Ascent Summer Soiree
What's got everyone flocking to Florida? Jeb Bush groupies? Gator attacks less terrying than shark attacks? No, these young, driven and idea-filled folks are DC up and coming real estate stars heading to Miami later this year for Bisnow's second Ascent retreat at the swanky 1 Hotel South Beach. This week, we kicked things off early with a happy hour schmooze at The Flats of Bethesda Avenue.
These are the Ascenters with some of the industry's seasoned gurus, including Meridian Group managing director Gary Block and Monument Realty founder Jeff Neal, who've been attending Bisnow's Escape event, the curated forum for real estate leaders. (You can tell the difference between the two groups by asking what side they're on: Nicki or Taylor. If the person says "who?" then you know they're a seasoned Escaper.)
Ascenter and Meridian Group VP of acquisitions Salem Tierce and Meridian partner and managing director Gary Block (an Escaper), MetLife Real Estate Investors Anthony Balestrieri, JR Kasman founder Jennifer Kasman and American Real Estate Partners SVP Kyle Fleit. Salem tells us Meridian recently bought the 390-room Hyatt Regency Bethesda, which sits over the Metro stop. It owns more than 10M SF of hotel, office, retail and industrial properties primarily in DC.
Bisnow's Michael Mazzara, who runs Ascent, is flanked by Pinkard Group principal Peter Kleeblatt and Foxhall Partners managing partner Matt Wexler. Matt tells us the Carlyle Hotel is now completely renovated, with 198 rooms, managed by Kimpton. Riggsby's, Michael Schlow's second DC restaurant, is also doing well in the Carlyle, serving up some of the best hamburgers. Peter says his firm has closed three office acquisitions in the last year and is busy with renovations and lease-ups.
ROSS Cos acquisitions VP Sam DiFrank, Lerner Enterprises managing director Steve Chun, PN Hoffman acquisitions and development SVP Shawn Seaman and Resmark SVP Alexandra Johns. Sam is expanding ROSS' multifamily platform to Richmond, and Shawn runs development on the Wharf. Sam tells us ROSS is optimistic about 2015, having added 1,500 units to the property management portfolio in the first half and expected to continue that kind of growth in the second half.
Harbor Group International acquisitions VP Matt Grabler, Rock Creek Property Group acquisitions and leasing professional Jared Okun and Metropolis Capital Finance finance director Eric Hynek.
First Washington Realty SVP Alex Nyhan and Ditto Residential COO Jamie Weinbaum. Jamie tells us he's overseeing construction of a 45-unit residential project in the H Street corridor (1326 Florida Ave) and getting ready to file a PUD for an eight-story building near Union Market.
Moseley Construction president Johnny Moseley (one of our happy hour sponsors) and May Development founder Eric May, who recently left Goldstar to launch his own company. Eric also tells us he partnered with CAS Riegler on 1401 Penn Ave SE in Hill East, where a PUD was recently submitted to build 180 residential units over 20k SF of retail. Eric also has active development projects in Logan Circle, Dupont Circle and Capitol Hill. Johnny says he's pumped to interview Bozzuto Group chairman Tom Bozzuto at Bisnow's 6th Annual Washington State of the Market event next week.
LCOR SVP Harmar Thompson and StonebridgeCarras principal Doug Firstenberg, who graciously let us hold the event at The Flats, a 162-unit residential building developed by StonebridgeCarras and PN Hoffman and delivered earlier this year. Harmar is overseeing The Altair in Arlington, a 450-unit residential project that includes 150 condos.
Zusin Development president Ilya Zusin, Bentall Kennedy VP Phil Down, Dalian Development VP Brady Nolan and B.F. Saul VP Vince Burke. Ilya stopped by on his way to the ribbon cutting for his Target Express on the UMD campus in College Park. And Phil tells us he's now running Bentall Kennedy's medical office acquisitions nationally.
Ascent is a three-day event focused on organic relationship building through activities, out-of-industry speakers and curated breakout sessions. The invite-only event is geared to real estate people in their 40s and younger, running deals at larger companies or managing their own firms. Apply to be considered or nominate a colleague.
Big thanks to this team from United Bank, which helped sponsor the Ascent happy hour. Associate wealth adviser Brandon Mong offers some coaching to associate Bess Patton.
And big thanks to CohnReznick and Arent Fox, for also sponsoring the event. CohnReznick partner David Kessler, speaking to Jeff Neal, will also be at our Washington State of the Market event next week to interview Salamander Hotels and Resorts CEO and BET co-founder Sheila Johnson.
A heart-felt thanks also goes out to Doug Firstenberg and Monty Hoffman for allowing us to use the beautiful new The Flats of Bethesda Avenue.
Merjan Bubernack contributed to this issue.