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February 25, 2008

Sponsor Update:  Our friends at Transwestern just did a 10-year, 168k SF lease at Randolph Square in Arlington for the US Patent and Trademark Office. The 208k SF, 9-story building is a JV of Monument Realty and Transwestern Investment Co.  Congrats!

They'd prefer to say "George Washington slept here," but since the building was put up in the 1970s, they can't, so we're offering the headline above as another possible marketing motto (see third picture below for proof). Okay, we know we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. Fortunately, there's a lot more to brag on Old Town's swanky new Hotel Monaco, holding its grand opening next month. ING has a big reputation here for developing office buildings, but its belief in value-add is bringing it into hotel plays. It bought what was a Holiday Inn on King Street for $70 million in December '05, lavished $30 million on renovating its 241 rooms over the last 16 months, allied it with Kimpton Hotels, and hopes the Monaco will soon earn four stars as one of NoVa's finest.

General Manager Nick Gregory showed us around Friday. With the help of Gensler design and Forrester Construction, they tuck pointed the brick, put in all new exterior windows, and gutted all rooms to get rid of popcorn ceilings, reconfigure bathrooms, and change every surface and furnishing, adding touches like fabrics that show old Washington maps. They created 5,000 SF of new meeting space and already have 60 weddings reserved.


ING's Michelle Melvern shows us a former meeting room they converted to a duplex-level suite.  San Fran-based Kimpton now has 10 hotels here (more rooms here than anywhere else in the country). Yes, they have a Monaco and Palomar in both DC and Virginia; they are Kimpton's top sub-brands. Last June, ING also bought the 45-room and suite Morrison House (on Conde Nast's Gold List) and also made it a Kimpton; as with the Monaco, Kimpton owns 10%.


Our camera caught ING Clarion's main man DeLuca working hard.


Can you tell which one is the "before" Holiday Inn shot and the "after" Hotel Monaco?



Transwestern's Caulley Deringer and wife Alex with Rappaport's Henry Fonvielle and wife Lee last weekend at Wintergreen. 30 couples and their kids rocked to oldies after a day of skiing. Henry and Perseus' Paul Dougherty are co-chairing the Children's National Medical Center black-tie ball April 5 at the National Building Museum to support that great institution that specializes in heart surgery on newborns and won't turn any child away for lack of coverage. Kool and the Gang & KC and the Sunshine Band perform.  It's a real estate heavy gathering; also serving as fundraisers are Phillips Realty Capital's Danny Schiff, SJG Properties' Ashley Gerstenfeld Wiltshire, KLNB's Cary Judd, WRIT's Tom Regnell, Kodiak Properties' Scott Spector, developer Jim Abdo, and yes, Marc DeLuca.  More Info. 


You wouldn't know these are real estate types, they line up in such organized fashion. It's the 12th Annual Grubb & Ellis Real Estate Conference in Park City, posing after a State of the Capital Market breakout session. (We assume indoors.)  Top row:  New Boston Fund's John Thompson, MGP Real Estate's Andy Eshelman, Potomac Investment's Mike Gewirz, Opus' Scott Brody, Potomac's Steve Gewirz, Capital Automotive Real Estate's John Weaver, G&E's Brian MacDonald and Eric Berkman.    Bottom row:  Liberty Property's Mike Jones, Opus' Steve Cohen, G&E's Steve Gichner, Carr's Scott Nudelman, Concordia's Paul Norman, Lionstone's Jarrett Minton, and Frank S. Philips' Dan Schiff.

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