MAGIC JOHNSON AND
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Magic Johnson buying the Washington Hilton for $290 million? Well, technically it’s a joint venture of Canyon Johnson Urban Fund and Lowe Enterprises announced last Thursday. And the Fund in turn is a joint venture of the $14 billion Canyon Capital Partners hedge fund and Johnson Development, focusing on urban work. Johnson’s Beverly Hills- based acquisition head Quincy Allen tells Bisnow they hope to be announcing other DC projects in the next six months for a billion dollar total in pipeline—and that they’re open to buying another hotel.
Joining Quincy as a lead negotiator has been Harmar Thompson, who heads new business for Lowe on the east coast and tells us they weren’t looking for a hotel, just good buys, when a package on the property showed up on his desk in October from Eastdil’s Miles Spencer. By December they’d put down a refundable million dollar deposit, and were going back and forth on details over sushi at Perry’s on Columbia Road, and occasionally a foray to Café Milano or il Mulino. Lowe in the past owned the Monarch and Embassy Suites (when it had Chevy Chase Pavilion before selling to ING) but was put through stringent diligence by Hilton, which required a long-term agreement to continue managing it.
Wouldn’t you know, Harmar (above) is another of our ubiquitous lacrosse stars in real estate, on the UVA team from ‘90 to ’94, although friends know him now as a major fisherman. Renovation will start immediately on elevators and ultimately $110 mm will be spent to upgrade the property by the end of ’09, probably by Whiting Turner. Even though the three key players are LA-based firms—Lowe, Hilton, and Johnson—next week’s closing dinner will be here.
Toni Aluisi, above right, has worked in PR for Bovis and Sigal, and is an active DCBIA member. But her resume now also includes spending a day as an extra on a Queens soundstage for HBO’s Sopranos. Her job: pretending to eat a salad at the table adjoining Tony and Carmella—for five straight hours as they shot and re-shot the scene. Her fellow extras for the scene included NY Jets head coach Eric Mangini and star James Gandolfini’s two sisters, plus she hung at lunch with star Steve Van Zandt. Thanks to her sister for buying the deal for charity. Bravo: Last night, she actually did appear for a split second when the episode aired!
BLT Steak Scene. Do these people never sleep? Friday night the real estate and sports crowds merged: from left, Tishman Speyer's Anthony Balestrieri, Marcus & Millichap's Ari Firoozabadi, Fox sports anchor Dave Feldman, BLT GM Adam Williamowsky, our own Elliott Bisnow, and Adam's fiancée Jackie Ochos (an attorney at Leibner & Potkin doing a lot of local real estate deals). Front row: Anthony's friend Meredith Liberty and Dave's friend Katina Vassos.
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