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April 17, 2008
The Bisnow

The most influential people
in Washington commercial real estate

Big welcome to new sponsor The Wall Street Journal Office Network. Those cool flat screens you see in office buildings broadcasting up-to-the-minute WSJ content and building—that's them, and tenants love it!  So check it out here.


You may remember our Power 50 list back in Sept '06. We thought we'd wait 18 months to let things change a bit—and with capital market chaos, things are changing by the day. But the principles of the list remain: First, it's about people. The Vanity Fair 100 doesn't list News Corp as #1, but Rupert Murdoch. Second, it's a snapshot of the moment, not praise of lifetime achievement or predictions. Third, it's about buzz—so who's on top doesn't necessarily relate to objective metrics like dollars or square feet. And overall, we admit, it's brazenly subjective and slightly ridiculous—but we hope therefore provocative and fun. First installment:


41.  Bill Alsup, Hines. Since he started working on the old convention center site in 2002, Bill didn't talk much about it until a design plan was finally agreed on with the city in December, and now with partner Archstone Smith they're taking contractor bids. Bill opened the office of Texas-based Hines 25 years ago, and this could be his fitting capstone before riding off into the sunset. 



42.  George Carras, Doug Firstenberg, Stonbridge Carras.  With big recent momentum, from 1.6M SF Constitution Square in NoMa (a third already pre-leased to DoJ), to ramping up design for Lot 31 across from Barnes & Noble on Bethesda Row, these guys know how to use Walton Street's money and pick winners.


43.  Marc DeLuca, ING Clarion.  He aggressively deployed a $3 billion war chest the last three years to buy well located dirt, develop and reposition buildings (like adding floors to 2121 K and upgrading the decayed Holiday Inn in Old Town to a spiffy Hotel Monaco); but in recent months as deal flow has dropped for everyone, we assume he's focusing more on existing assets (or his golf swing), because he looks a lot more relaxed—see picture.


44.  Ollie, Tom, Oliver III, Bob, and Dick. We can barely keep 'em straight, but we know the Carr Family is alive and well, even though Tishman picked up the CarrAmerica portfolio two years ago. Oliver III has long run the investment side of Carr Properties (successor to Columbia Equity Trust, with 27 buildings and JP Morgan money) and brother Bob runs the service and operations side. Tom is doing things with new colleagues at Federal Capital Partners like selling the Shirlington Gateway office building and buying the Monterey Condo on Rockville Pike. And patriarch Ollie, with son Dick helping him run things, still owns the Willard, Preferred Offices, and just recently has been buying suburban hotels.


45.  Bob Murphy, MRP.  
Bob's pure development shop is doing 5M SF from Potomac Yards and Carlyle Overlook to the RB corridor to NoMa, from old Gannett property in Tysons to two sites in Loudoun. It's a challenging time to be leveraged, but Bob has strong backers in Rockpoint, Mass Mutual, and Brookdale, so he seems to remain calm and nimble.


Bill Brennan, Turner Construction.  Finishing up the Newseum, Janelia Farm, the US PTO, and the owner's rep role at the stadium would have been impressive enough.  But with the purchase of Tompkins Builders, they've done the previously unthinkable:  build at much as Clark in this region. Yet only aficionados know Bill; probably that's a good sign: We assume it means there are no problems.


47.  Jim Lee, Opus East.  The merchant builder  from Moberly (Mo.) has built big stuff in Bethesda and College Park but is now plowing high profile new ground in DC, especially around the stadium, so much so that he's personally relocating his office to downtown. He's a powerful symbol of how the magnetic forces of the region have rearranged and created new DC centers of gravity.


48.  Jim Abdo, Abdo Development; Jair Lynch, the Jair Lynch Companies.  We've unfairly lumped them together, but we think of them as a matched pair: on this list by force of personality and vision, just temporarily in a lower range due to an economy beyond their control. They've got some of the region's coolest condos, but it's just not a high flying time for that product. Yet for some reason, they're still on everyone's lips; maybe because light is valued more than ever when it's dark.


49.  David Orr, Orr Partners.  Yes, there's Paul Himes and Mark Anderson who are also under-appreciated big deals around here for all the development they shepherd as owners' reps, but we've been blown away as we've learned about the scope of David's work. Among many projects, he's done five that were each worth more than $100M, and has personally developed campuses for Marriott, AOL, SAIC, Booz Allen, and US Pharmacopeia.


50. Ed Wolynec, WC Smith.  Working for one of the most revered philanthropists in the business, Chris Smith, Ed's been the behind-the-scenes guy in Anacostia and the ballpark district assembling strategic parcels. Without him, Monument wouldn't be playing ball at the stadium, JPI wouldn't be developing 1,100 units within 6 blocks of the US Capitol, and even Smith wouldn't have its own 300k SF Federal Gateway One office building.

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