Wow, I'd never been to a "topping out" party before yesterday, and I think I came overdressed. Construction King Jim Clark himself hosted the 185 workers at his new 12 story building on 3rd St., SW, serving up BBQ and macaroni to celebrate. I figured such parties were held on roofs, but this one was sensibly in the basement parking garage, which was the only place protected from the chilly elements outside, since the building doesn't have sides yet. Clark's managers thanked everyone in both English and Spanish and predicted first occupancy of the 232,000 SF by August.
Clark, left, told me the building is special to him (he doesn't go to every topping out party for his zillions of projects) because he bought it 30 years ago and has been waiting all these years for the right time to develop it. It's also unusual because Clark Enterprises owns 100%, just one of half a dozen such buildings. (They own a piece of far more.) At his side, above, is of course top lieutenant Larry Nussdorf (#10 on the Bisnow Power 50 list).
Afterwards, a few of us adventurers joined CB Richard Ellis broker Scott Frankel, above, trudging up the steps to the roof to take in views of the Capitol, baseball stadium, and assorted Mall buildings. Scott and Art Santry are representing Clark and of course looking for Hill-oriented tenants for their new trophy offering.
Cesar or Rafael Pelli?
We here at Bisnow got a lot of queries Monday from you astute and loyal readers asking (ever so politely) if we didn't mean Cesar Pelli, not Rafael Pelli, when we referred to the "celebrity architect" of Square 54. Actually, yes and no. It is in fact Rafael, as we said, who is the partner-in-charge of the Square 54 architecture for Boston Properties and Kettler(formerly KSI Services). Rafael, 50 years old, is son of Cesar, 80. Rafael runs the New York office, and is now one of the three co-principals of the firm together with his dad and Fred Clarke. In October of 2005, in recognition of this fact, the firm, which had been Cesar Pelli & Associates, renamed itself Pelli Clarke Pelli. Rafael has been heavily involved in the Battery Park development in New York. However, it does appear we confused him for Cesar when we said he did the National Airport renovation and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. We now know this because we belatedly called Rafael and talked to him directly. But 80% correct is pretty good for journalism, don't you think?
Rome to Studley
Figures that a guy named "Rome" would like to do business at an Italian restaurant. So it was at Tosca six months ago that Studley vice chairmanSteve Goldstein started the process of luring CRESA Partners DC headRick Rome across the proverbial street, where last week he started as co-branch manager of Studley's DC office, sharing the role with high-profileLois Zambo and Tom Fulcher. Rick founded the Rome Group 18 years ago, then bought into CRESA in 2000. Studley's like a homecoming. His first job was with Fred Ezra—who came from Studley. And where is Studley's office? 555 13th, whose biggest tenant is Hogan & Hartson,Rick's biggest client—he found them their 450,000 SF. How to celebrate? He and wife Joanne just skied Breckenridge. She was CRESA DC's COO the last 10 years, has left with him—and is now out of a job. But he says she's a better skier.
Gray to Smith
CREW President and Cassidy & Pinkard communications queen Elaine Gray goes to the SmithGroup this month as a principal, handling client development, media relations, and community outreach. But first she goes to the Dutch side of St. Marteen. For the first time in 20 years, Elaine doesn't have both job and kids to juggle, so don't be surprised if she falls asleep on the sand and is late getting back.