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May 30, 2008

Over a couple years we've reported on the great new luxury project being developed by our friend Marc Dubick at Lionsgate in the heart of Bethesda. We're delighted to help them announce to the world that the grand opening is this weekend! We believe it will truly become a well-known landmark around here of luxury and convenience. See their ad to the right, and tell 'em we sent you.


We wanted to check out Grubb & Ellis' new digs at 1825 Eye (all of one block from their previous home on 19th) and while there, stopped by to see our friend, famous industry vet Bruce McNair! 


Despite the economic downturn, Bruce and his seven-person tenant rep group (that we aficionados call the Morris McNair team, which he co-founded 20 years ago with colleague Bill Morris) is busy. Main focus: restructuring leases for clients, like ones they just did for ClearChannel (63K SF at 1801 Rockville Pike) and Alion Sciences (54k SF in Alexandria). Bruce says making changes before scheduled expiration can save clients beaucoup bucks by rolling back rents (in Alion's case almost $800K) and maybe also coax extras like cash allowances for space and building signage. Quid pro quo: You extend the lease.


Bruce and Bill flank tennis legend Bjorn Borg at one of their early corporate outings—judging from the attire, this could be one or two centuries ago. Says Bill, "You have to start a partnership based on some guiding principle. Like tennis!" (Bill is a renowned tennis nut.) Presumably he got some time on the court last month at the Ritz in Jamaica for Grubb & Ellis' National top 100 brokers awards. The 27-year-industry pro, who started at Grubb in '06, can often be found on Landon's campus in Bethesda watching one of his sons play for the varsity tennis team




No, this is not the new hotel, but the 12-year vacant ex-Nigerian Embassy Chancery site on which it will be built. Evidently not all activity at the intersection of 22nd and M Street can be claimed by Anthony Lanier. Across M Street from the Ritz, Perseus Realty will begin work this August to bring DC its first LEED rated hotel, the 1 Hotel Washington. We met Perseus EVP Woody Bolton here for a tour (helpful arrow provided above). Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital wanted to develop a new, luxurious yet eco-conscious hotel brand. Together with design architects Oppenheim Architecture + Design of Miami and architect of record Leo A. Daly, Perseus and Starwood conceived a 148-room, 9-story LEED Silver hotel that will include a "green lung," tea garden, spa and destination restaurant and lobby bar. Delivering: 3Q 2010.


Back in Perseus Penn Ave digs, Woody tells us the project's big challenge was persuading the State Department to persuade the Nigerian government to waive its sovereign immunity over the land. (Hey, but State should be good at persuasion!)  It succeeded, and earlier this month the DC Zoning Commission approved a PUD. The land is back on the tax rolls while an eyesore will make way to continue the jazzy new landscape at the west edge of downtown.




Eat your hearts out, old fogey men of real estate! We invited Bisnow friends and sponsors of the female persuasion to a great lunch the other day at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in Bethesda. From left: Chevy Chase Bank's Barbara Choose, Gilbert Randolph's Jeri Rhodes, GTM Architects' Lisa Wood, Reznick Group's Shelley McGonnigal, Gilbert Randolph's Ellen Katkin, Reston Limousine's Kristin Tanzi, Strelmark's Hilary Bruggen-Fordwich, LECG's Joanne Jordan, Xerox's Lauren Kingsmore, C.C. Bank's Jane Hannon, GTM Architects' Toni Ayres, EyeDesign's Maggie Parker, and C.C. Bank's Kenya Battles.




We also took some Bisnow friends and sponsors onto the field for a Nats game (well, technically we had to get off once they started official play, but seeing batting practice up close is pretty cool). From left, Kane Company's Jim Durfee, Jones Lang LaSalle's Troy Teeboom, and K3's Construction's Kathy McCormick discuss their personal picks for the starting lineup. No doubt the Nats won.


Bisnow Real Estate advisory board member Linda Rabbitt was honored this month at the Hope Awards Dinner hosted by Calvary Women's Services. Calvary provides housing and support services for homeless women in DC, and Linda (right, with CWS executive director Kris Thompson) was cited for starting and running the third largest woman-owned business in the region, Rand Construction.


Susan Sonley of Grubb & Ellis' Vienna office not only specializes in NoVa office leasing but also raising money. Last year marked her seventh year in a row as the #1 Fundraising Team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research. Since Susan started her team, Champions of the Cure, back in '99 on her fifth anniversary of being cancer free, she's raised $500,000 to fund screening, treatment, education and research programs.  Help Susan and her team make #1 again this year: Click here


FROM THE BISNOW VAULTS:  Despite rigorous and state-of-the-art systems (ie, setting our alarm extra early), we think one day a couple months ago we geared up the following picture and caption for publication but somehow dropped it during editing. Do us a favor, and just pretend it's mid-April:


Are those Medals of Honor around their necks, or just ID badges?  We'd guess the former, because this was the illustrious president's reception we dropped in on at last week's Society of Office and Industrial Realtors Convention at the Grand Hyatt. 700 top brokers from 44 chapters worldwide were in town, including three presidents in this photo: SIOR Prez Randall Walker, up from New Orleans, with wife Linda; and FIABCI World Prez Julian Josephs flanked by FIABCI US president Judy Shenefield and FIABCI Secretary General Susan Newman.  To answer your first question, FIABCI stands for International Real Estate Federation (the acronym is French, so everything's sort of reversed). To answer your second question, the world president of FIABCI is a UK citizen who lives in Washington DC, near GW's Mt. Vernon campus. (He rides the campus shuttle downtown when nobody's looking.)


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