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July 28, 2008

Announcing our Schmooze & Breakfast with top developers John Shooshan (Shooshan Companies), Bob Buchanan (Buchanan Partners), and Bruce Baschuk (J Street/Hagner/Woodmark). August 21, 7:15-9:00 AM, BLT Steak. Thanks to great sponsors Seyfarth Shaw and Dietze Construction. Early bird sign up!


We wouldn't have thought there's much left to do in that urban village known as Pentagon CityMetro in the 70s, the Mall in the 80s, Pentagon Row in the 90s. But Kettler, with equity partner ING, is leading a massive redevelopment of 16 acres of eyesore warehouses (between Pentagon City and Crystal Metro stops) into a collection of trophy apartments and retail. Together with adjacent office plans from Vornado and Kimco, the area known as Metropolitan Park is set for $3 billion in building over the next 10 or 15 years. The Pentagon itself, once known as the world's biggest office building, is practically becoming just a spec in the distance. 


Work started in 2005 as warehouse leases expired, and the one building done to date is the 670k SF, 399-unit Gramercy apartment house at the corner of 15th and South Fern Streets, designed by world famous Yale architecture dean Robert A.M. Stern with WDG. It delivered in September and is already 60% rented; lately, seven or eight new tenants sign up each week. It's got a movie viewing room, billiards, business center, and cyber caf? (Stern himself designed the computer kiosks), but being a nice day our hosts above, who no doubt wanted to rush back to their indoor desks, graciously agreed to demonstrate the beautiful roof terrace. Nope, these are not professional models, but Kettler's David Roberts, Jamie Gorski, Brian Nicholson, and Pam Tyrrell.


We took this picture from the Gramercy. Work is now proceeding on the next five phases in clockwise order, with the hole intended for the 300-unit HOK and DHPY-designed Millennium, which should be vertical by October with an '09 delivery. Phase III (where a Danker/DHL warehouse stands now) is currently going through zoning with a late '09 groundbreaking planned for its 411 apartments. In the end, Metropolitan Park should should have 3200 apartments. At the far end of the property, word is that Vornado is in preliminary talks with Arlington County to come up with a plan for the site which is expected to break ground in 3-5 years. 


Fortunately we took some extra pics of Bob Kettler, center, the other day when he was a panelist at our Tower Club event: Here he is with son Forest, right, who just graduated from BU and is working in the Kettler marketing department; and Chief Investment Officer Mike Blum. Bob says the demand for upscale apartments in this market is stronger than he's seen any time in the past. As future phases, he says they'll play it by ear whether to make the units condos or apartment. Mike says the financing of the project was the "most complicated" on which he's ever worked: "The sheer number of people and dollars involved was staggering." 


Off to another side from the Gramercy: the 16.8 acre Costco, Marshall's, and Best Buy site for which the Arlington Board approved a phased development plan just ast week. The first phase of Washington state-based Kimco Realty Corporation's development includes two office buildings of 450k SF and a seven-story parking structure. We understand they may be planning a trophy 20 story office building atop the Best Buy. 



Tim Leon, second from left, just opened RBS Citizens Bank's Mid-Atlantic office in Tysons Corner. Tim, who previously was head of Wachovia's real estate lending group, tells us since opening RBS Citizensbank's new office on May 1, he and his six-person team (Mike Reale, Ann Carey, Zach David, Corey Dendy, Doug Cochrane, and Marie Lantin who's vacationing in the Philippines) already have over $1B in the pipeline with significant deals underway. The group's covering VA, MD, and DC, with their primary focus on DC, and have expansion plans for Charlotte, Atlanta, and Florida. RBS is a $2.3 trillion global bank.

Reznick Group
Cardinal Bank
Jones Lang LaSalle
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