Business Ins & Outs

In: Fashion’s Rene Ruiz Brings Miami Heat

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At the new M Street shop: Daniel Simon, sales director for Rene Ruiz. Photo by Robert Devaney.
At the new M Street shop: Daniel Simon, sales director for Rene Ruiz. Photo by Robert Devaney.

In: Fashion’s Rene Ruiz Brings Miami Heat

Rene Ruiz, luxe top-end fashion studio, has set up shop at 2902 M St. NW, formerly the Washington, D.C., regional office of Bonhams auctioneers. The Florida-based Rene Ruiz has a store in Coral Gables and a storeroom in New York City.

According to the company, its fashion-designer founder “strikes a balance between old-world craftsmanship and modern glamour by blending Miami’s sultry sexiness with graceful elegance. He succeeds in fusing the region’s beauty and diversity with his inspirations for the international social set from Los Angeles to Palm Beach and Zurich to Ontario.”

The new M Street store evokes that kind of style and sentiment. The business is in partnership with Ike Behar Evening. (The Ike Behar store is next door.) Walk upstairs, and welcome a new Georgetown business.

In: Carine’s Bridal Atelier Opens on Wisconsin With Sale

After months of preparation, the new location of Carine’s Bridal Atelier eagerly awaits new brides looking for the gown of their dreams. The store, at 1623 Wisconsin Ave. NW, is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The chic bridal salon has opened with a massive month-long sale (through Aug. 31), offering designer gowns at up to 90 percent off on a first-come, first-served basis. Featured designers include Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang.

Out (for Now): History-Drenched Dixie Liquor Could Be Yours

After an ownership change less than nine years ago, the retail business founded in 1934 as Dixie Liquor is again for sale. The famed liquor store — frequented by generations of Hoyas and the likes of John Kennedy and former running back John Riggins — is at the intersection of M Street and Key Bridge, next to the cobblestone hill of 35th Street.

“Closed for renovation” since before July 4, the store, at 3429 M St. NW, sits on property owned by the Miller family for decades. In earlier years, the family ran the liquor business — now in purchase negotiations, according to a source wishing to remain anonymous. Calls to the store were not returned.

As the oldest liquor store in D.C., Dixie Liquor is known as much for its store’s personalities as for its beers, wines and vodkas. It carries a liquor license with some extras: the ability to be open 365 days a year and a tasting permit.

The following is how the business recently presented itself: “Some say Dixie Liquor is the only privately owned monument in Washington and that the only reason we are so close to the bridge is to make Virginia jealous. All we know is that the more the world changes, the more Dixie stays the same.”

(Translation: Don’t worry, Hoyas, Dixie will rise again.)

Out: Barneys Co-Op Closes — for Rebranding?

The Barneys New York Co-Op at 3040 M St. NW opted out July 17. A 2013 Forbes article reported that Barneys was beginning to rebrand the Co-Op stores, which sell discounted products from luxury labels such as Chanel and Prada. In 2012, Barneys went through a $540 million debt-for-equity swap that saved the 93-year-old company from bankruptcy. Calls to Barneys corporate office were not returned.

$54-Million Acquisition: Future of Key Bridge Marriott Cloudy

The ground leases for the Key Bridge Marriott have been purchased by Host Hotels & Resorts for $54 million. Across the Potomac River from Georgetown, next to the Virginia side of Key Bridge — with stunning views of the nation’s capital — it is the oldest Marriott hotel property still in use.

“The hotel was part of the Host Hotels’ portfolio as a land lease from the time the hotel was built,” wrote Erika Morphy of GlobeSt.com, which first reported the sale Aug. 1. “Now the REIT is evaluating what it wants to do with the well-positioned property.”

Host Hotels & Resorts CEO Ed Walter said in a company report, “We have spent off and on the last 10 years negotiating with the owners of the foundation that owned the property in an effort to try to get complete control of the property.” Walter added that his company is considering several options, which include “a complete scrapping of the asset and a complete redevelopment of the entire parcel, which would involve for us probably selling off a number of those parcels to other parties. We are also potentially redeveloping a part of the hotel and then selling off portions of the hotel to third parties to develop either residential or office.”

Marriott International is based in Bethesda, Maryland, as is Host Hotels & Resorts, which spun off from Marriott in 1993. The lodging real estate investment trust was formerly called Host Marriott Corporation.

Built in 1959, the Key Bridge Marriott is the second hotel constructed by company founder J.W. Marriott. Some old timers may recall Marriott’s first: the Twin Bridges Marriott near the 14th Street Bridge, said to be the largest motel in the world when it opened in 1957. That site is now part of Long Bridge Park in Crystal City.

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