike and VP Asheel Shah in the firm's McLean offices yesterday to see how they're doing just that at three high profile locations:  GW's Square 54, Pentagon East, and Reston Town Center.

Don't think those are their only projects:  Kettler has 2M SF of commercial assets under construction, plus 1500 residential units currently delivering at five major condo projects from the Midtown Bethesda to the Villages at Shirlington.  Although Mike says Kettler at any one time is juggling 25-30 projects in various phases of development (mixed use, condo, apartments, office, and planned community), and another 10-15 in the design pipeline, probably their most glamorous at the moment is Square 54 on the site of the old GW hospital.  Above, Mike shows us the $155M "Metropolitan at Foggy Bottom" that will house 333 luxury apartments designed by (as with the Boston Properties office buildings there and 84k SF of jointly developed retail) Pelli Clarke Pelli with local architect of record Hickok ColeAnd flash:  Looks like they're signing a 60-year ground lease with GW in just a couple weeks and hoping to get shovels in the ground Q2.        


In Pentagon East, their Metropolitan Park project (8 phases and 3,200 units over 10-12 years) is located between the Costco and the Crystal City warehouse district.  It includes the huge Gramercy apartment house designed by world renowned Robert A.M. Stern, who's also done the master plan that Arlington County has already approved.  Two Met Park is under construction and Three Met Park is in design and starts construction in two years.


As for Reston Town Center, Kettler's about to break ground on Block 16 (the last residential portion), 341 apartment units and 19k retail also designed by Stern.  Overall, Kettler manages 10,000 units in 40 mainly owned-properties all over the region, with 170 employees in corporate and 250 in property management.  They're getting into third party residential management as well.  Kettler, founded in 1977 by Bob Kettler (a son of one of the Kettler Brothers of the eponymous firm) was formerly known as KSI and rebranded a couple years ago, specializing in high-rise, transit oriented, multi-family developments.  Speaking of developments, Mike just got back from Atlantis in the Bahamas with his wife and kids (11 and 8), and Asheel's still celebrating his newlywed status after being recently married in his bride's hometown of LA.


This one looks like more of a twisted croissant than a donut, but Asheel also showed us the land for their Harbor Station project in Prince William County, north of Quantico.  The 2000 acres with three miles of waterfront is approved for 4,000 residential units, 280 hotel rooms, a town center including 200k SF of retail, a 480 slip marina, and up to 2M SF of secured office.  They've already invested $170M in land acquisition and infrastructure and plan to start building in Q4.  Most important for our readers, no doubt, is that they are already finishing up a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.  First things first.

Fraser Forbes
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