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February 3, 2010  
 
 
RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL

Happy 20th Anniversary to our sponsor Rand Construction—it ain’t your grandfather’s Rand. See story below.


 

The Housing Opportunities Commission of MoCo, dedicated to providing affordable housing, backed out of its recent purchase of a luxury apartment complex in Gaithersburg. Some developers say the deal raised a red flag about the HOC’s right of first refusal.

 
ROSS Development & Investment President Scott Ross and VP of Acquisitions Sam DiFrank

We spoke yesterday with ROSS Development & Investment President Scott Ross and VP of Acquisitions Sam DiFrank, plus other developers who all strongly support the mission of the HOC. But at our recent MoCo Breakfast & Schmooze, its right of first refusal elicited red hot debate. The HOC has that right for any rental property over four units that’s up for sale. When the HOC exercised its right to acquire the new, luxury 204-unit Gables at Rothbury apartment complex in Gaithersburg for investment purposes rather than strictly affordable housing, some developers saw a potential conflict: taxpayer money used to compete against the private sector.

 
Rand (Question) - in-text
 
Gables at Rothbury

While the HOC recently backed out of the Gables at Rothbury sale, citing concerns discovered during a due diligence review, the deal opened the door for similar situations. (Little did we know those dark clouds would soon dump a few inches of fresh powder.) Two factors allow the HOC to buy properties at market price and operate them at reduced rents: financing through bonds guaranteed by MoCo at below market interest rates and relief from real estate taxes.

 
Crystal Couture (Six) - i
 

We snapped Rockville Town Square, developed by DANAC Company and ROSS, which has 15% affordable housing (more than the 12.5% mandate on all new market rate properties). In addition to the HOC’s mission of affordable housing, director of legislative and public affairs Tedi Osias says it also aims to develop mixed-income properties within its own portfolio of non-subsidized units. The HOC has the ability to issue bonds for HOC, non-profit, and private sector development, if the deals provide the requisite amount of affordable housing. In fact, Tedi says the HOC has financed private sector deals in the MoCo development community.

 
JLL (Changing) - in-text
 

MEET OUR SPONSOR: THE "NEW RAND"
 

No, this is not Lady Gaga’s studio. This is the lunchroom at Rand Construction in Alexandria, where employees have been known to rock out in the evening. Rand has long been known for law firm interiors, but now it does much more. It works with the DC government, like the 200k it just delivered for DDOE in NoMa, and with the Feds, like 360k SF it’s been awarded for USDA in SW. It does tech, like new SCIFs and data centers. And it builds out of town, like Walmarts in Waynesboro, Va., and Beaufort, Georgia; a Chipotle in Miami; and an Ernst & Young project in Richmond. And get a load of this: It’s even managing a phased $1 billion resort on 600 acres in St. Lucia: doing the hotel, Greg Norman golf course, condos, and marina. We believe we owe it to our readers to visit that site for an on-the-spot report.   

Everyone knows Chairman and CEO Linda Rabbitt, left. But since founding the company 20 years ago (happy anniversary!), Linda’s been building a full team to provide breadth and continuity. Here (evidently on “wear blue shirt” day) we snapped the firm’s top management. From left: Linda, Merrell Ashley, Dave Fletcher (standing), Jon Couch (leaning forward), Matt Merz, and Howard Chapman (up front). Not shown, the newly added and indefatigable Roberta Liss, who was probably out getting business. 


RITCHEY RISING
 
Clark Realty Capital, David Ritchey

With a last name like Ritchey, real estate is in your blood. After six years at Clark Realty Capital, David Ritchey (son of Boston Properties industry shaker Ray Ritchey) will join CBRE. The 10-year industry vet says he has serious motivation to hit the pavement and tackle the brokerage business: His three-year-old and nine-week-old at home. The MIT grad, who worked as a broker in San Fran before his time at Clark, will head up office leasing and tenant rep in NoVa along with a tech practice group focused on data center leasing.


LET'S SEE SIMON LEASE A BUILDING
 
Austin Paul on American Idol

Yes, yes, that was a certain publisher you know being carried around on his 22-year-old son Austin’s shoulders last night on American Idol. His son, he wants you to know, is the world’s nicest kid, but in trying to show some playfulness and fun came across to the judges as cocky. So he got the boot, but had great fun and a valuable lesson in humility. (Under NCAA rules, he couldn’t use his real last name.) Anyway, he’s a pop composer and you should all go to his website and listen to Beyond Those Lines, one of his father’s favorites. Oh, and sign him to a recording contract.


UPCOMING EVENTS
 

February 04 - NAIOP Northern Virginia - Annual Real Estate Market Forecast. Fairview Park Marriott. 11:30-1:30pm. Info

February 04 - DCBIA - Federal Campus Update. National Press Club. Info

February 11 - WIRRE - Monthly Program: "Business Alliances." Maggiano's Chevy Chase. 6-8pm. Info

February 17 - UMD - Book Signing and Lecture with R. Donahue Peebles. Architecture Auditorium, UMD-College Park. 6:15-8:00pm. RSVP tboggs@umd.edu

February 17 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze - The Future of the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. On location on Wilson Blvd. Info.

February 17 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze - for Associations and Non-Profits, "Driving Non-Dues Revenue." BLT. Info.

March 25 - GWCAR - 15th Annual Commercial Awards Dinner - Mayflower. Info

 
 
 
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