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April 22, 2008
The Bisnow

The most influential people
in Washington commercial real estate

You can't keep that Bruce Baschuk down! He told us last night he's merging Hagner's 150-strong commercial team with Woodmark's 85 to form a new Woodmark Commercial division. See more below.


21.  Frank Saul II and III, Chevy Chase Bank, BF Saul REIT, and Saul Centers. The longer people have been around, the more reverentially they talk about the elder Saul, who has been financing development here for decades from the days of other legends like Morris Cafritz. He and his son still have an astonishing range of interests from owning tons of neighborhood shopping malls and even the Hay Adams, to developing office and retail in Clarendon and the Park Place II trophy in Tysons. Not to mention a bank with a clean balance sheet that continues to do critical lending. Although very private, everyone knows they're there and appreciates the fact they keep the money circulating. 



22.  Jim Davis, Davis Construction. From Constitution Center to CityVista to Waterview, and countless other base buildings and buildouts in between, the blue Davis arrow is as ubiquitous as the corner stop sign. It's getting to be a much closer race for top banana in the region's construction biz, and the fact that Jim is among the most beloved players around—let's call him the "Shalom Ritchey" of contractors—has won him friends and market share. Increasingly, like Linda Rabbitt (see below), he's transcended construction and become a sought out wise man of local business and civic affairs.


23.  Anthony Westreich, Monday Properties. Yes, familiar last name—that was his dad who created much of Rosslyn. We can barely follow how some of it was sold to Blackstone, then to Beacon, then back to Anthony, but the upshot is his newly named Monday owns a lot of Rosslyn again, and billions in NYC assets. Although attention has focused on JBG in the resurgence around Waterview, Anthony's building, too, and with local head Tim Helmig is determined to lure a law firm across the river—which would make a planned 30-story trophy as monumental as anything in DC. 


24.   Joe Bonner, Prudential Real Estate. Brokers know the key institutional purchasers who sustain the market, like Jeff Brown from Beacon, John Lamb from Blackrock, and Mark Portner from Shorenstein. But Joe, based in New Jersey, is the best known. Prudential not only bought a billion bucks worth for its own account last year, like BP's Democracy Center and Loudoun county portfolio, but partners more than most and probably leveraged at least that much again through joint ventures. That's why everyone has Joe on their speed dial. 


25.  Bernie, Steven, and Michael Gewirz. One of the classic low profile but high octane Washington families like the Abramsons, Bernsteins, Smalls, Benders, and Kaplans who keep the ownership game going and spread the wealth around. They've redeveloped 1666 K, 1700 K, 1776 I, 1801 L, and now the most visible corner of Washington, 1000 Connecticut; because they've owned stuff so long, their basis is low enough they can be picky. Patriarch Bernie, even when wintering in Florida, still makes many of the calls.


26. Dave McGarry, Mike Ellis, Jones Lang.  These guys are on a tear: Just last week Collins Ege and John Kevill set the record for the highest SF price of a DC building ($867 for 2099 Penn); trophy team Trip Howell and Amy Bowser fully leased Dreyfus' 1101 New York within 12 months; Tom Doughty, Phil Leibow, and Greg McCavera got the global Reed Smith contract; Bob VeShancey and Herb Mansini are repping Quadrangle on a snazzy new Towers Crescent; Harry Klaff and Bob Shue did NoVa tech deals like Mitre and SI; Wes Boatwright and Martin Kamm came up with a $107M construction loan for BP's 20 F Street; Bobby Schwartz leased Harbourside in Georgetown in under a year; Holly Davis is repping Liberty's 1129 20th; and on and on.


27.  Ralph Dweck, Dweck Properties.  There are probably not ten people who would recognize this quiet independent investor if he set foot at a party (we snapped this at one last year). But Mr. 1031 keeps buying—the likes of Lincoln Square, 2001 Penn, and this month a near record price for 51 Louisiana and 300 New Jersey. Buyers are always valued and important in the food chain, but especially in a downturn, and when they crave trophies and keep those prices high. And he's not even working in a foreign currency. 


28.  Diane Hoskins, Gensler.  Diane is a very big deal these days—one of the triumverate running America's largest architecture and design firm. Ironically, for that reason, she's actually lower on our list than she might be, because she's become more national than local. But she remains in her K Street office as she did when she was running DC for Gensler, still does amazing local work like Discovery, and above all is a hugely well known, respected, and liked woman who is putting Washington on the world's architectural map. 


29. Linda Rabbitt, Rand Construction. Everyone knows Linda, and not just the construction industry, or her fellow directors at Brookfield or trustees at GW. Her energy and self-confidence have long made her the pre-eminent distaff networker in a male-dominated profession. She's not only transcended the industry, but even Washington: Recently, Pink Magazine named hers among the 50 largest women-owned companies in the country, on the same list as Oprah and Martha Stewart

30.  Russ Hitt, Brett Hitt, Jim Millar, Hitt Construction. The Hitt family (now including in-law Jim) has been building this company since 1937, and is fast approaching the billion dollar mark, doing work now in 42 states and almost 5000 different jobs a year—half base building, half buildouts. They just finished 600k SF in three office buildings for Boston Properties in Reston Town Center and are about to start a fourth over a parking garage there; they're doing the T. Rowe Price campus in Baltimore, parking decks at National Harbor, and projects downtown with JBG and Tishman, and even breaking ground on their own new 180k SF headquarters at Fairview Park. 


(more breaking news on Baschuk, continued from top:)

Bruce tells us Woodmark Commercial will join Hagner Residential and J Street Development as three divisions under a new parent entity J Street Holdings. Suddenly, they've doubled their SF under management to 7.5M and got a bunch of new A-list brokers like Ed Beanblossom, Geoff Kieffer, and Alex Green, to put in front of institutional investors. Woodmark not only brings landlord and tenant brokerage, but has sold buildings like 1801 K and 2021 L.  Just like Bruce knew Petch Gibbons, whom he plucked a year ago from GVA to be Hagner president, he knew the Woodmark guys from his Coldwell Banker days in the 80s and 90s; they recently came to do their deal over lunches at Ed's fave, Prime Rib. As for Hagner Residential, he hopes this will become a strong brand in both pricier and edgier neighborhoods. Hmm, already thinking ahead to his post-NOMA moves in Farmers Market.

Hickok Cole
Goulston Storrs
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