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April 23, 2008
The Bisnow

The most influential people
in Washington commercial real estate

One of real estate's most colorful characters, Anthony Lanier will be our guest at the next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze, May 13, BLT Steak. He's changing the face of Georgetown and West End. Special thanks to great sponsor ArchstoneSign up here.


11.  Jeff Neal & Michael Darby, Monument Realty.  Using Lehman and MacFarlane money, these guys are positioning themselves as the Abe Pollin of the stadium area: At 1.3M SF (even without the disputed WMATA parking garage—litigation pending), by far the largest owner there, with 9-story 55 M St. topped out and poised to offer 275k SF of office by next season, and a hotel and two residential sites under excavation. They made a fortune selling Columbia Center to UBS, ditched the condo conversion at the Watergate for a higher hotel upgrade (currently waiting out a soft market), picked up fee developer URA, and are about to swap their Twin Bridges Marriott site for 5 valuable acres in Crystal City. And every day we hear rumors of new deals: brokerage, anyone? Never seems to rain on these guys, does it?


12.  Jeff Sussman, Bob Braunohler, Louis Dreyfus Property Group. Once they were best known for building the Four Seasons (then selling it at a record price), but now they're on an office building roll:  2001 K built back in '01; then (with the help of Kevin Roche) trophies Station Place I, II, and now III; 1101 New York Avenue; and 801 17th, which they hope to break the $100/SF rent barrier. They just bought Cassidy's old building at 2001 Penn from Pru; most dramatically, rumors swirl they're about to buy 6 acres of air rights for a mammoth new landmark over 395 downtown.



13.  Shalom Baranes, Shalom Baranes Associates. There are several amazing architects in town and we hesitate to include any on this list because it is so difficult to choose the best among them. But even most of his peers would agree Shalom has become unique: embodying the world-class vision, passion, and reputation Washington used to think it could only import. No matter that more New York and European carpetbaggers than ever are coming in to show their stuff, it's still this homegrown master who most sets the tone and direction of our physical cityscape, with grace and style.


14.  Douglas Jemal, Douglas Development.  Comeback player of the year, from Woodies to Uline to 12th and F, the man's back in action, though perhaps cultivating less visibility. But even in quiet mode, he's a larger than life figure whose fearless willingness to develop where others won't has earned him respect and gratitude; he can't help it if his natural embrace is a great big bear hug. It's refreshing in an era of Blackstones to know there's still room for such local color. Have a Ketel One on us.


15.  Debra Lehman-Smith, Lehman Smith McLeish.  The Greta Garbo of the Washington real estate scene, her rare appearances have only added to her mystique as the best interior designer around, non-pareil on spaces from DLA and WilmerHale to USA Today and General Dynamics, and increasing international engagements like Samsung in Korea and a convention center in the Mideast. To preserve the mystery, we're not even going to show you her picture.


16.  Tom Fulcher, Julie Rayfield, David Lipson, Studley.  And we would bold more names from their deep bench of talent (Art Greenberg, Vernon Knarr, Lois Zambo, Rick Rome, and others) but for space limitations; thank goodness for tenants needing space no matter what the economy. Tom and Rick keep the law firm bacon coming; Julie hit consecutive homers last month for NPR and DoJ in NoMa; and for those who think Lois is resting on her Newseum laurels, they should see the Gannett land she sold to MRP and the worldwide assignments she's been winning for Choice Hotels and Associated Press.


17.  Bob Pinkard, Joe Stettinius, Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers.  With investment sales slowing, the Collins Brothers won't be as big, but they're still selling, and Cassidy's still growing. It got big new investment last year plus the Colliers moniker; the nod from Beacon to manage EOP; and impressive Trammell laterals, notably Bob's hand-picked successor. Watch for the Stettinius era to make more top hires, hone the firm as a one-stop shop, place it more into the community, and teach the world to spell his last name. And for people to listen even more intently to Bob now that he's a senior statesman.   


18.  Greg O'Brien, Robb Johnson, Rob Copito, Staubach.  Imagine, a Washington quarterback taking the leadership role of a Dallas team, as Greg did last summer. The MBA CEO (who passed the local reins to Robb) is consolidating the stock plans—maybe, as he says, so they can compete better against the CBs of the world, or maybe (as others speculate) to attract acquirors. Whatever, they're marching down the field, owning Northern Virginia, and nurturing superstars not just like David Houck, Greg Lubar, and Elizabeth Cooper, but many younger ones-in-waiting.


19.  Chip Akridge, Matt Klein, Akridge.  Playing it safe as a straightforward builder of quality downtown office buildings may have seemed unglamorous in recent years, but now seems sheer brilliance. Yet just when you'd pegged Chip as staid and figured he might be thinking about retiring after his 30 years, they build a big one on 6th Street, launch a visionary billion dollar Burnham Place—and Chip runs another marathon and takes on revitalizing the National Mall. The boy wonder is still a wonder and hometown hero.


20.  John Germano, Rob Faktorow and CB Richard Ellis.  The power of the platform—that's their motto, and it's more than rhetoric when you realize their reach meant closing 2000 transactions last year in this region, one an hour. John has managed their monster heft with finesse, keeping more Trammmelians in the boat than at most CB offices and racking up exclusive leasing assignments for such plums as The Yards, 801 17th, and Chevy Chase Center. Rob's jump started investment sales big, Cathy Delcoco's done her NoVa thing with the likes of AOL, Ernie Jarvis helped Radio One back to DC, Pat Marr swooped in on 1999K, Art Santry and Scott Frankel are everywhere, and Sally Wilson's turning them green. Bigger may not be better for everyone, but certainly seems to be for many.

Reznick Group
Kane Company
Miller & Long
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