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January 28, 2008
 
       
 
LandAm
 
THE BIGGEST DEVELOPER
YOU'VE
NEVER HEARD OF!


Sponsor Update: Brookfield Properties' Two Reston Crescent delivers 185k SF this quarter and features some sweet amenities like this tenants-only shuttle bus.

 

We had lunch last week with David Orr at that great 2941 restaurant in Fairview Park, and he seemed to know everyone who passed.  Maybe that's because he built the building five years ago and even negotiated General Dynamics' 15-year lease for half the 390k SF space. In fact, Dave seems to be the region's go-to owner's rep whom non-developers call on to develop large properties.  He orchestrates contractors and legal teams and, presto, gets buildings built. He's even done five projects for over $100M each.   

 

For those of you wondering what's become of 2941 now that founding chef Jonathan Krinn has left (to start a new place in the old Colvin Run space at Fairfax Square), we can report the food was fantastic, thanks to a two-week old executive chef, Bertrand Chemel, above. Turns out (naturally) Dave crossed paths with him 8 years ago when Bertrand was at Cello in NYC under Laurent Tourondel (who founded BLT-that's what the LT stands for); Dave built Cello. More recently, Bertrand guided two other famed NY restaurants as Chef de Cuisine of Café Boulud, and before that sous chef at Daniel.  Another of Dave's NY claims to fame:  He built Leona Helmsley's apartment atop the Park Lane Hotel.

USGC

 

It's a wonder Dave has time to eat.  Here he is greeting CBRE's Tom McHugh who talk to each other about their lacrosse-playing sons:  both are midfielders, Tom's son a junior at Gonzaga and Dave's a senior at Georgetown Prep.  Don't the parents know they're not supposed to fraternize with arch-rivals?  A Montclair, NJ, native, Dave came to DC in the late 70s to work for the Marriott construction division and build the company's Bethesda campus.  Following joint ventures with David Evans, Til Hazel and Centennial, he went out on his own in the early 90s and has done such marquis projects as the AOL campus at Dulles, the SAIC and Booz Allen buildings in Tysons, Boeing eastern US headquarters in Rosslyn, the 500k FDIC in Arlington, and recently US Pharmacopia' 200k SF near Twinbrook Metro in Rockville; he's now working on the National Children's Museum at National Harbor.

 

Dave built the 2941 building for UUNet founder Rick Adams in 2001:  a $36M building on spec, part of 1.5M buildable SF Adams bought in Fairview Park. Here he finds Fairfax County supervisor Linda Smyth (with husband Nigel), who helped him transfer some density rights from a nearby parcel.

 

Okay, here's a picture at last that's not a side view.  Dave has taught on the side at ULI and is fond of asking classes, "What is utterly unique about development?"  No, not risk, not leverage, not lots of money.  His answer:  "Everything is negotiable."  He says that's why you'll find the best developers are the best negotiators.  Dave's a pretty good negotiator himself:  He got Bertrand to take some time out to chit chat in the middle of lunch.

 
 
 
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