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January 29, 2008

Sponsor update:  Our friend Rich Samit,  CEO of Fraser Forbes, the region's leading land sales specialist, tells us land prices have dropped 10 - 50%  over the past 2 years and he is starting to see good deals.  Check out his comments in today's Wash Post and contact Fraser Forbes to find out more.


Okay, we exaggerate a bit, it's really the Old Executive Office Building.  But if you've ever known people who work there, you know they refer to it as the White House.  It's from the late 1800s, has seen service as the Department of War, has needed new mechanical and electrical and plumbing systems since the Kennedy era, and needed special security enhancements after 9/11.  We'd be afraid to touch it.  Ah, that means it's a job for Grunley Construction, which specializes in large and often historic renovations-especially while people are still in them working.


Although they're aiming to do more commercial now (like 1401 NY Ave. which they just finished re-cladding and re-glazing with office workers occupying the 190k SF), they've made their name with government work.  And get a load of the landmarks they've fixed up:  The Supreme Court, Treasury Building, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, National Archives, Department of the Interior.  Most recently announced, with our friends at GGA doing the design, Grunley and Gilbane are joint venturing for all the work on the behemoth main Commerce Department building.  Above, three leaders of the 275-employee, $275M revenue company:  GM Greg Druga, president Ken Grunley, and corporate development guru Joel Zingeser. 


They trace their roots back to the company that Ken's dad, Martin, started in 1955, which did work on the likes of the Patent Office and Pentagon.  (Martin, now in his early 90's, was coming into the office regularly until recently.)  Here Ken shows us antique postcards of DC landmarks he found at a flea market; Grunley has remodeled all the buildings. They're currently working on a $78M, 350k SF quadrant-by-quadrant modernization of the Supreme Court's mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and on the 591k SF Mary E. Switzer Building for HHS.


Greg and Ken with assistant Regina Curtis. Grunley often does 15-20% of its own project work, like carpentry and masonry.  Over the last 12 years, Grunley's installed over 10m SF of sprinklers in occupied buildings. Greg tells us that in some cases tenants don't even know the company has been there, they're so unobtrusive. After completing a 3-year, at-night, 1M SF sprinkler install at the Rayburn House Office Building, one Congressman complained because he felt his space was passed over; Grunley had to explain to him that they did indeed install in sprinklers for his space, but that he just hadn't noticed them.


Work hard, play hard.  Above, Greg and 4-year-old son Elliott in St. Maarten last November on a family cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Joel spent this past weekend in Boca playing poker and catching up with fraternity buddies from his days at Rensselaer Polytechnic.  He swears they've had a gin rummy game lasting the past 30 years.  Ken, after taking his first ever two week vacation last summer with this wife (to Italy), is planning a shorter one at the new Rosewood hotel in Playa Del Carmen this winter.  But they work, too.  Tomorrow a dozen top managers are off on a strategic planning retreat.  But it'll be in Atlantic City instead of the usual Wye River because they wanted to celebrate a great year.    

Reznick Group
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