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October 23, 2007



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Evidently real estate people have to eat just like mortals; you’re always telling us you love our restaurant news.  So here’s something that intersects real estate:  Washington celebrity chef Jose Andres is poised to be the next Julia Child—introducing Spanish cuisine to America the way Julia imported French in the 60s—and wants to make East End his epicenter.  He told us last night of his plan (a year away) to convert the 8th Street building where Café Atlantico resides and make the whole thing his famed “minibar.”

We took this photo last night at Zaytinya’s fifth anniversary party:  Jose with 6-year old daughter Ines and business partner Rob Wilder.  Rob started Jaleo, Café Atlantico, Zaytinya, Oyamel (after founding Austin Grill, which he sold last year) and brought Jose into the partnership.  Now the “Think Food Group” is boldly expanding beyond restaurants:  Jose just finished filming 26 half-hour shows for PBS that will start airing once a week in February, and has produced a “Made in Spain” book to accompany it.  (Julia Child’s PBS series ran 24 years.)  As for “minibar,” it would become 36 seats instead of the current 6, and would get a new name:  Jose is even open to talking with a suitable company about naming rights (think Google, not Tostidos).

Also yesterday, we were on the scene in Southeast:  This is not a giant lottery winnings check, but Adrian Fenty’s official declaration creating a Capital Riverfront BID—DC’s eighth.  (Boundaries:  395 to the north, Anacostia River to the south, 15th St SE to the east, and South Capitol to the west except for a jog to take in Buzzards Point.)   With Fenty, Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, William C. Smith’s Chris Smith, Mayor Adrian Fenty, and BID director Michael Stevens.  From the top floor of the 20 M St. where the ceremony was held with 125 guests, we looked out and counted 13 cranes in the neighborhood. 

We bumped into Opus East’s Steve Cohen at the BID debut, walked with him a few blocks east, donned a hard hat, and got a sneak preview of WDG-designed 100 M St.   Above, Steve and  colleague Tom Gabler show us the building’s HVAC about to be installed.  Even though the 240k SF office building won’t deliver until November ’08, engineering firm Parsons has pre-leased several floors.

Thursday night 700 guests packed three floors on 31st Street at Hickok Cole Architects for their 9th annual Art Night.  Above, Michael Hickok and Yolanda Cole celebrating 50 local artists to benefit the Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran.

Rehearsing for a Heineken ad before our camera, Grubb & Ellis’ Aaron Pomerantz, Hickok’s Gavin Daniels, and Douglas Development’s Norman Jemal give us their best tough guy looks.  Among Aaron’s amazing recent accomplishment:  Hosting his non-English speaking Russian in-laws for the last 12 weeks.  

Also last Thursday, we were on hand as DC planning director Neil Albert spoke to the African-American Real Estate Professionals group, at Pillsbury Winthrop in DC.  AAREP President Caryn Bailey looks on from the table. The room was packed.


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