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February 13, 2008

Next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze:  We're delighted to announce that our friends from Clark Construction will be sponsoring our next event, February 29, featuring Jon Peterson, who's heading the The Peterson Companies' stunning creation of National Harbor. (Note: This event will be at the Tower Club in Tysons, not the usual City Club.) Big thanks to both Jon and Clark Construction! Sign up


No, we're not talking about the next Democratic primary, but the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Western right across the DC line in Chevy Chase. You know, where Hecht's used to be and now you see that new Bloomingdale's and lots of cranes and building skeletons rising up overnight.  We're always wondering what's going on there, so yesterday we braved the ice and drizzle and met up with Boston Properties' Jim Hart, who heads the high profile project.


Jim stands in front of where they're putting an 11-story, 350k SF office tower fronting Wisconsin Ave. Balfour Beatty began base building construction last month and will deliver the space in late spring '09; Capital Source has already leased 160k SF for its new HQ, moving from the next block. There will also be 45k SF retail on the first floor that hopes to include a couple restaurants and fashion label stores like Cole Haan.


Here's the official site plan, and our zippy summary: Three entities in partnership own the 8-acre site above other than Bloomies (which remains owned by parent Macy's):  Boston Properties, Archstone Smith, and New England Development. It was bought from May Co. in August of '04 for $23.5M. Seems like a pretty good deal, though they had to bulldoze all existing structures in two phases and deal with asbestos issues. BP handles the office building and overall site coordination, Archstone the residential, and NED the retail. At the behest of Montgomery County Park and Planning, the team also included two parks, several pieces of public art, and a community center in the final plan. Extra retail space attached to Bloomies will include Talbot's (to open fairly soon) and probably another high end restaurant.       


We also stopped yesterday (an excuse to get back inside a warm office) to see Archstone's Daryl South in Crystal City, where he showed us a rendering of the 432-unit residential tower that faces Willard Ave. The all-rental building designed by SK&I and built by Turner will top out next month and deliver by summer '09—right around when Whole Foods will also open its doors next door. Daryl told us that since the condo market isn't Archstone's thing, from the get-go the units were going to be rentals. Rents will start at $1800 for a studio and go to $4300 for a three bedroom.


Here's the Bloomies, already in operation since September, with the would-be Talbots planned for the low lying building to the right. And here's something we learned yesterday that you may take as a valuable tip:   Want to avoid crowds at this great store?  Go on a cold, dreary, icy, slippery workday afternoon.

Reznick Group
Brookfield Properties
Arent Fox
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