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My Story: Jeffrey Abramson
July 29, 2013

My Story:
Jeffrey Abramson

Shelly's Back Room is one DC landmark where you can really blow smoke! Food, drink, cigars — and purified air for smokers and non-smokers alike. Check out this amazing local retreat here.

The name Abramson has been synonymous with DC real estate for three generations over 60 years. And today Tower Companies' Jeffrey Abramson oversees some of the area's biggest office and residential projects. But there's much more than real estate that keeps this man ticking.

We snapped Jeffrey last week at Tower Cos' 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd HQ in Rockville. Along with brothers Ronald and Gary, he helps manage one of DC's most sustainable portfolios: 90% of Tower's 4.5M SF footprint is LEED certified, and the Tower-built Blair Towns complex in Silver Spring has the nation's first LEED certified apartments. Inspired by his late father and Washington legend Albert "Sonny" Abramson, Jeffrey tells us the company's aim is to "contribute to the buildings that honor our Nation's Capital." But Jeffrey strives for balance between work and life, and that's why he's become a passionate advocate for transcendental meditation.
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In his younger days, Jeffrey was inspired to study the practice (TM, for those in the know) in part by the famed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Jeffrey and wife Rona have helped fund groundbreaking research on the use of TM, from helping veterans suffering from PTSD, to the field of education (including women's and girls' initiatives in Africa) as well as how TM can help reduce heart disease (it's the only meditation technique to reduce blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association). He's even helped spread the influence of TM into his own workplace, offering the technique to Tower employees as a health benefit and to increase job satisfaction and productivity.
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He's taken the same approach to his business, seeking to turn Tower's buildings (like 2000 Tower Oaks, above) into "models of economic and environmental health." A proud practitioner of the Vedic architecture style, which seeks to place buildings in harmony with nature, he's also introduced features like exchanging a property's air every 55 minutes, art-filled lobbies, and free yoga classes in the firm's top-of-the-line fitness centers. There are also electric car charging stations and real-time energy monitoring. (If the building does TM, we can guess its mantra: "I'm a talking building. I'm a talking building.")
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We snapped Jeffrey with nephews Brian Abramson and Eric Posner, Tower's "third generation." (Posing in height order is sustainable, as it makes a staircase for cool air to climb higher, rather than using AC.) What's ahead for the company? Revamps of two longtime family assets: White Flint Mall in Rockville (with the Lerners) and the aforementioned Blairs in Silver Spring.

Oh, and the city has taken notice of Tower's commitment to sustainability, too, as the firm was announced last Thursday as a winner of one of Mayor Gray's Sustainability Awards (the second time the company's won the prize).

Columbia Lands Intergalactic Nonprofit

Trumping any news about the new Star Wars movie that came out of Comic-Con, Cresa announced this morning that SVP Dan Shapiro, along with colleagues Rich Rhodes and Megan Hixon, just repped Universities Space Research Association in the nonprofit's purchase of a new HQ in Columbia. USRA purchased the 90k SF 7178 Columbia Gateway Dr from Greenfield Partners and it will officially occupy its new space in November (doubling its current space, also in Columbia); Cresa will also manage the redesign and construction of USRA's new digs.

The Ultimate: Washington Square

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The Ultimate Office Suites at Washington Square redefine turnkey build-outs for the modern flexible office. The four spec suites, from 3,700 SF to 7,300 SF, are located on the 10th floor of 1050 Connecticut Ave NW and feature high-end finishes, timeless style and multiple furniture options. Design features include wood and stone walls, decorative accent lighting, stone reception desks, state-of-the-art modular wall systems and full-height glass walls with every office. Washington Square is a landmark office tower with a prestigious history of high-quality tenants, and now it's appealing to smaller users who will equally enjoy the exceptional window line over 18th and L streets. The building was jointly developed by and is owned by Lerner Enterprises and The Tower Companies. For more info on our sponsor, Washington Square, click here. To see more of our sponsor, The Ultimate Office Suites, click here.

Scene at the Citi Open

Last night at the W hotel, we stopped by the Citi Open Players Party, where we snapped Brian Simmons with competitor and 2009 US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro. Check out today's The Scene Bisnow for more from the bash, as well as the weekend that was in DC. Or better yet, subscribe!

Mark's Mashup

The show was on the road last week in San Fran, and some of our usual hotels were much higher priced than normal due to those pesky tourists. So we explored the world of B&Bs and found a bunch near Union Square much more charming than where we might have stayed and about the half the price. (Even lower than Airbnb.) That's what we found here at the 50-room Cornell Hotel de France on Bush Street, started in 1976 by Claude Lambert from Paris, still running the place. Similar abodes up the street include the Golden Gate Hotel, the White Swan Inn (British-themed, where we also stayed), and its adjacent French-themed sister Petite Auberge.

Can't promise they always will be a cheaper alternative, since prices fluctuate, but who can complain about not having Frette linens or perfect bathroom tiles when it's $150 a night in one of America's most expensive cities, with free Wi-Fi and gourmet breakfast, served in this charming subterranean lair?

And lots more around town, like this other we tried and liked, Hotel Andrews on Post St. (We don't mind packing and unpacking a lot—of course we do it all for our readers!)

If you have cheap but charming B&B or hotel suggestions for SF, write us and we'll print some: editorial@bisnow.com.

What's the best happy hour spot in downtown DC? We want to hear from you. Email chris.baird@bisnow.com

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