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December 11, 2008

Big shoutout to Chris Sowick, SVP at Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers, who was installed last night as 2009 President of the Greater Washington Commercial Association of REALTORS®.  (The Crystal City restaurant where this took place was appropriately named: Ruth’s Chris.) Great organization, great leader. Congrats!


We’ve been on the scene in the Big Apple covering the 7,000-attendee strong International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual national conference at the Sheraton and Hilton for the past few days for our New York edition, but we thought we’d stop by some DC’ers booths as well to find out what’s new in the retail world.


Okay, before we go parochial with our Washingtonians, first an overview. JLL Retail CEO Greg Maloney (right, with investor Greg Greenfield) tells us the event confirms that retailers are taking a wait-and-see approach until they see sales figures around mid-January. There’s a lot of equity built up in the market, and they’re just waiting for lenders to become active again. Despite this, he says his firm is busier than ever, thanks to an increase in receivership activity.


Potbelly Sandwich Works’ Aaron Bennett, StreetSense’s Rich Amsellem and Cushman’s Dave Dochter (second from right) join Rappaport’s John Hayden, Melissa Webb, Pat O’Meara and Bill Dickinson. Dave is busy marketing 10k SF of prime restaurant space at View 14 (U Street) and 60k SF of retail space at DC USA (Columbia Heights), and just signed a deal with BlackFinn Group (owner of Buckhead Saloon, Strike City and Whisky River) for a concept at 3175 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington. Bill recently signed Little Buddha, a Vegas-based restaurant, to space at 455 Mass.


Peterson’s Corren Short, Andrew Kabat, Paul Weinschenk and Tom Maskey (with a mystery dealmaker, second to right) take a Big Apple break from their Virginia Gateway and National Harbor projects. The latter has been a hotbed of retail activity; new tenants include Stonewall Kitchen, Olympic News, Swarovski, Bobby McKey’s and Godiva, with Mayorga Coffee Roasters and Aromi d’Italia soon following.


KLNB Retail’s Mayela Lopez and Lindsey McGaw, manning the firm’s booth. The event was particularly monumental for Lindsey—it was her first ICSC conference, and she finally reached her goal of getting her photo in Bisnow. (Yeah!) They report that business is moving, albeit slower, with more success in urban centers like Arlington and D.C.


Williams Jackson Ewing’s Michael Smith shows us the specs for the Hines/Archstone CityCenterDC development downtown, which should break ground soon. Quick project recap: 400k SF of retail; 1M SF of office; 675 residential units; and a 400-room hotel on 10 acre site, scheduled for 2011 completion. In addition to handling part of CityCenterDC’s retail leasing, Michael’s also working on his Masters in real estate at Johns Hopkins.


Guillermo Lopez, Michial Alston and Simon Sykes of Baltimore-based Development Design Group show off a model of their newest concept, Extreme City. They tell us that it will include extreme green features, extreme sporting facilities, extreme clinics and an extreme hotel with a scalable façade (the word “extreme” came up at least 10 times during our conversation, in case you were wondering). This model shows a yet-disclosed location in the United Arab Emirates, but the team hopes to expand the brand into the U.S. and Asia, among other places.

Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers
Patriot Contracting
Total Engineering
Reznick Group
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