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February 11, 2009  
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Bisnow Valentine party! Friday Feb. 13, from 5 to 9 PM at Lotus Lounge, 1420 K St. Half-priced drinks and free sushi buffet. Only $10, but you must register in advance.


Glad to see that House-Senate negotiators agreed on a stimulus package this afternoon. The market drop yesterday had inspired us to beg resident expert Steve Fuller for any good real estate news.


Steve (here with Tompkins VP Jim Tolbert) assures us the market response yesterday was a "knee-jerk" reaction, and will rebound around President's Day when Obama signs legislation. He believes commercial projects in the area will thereupon become somewhat easier to finance. However, a safer prediction for Steve is that maintenance on his sailboat is almost finished, and he'll be back on the water by June.

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We don't usually think much about who cleans buildings, but recently we've been blown away to learn about the size and scope of Bethesda-based Red Coats (whom we're proud to call a new sponsor). Guess how many SF they clean in this region? 80 million! Fortunately they have 4,300 employees to do it. We stopped by their offices this morning to talk with EVP Mack Wells, right, here with biz dev VP Ralph Blasey.


Mack's in-laws, Bill and Barbara Peel, started Red Coats in 1960 and their first client was Peoples drugstore. Here's the whole Red Coat management team: Erick Ireland, Norm Soles, Mack, Ralph, Bob Butorac and Scott Kydd. Mack says they service 25% of the largest LEED properties in the DC area, including EPA HQ in Crystal City. Mack is not only smiling because of the camera: his daughter Page is getting married in May.


Everyone's been talking about how President Obama likes to get out to eat and may invigorate the restaurant scene. But so far, the only place he's taken dinner has been at Equinox, on Jan 15. Equinox has been one of our favorite restaurants since it opened 10 years ago, and we noticed yesterday in the dining room CBS's Bob Schieffer, US Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, and former SEC chairman Harvey Pitt. But how'd they snare the First Diner? Turns out, the Obamas pretty much just walked in. Co-owner Ellen Gray, above, was at a Beauvoir parent meeting around 730 PM when she got a call that Secret Service were descending; husband/chef Todd was leaving Sheila Johnson's home in Middleburg, where he'd been cooking. Initial information was that Michelle was coming, and pretty soon she walked in with her mom and friends.


40 minutes later the President joined them. But the whole party of 13 then stayed two-and-a-half hours dining on oysters and sirloin from nearby Warrenton (Equinox specializes in fresh "farm-to-the-table" supplies) and some chocolaty desserts—after all, they were celebrating Michelle's 45th birthday. Above, the special wine room they ate in, yesterday being used by staff after lunch. You, too, can reserve it!


We didn't get Obama like Ellen did, but, quick, those of you over 50: who's this signing our wall yesterday? Of course, it's 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern. Now 86 and dividing his time between St. Augustine, Fla., and Sioux Falls, SD, George is in town a couple days promoting his new book on Abraham Lincoln. Although when he battled Richard Nixon 37 years ago he was the most popular person on American campuses and adored by Obama-like crowds, we think he said visiting us was just as thrilling as being President would have been, though we might have misheard that. 

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