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September 23, 2008

Big shout-out to great sponsor ONCORE Construction. CEO Bob MacDaniels tells us ONCORE was recently awarded the concrete building frames for the Yale Laundry apartments with Donohoe Construction and the Alexan at South Glebe with Trammell Crow Residential. Congratulations!


We sort of know in the back of our mind that lawyers are always on duty behind the scenes, keeping the commercial real estate world in business through boom and bust. But too often they go unheralded, so we thought today we'd herald them (is that a verb?). The 100-lawyer Arent Fox real estate practice, a pillar on the real estate scene as long as many of us have been alive, is announcing another coup today: the addition of four industry vets with big name clients like Forest City, Abdo, and Patriot Equities. 


This summer, the team of Ed Rogers, Ellen McCarthy, Debra Yogodzinski, and ElChino Martin hashed out the details of the move (over margaritas at Oyamel) from their previous firm Nixon Peabody. The foursome has also represented the recent joint venture of William C. Smith, Jair Lynch Companies, Banneker Ventures, and Community Preservation Development Corp. on the Northwest One multi-use project by Gonzaga High School in NoMa; and the jv of Forest City, Vornado, and Bresler & Reiner in the closing of construction financing for Waterfront Station. (Yes, a deal that was actually done last week.) Ed has represented the Newseum in its development on Pennsylvania Avenue, Ellen was Director of the DC's Office on Planning and Development, ElChino worked with AF's Richard Newman on the Shakespeare Theatre, and Debra started her practice at old specialty firm Lane & Edson.



We remember Greg Meyer  when he used to be local head of Equity Office until it sold to Blackstone in April '07 and he moved to private equity investor/developer Penzance as COO.  He says he keeps a bottle of Blackstone-labeled wine on his shelf to remind him that "life is changing." But despite the financial winds buffeting other developers, Penzance feels relieved it's insulated itself through a diverse set of partners with good credit institutions and has little financing exposure for at least a couple years. In DC, for example, it owns 1101 Connecticut and 1130 Connecticut with JV partners O'Connor and Greenstreet respectively, both out of NYC; 3865 Wilson in Ballston with American Realty Advisers out of California; and a six building portfolio in Reston it purchased from local developer Chris Walker.


Not a coffee-drinker, Greg prefers a fine cup of tea from Harney & Sons of Salisbury, Conn. Each year, he makes a family trip (three kids 9, 12, and 14) to the Berkshire foothills where they stock up on the tea and smell the vanilla. Speaking of liquidity, Penzance owns outright 200 North 14th in Courthouse and 1500 Wilson (100% leased to the Air Force, which can be redeveloped from 250k to 600k feet right where Wilson and Clarendon come together).


Use your imagination and pretend this is not a cell phone picture (we were desperate to illustrate our story line). Last week at Reston Corner I (Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive), Greg hosted 160 brokers to show off the newly renovated 100k SF that Northrop moved out of; Penzance put in all new systems, elevators, and lobby, and is even buying bikes for tenants. Oh, and for the brokers it raffled off a Vespa.

Hospital Building 101

Yesterday, we checked out Turner Construction's symposium on building "Today's Hospital" at, where else, the National Building Museum. Turner invited 100 of its closest healthcare friends for an update on trends in healthcare development. The buzzword was BIM (Building Information Modeling), which uses 3-D, 4-D, and 5-D images to let you to see an entire project before construction begins. (Raise your hand if you thought 5-D was only possible if you stared cross-eyed at that crazy pixilated art in mall kiosks.) Turner's Steve Johnson, right, and Gilbane's Mike Delaney explained many hospital-related BIM benefits. For example, you'll always have those 3-D schematics fully loaded with in-place physical information. Therefore, when it's time for the inevitable equipment reshuffling or routine maintenance, patient care won't be interrupted to determine what lurks behind that ceiling tile.


We cheated and met with Turner Healthcare Manager Joe Kranz a few days ago in Arlington for a 1-on-1 lesson. He told us another concept de jour is Lean production, a waste-cutting method with origins in Toyota plants. In construction, it saves costs; in healthcare, it saves lives by maximizing caregivers' time. One example of success: Park Nicolett Hospital in Minnesota trimmed so much patient wait time, they now have 80k square feet of excess waiting room. Turner's other healthcare projects include: the 8-story replacement for Washington Adventist Hospital, due in August 2012; The Inova Alexandria expansion, including space for a 24-bed Telemetry Nursing unit, due in August 2010; and Inova Fairfax's hybrid CathLab/OR.


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