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December 3, 2007


Sponsor Update:  Been noticing all the construction activity at 1225 Connecticut Ave., the old Ernst & Young building? Brookfield Properties is doing a complete renovation, expanding floors to make it 220k SF of office and a real trophy when it delivers in Oct ‘08.

Saturday night we got a sneak peak at the soon-to-debut 250K SF Newseum:  the 21st annual awards dinner of So Others Might Eat, supporting DC’s poor and homeless.  The gala marked the first official dinner there, featuring Wolfgang Puck fare, reflecting the fact his new restaurant, The Source, is downstairs.  As with any gathering involving food (and, for the record, good causes), we saw a bunch of real estate friends.

Former LA Times editor-in-chief (and Newseum trustee) Shelby Coffey and Newseum CEO Charles Overby flank SOME’s Humanitarian Award winner, Jack Griffin of the former Mulligan & Griffin Associates (bought by Boston Properties in the late 90s.)  Jack’s retired but busy golfing, biking, and mountain hiking –the Inca Trail and Swiss Alps are his favorite treks.

The Builders' Ball

The Clark Construction Crew:  bottom row, Shea De Lutis-Smith, Matt Smith, Natalie Mehlbalm, Dave Mehlbalm, Tina Calhoun; top row, John Barotti, Beth Barotti, James Patterson, Alice Patterson, Bill Calhoun.  Talk about togetherness:  Both Shea and Matt (just back from Paris in time to see TV football games of alma maters Virginia and Florida) and Natalie and Dave (taking a brief respite from fun with their 18-month old daughter) are “Clark Couples,” ie, they all work there.  What people won’t do to get the carpool lane.     

SOME Corporate Board Chair Shaun Sheehan of the Tribune Company, Transwestern’s Pete Larson, and Meany Oliver’s Martin Griffin.  We love bumping into Pete because he always delivers the Hollywood scoop. This time he told us his son-in-law, Alex Nesic, will appear in ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money.

This is Randy Bapst, founder of US General Contracting, one of our new sponsors, sitting at the BLT bar last week.  He has quite a fascinating background.  He co-founded mortgage distributor Equity Plus in 1997, grew it to $100 million a year in fee income, 500 employees, and operations in 40 states, and sold in 2002.  He travelled with his family, then deciding he wanted to get back in the game, looked around for a growth industry and picked interior construction.  He hired some top talent and is already doing work for Archstone Smith, Cassidy & Pinkard, and the City of Alexandria, with very ambitious growth plans.  And evidently he already knows to hang at BLT.

This and the next two pics are from a couple weeks back at the chic Economic Club of Washington, where we went to hear KKR founder Henry Kravis tell how great private equity firms are (surprise, surprise).  Celebrities filled the crowd :  Washington Real Estate Investment Trust Chairman Ed Cronin, Beers & Cutler co-founder John Cutler, and Cardinal Bank president Kevin Reynolds.  Cardinal just opened its 9th “school bank” at Potomac elementary school in Sterling; Kevin had 24 relatives at home for Thanksgiving—his wife worked the stove and he did “beverages and cleanup.”

At last, clear visual proof of our suspicion.  Were these guys separated at birth?  No, they are obviously still joined together.  Gerry Sigal and Earl Segal (one of them obviously spells his name wrong) were also at the Economic Club.  Thank goodness they wear different colored ties so we can tell them apart. 

At a nearby table, CB’s Ernie Jarvis, left, told Microsoft government affairs director Marland Buckner he’d like some Xbox's for the office.  Marland said he couldn’t do that.  Ernie said, “Okay, how about some other tech stuff?”  Marland said, “Okay, but you know we don’t do hardware, just software.”  Ernie smiled.

At a NOMA quarterly BID meeting at 131 M St. a few days ago:  JBG’s Bob Elliot, XM Radio’s Chance Patterson, GSA’s Tony Reed, Tishman’s Jim Evans, Stephen A. Goldberg’s Joe Doran, J Street/Randall Hagner’s Bruce Baschuk, and Wilkes Company’s Sandy Wilkes.  BID prez Liz Price gave updates on progress of their clean campaign, then they viewed the soon-to-be released redesign of the BID website which launches today.

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