Heating Plant Bid at $15.8 Million

February 28, 2013

The West Heating Plant, the two-acre government property continues to get bids between two or three bidders. As of Feb. 26, the winning stood at $15.8 million, with bidding extended another 24 hours. Advised the General Services Administration: “We are now with the soft-close period. Bidders are encouraged to check back frequently to the remaining auction time.” If no one bids on the plant for more than 24 hours, the GSA will then decide if the auction is to be concluded.

Fiola Mare Signs 15-Year Lease with Washington Harbour

Chef Fabio Trabocchi signed a 15-year lease last week with MRP Realty for a new restaurant in Georgetown, according to the real estate group, which owns Washington Harbour, the popular multi-use complex between K Street and the Potomac River. Trabocchi plans to open the 9,000-square-foot Fiola Mare by the end of 2013; he already operates Fiola in downtown D.C. To be located on the west side of Washington Harbour, the fish-happy eatery will have inside and outside dining along with a raw bar.

“Fiola Mare will be exceptional complement to the restaurant tenant mix we have at Washington Harbour,” said Bob Murphy, managing principal of MRP Realty. “Having recently completed a significant renovation project at Washington Harbour, Fiola Mare will add to the level of sophistication that we are bringing to our tenants, residents and the community.”

District board of directors vice president, John Asadoorian of Asadoorian Retail Solutions, represented MRP Realty during the transaction, according to MRP.

Powerhouse: Latest Event Venue

February 15, 2013

The Powerhouse at 3255 Grace St., NW, along the C&O Canal, is the newest event venue in town, fit for fundraisers or weddings. With bay windows and a smoke stack, the 6,500-square foot interior once was part of a real powerhouse; it was also the site of a high-power public relations firm in the 1980s. The business touts its proximity to the M Street shopping corridor as well as the town’s hotels, such as the Four Season and the Ritz-Carlton, and the new entries, the Graham and the Capella. Visit thepowerhou. se for more info.

DSW Coming to M Street; J. Crew Expands

February 14, 2013

As DSW, a discount shoe store, prepares to moves into the former Georgetown Park Mall, a long-time tenant of the Shops at Georgetown Park is moving down the street a bit to the corner, once occupied by Intermix, alongside Dean & DeLuca. J. Crew plans to open in its new, larger space in April. Other new tenants coming to the shopping complex at 3222 M St., NW, include HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx and Pinstripes.

New Boutique Hotels, the Graham and Capella, to Open Early April

Following a multi-million dollar makeover, the Hotel Monticello reopens its doors in early April as the Graham Georgetown. The 57-room hotel, owned by Mast Capital of Miami, at 1075 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, takes its inspiration from Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, who had a laboratory on Volta Place in Georgetown and who, according to the new hotel, “personified the intersection of modern ingenuity with historical significance – a fine-tuned blend of old and new that will define guests’ experience at the Graham Georgetown and distinguish it from the Hotel Monticello.” The hotel will have a rooftop bar, the Observatory, and a cocktail lounge, the Alex, as well as a fitness center.

On 31st Street at the C&O Canal, the Capella is also set to open in April. Its five-story building is the former Trial Lawyers Association headquarters. The 49-room Capella will boast a restaurant and bar overlooking the canal. The Grill Room seats 70 and will be headed by chef Jacob Esko, who hails from Sweden and arrives from Capella Singapore. It will also have a rooftop bar — along with a swimming pool.

Homegrown Business Using Kickstarter to Grow

Georgetown architect Marilyn Stern, who has patents on such things as balancing place cards and a pleat-pin drapery system, has branched out to personalized prescriptions as party favors. The product developer’s new small business division is called Scrip Tease Rx, and each container can have a label made personally for each individual at an event.

At a birthday party last summer, the creative Stern first decided to give each party-goer an individualized prescription label that played on their personalities. She wanted to keep things light and casual and make parties funnier, she said.

Now, the humorous labels just keep coming and include “Boost-a-cillin,” improved outlook, “Multitask-eral,” help for multitasks, and “Sinbalta,” cure for bad behavior. What’s inside the small containers? Something better than hard drugs: simple M&Ms or other candies.

Stern finds her small business at a crossroads: how to grow it faster to meet demand? For increased funding, she has turned to Kickstarter. com, where she wrote: “We can help you and your friends with your issues and make all your events fun and memorable. So, we’re hoping that you help us with our one small issue. In order to produce the Scrip Tease Rx labels in an efficient and reasonable way, we are in need of a real pharmaceutical label printer.” Stern’s deadline for funding is Feb. 24. Check www. Kickstarter.com — “Funny, personalized, fake prescriptions for modern life” — and also visit Stern’s own site, www.Sternscape.com. [gallery ids="101162,141668" nav="thumbs"]

Beasley Real Estate Celebrates First Anniversary

Beasley Real Estate founder Jim Bell celebrated the firm’s first anniversary with a gathering to benefit Georgetown Ministry Center at one of Beasley’s best listings: a first-floor residence at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton on South Street. The $4.65-million property is at a top-drawer location near all of Georgetown’s action and overlooks the Potomac River, Whitehurst Freeway and Washington Harbour.

Ins & OutsJanuary 30, 2013

January 30, 2013

**Billy Reid Clothing Store Coming to M Street**
Billy Reid, the men?s and women?s clothing store with Southern roots, will be taking over the empty space of Uno Pizzeria?s Chicago Grill at 3211 M St., NW. The store also sells antiques. Most stores are in Alabama and Texas. The D.C. Billy Reid will its second north of the Potomac River; it has a New York store. The large build- ing also comes with a liquor license, which may explain why Billy Reid chose the spot. ?There are also plans to have the retail space hold live performances and evening affairs, which is a signature in all of Reid?s establishments,? reported the Washington Post last year.

**Business Group Kicks Off 2013 at the George Town Club**
The Georgetown Business Association held its first board and committee meetings of 2013 Jan. 16 at the George Town Club on Wisconsin Avenue and then kicked back with an ?Inaugural Kick-Off Reception? at the Club Room, which filled with members, old and new, and with guests for a lively evening of camaraderie along with food and drink. In gearing up for this year?s business efforts, the association is calling for volunteers to help with various committee assignments: membership, events, marketing and communications, safety, economic devel- opment and small business, governance and legislative. To serve on any of these committees, contact the Georgetown Business Association, 3233 K St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20007 — 202-640-1279 or e-mail: info@gtownbusiness. com.

**Kavanagh?s Closing for Fancier Italian Eatery**
Here?s a news blast from neighborhood blog Popville: Another new restaurant is coming to Glover Park. Restauranteur Adam Hiltebeitel tells me that he is bringing Arcuri to 2400 Wisconsin Ave, NW. He says Arcuri will be ?an energetic restaurant serving American food inspired by Italian traditions? and should open in early 2013.

2400 Wisconsin Ave is home to a few res- taurant including Heritage India but Arcuri will be taking over the lower level, currently home to Kavanagh?s Pizza Pub.

**Third Edition Holds Its Last Parties**
The Third Edition has a few Thursday parties left to say goodbye. Whether it will be renamed El Centro, as its new partnership includes the Sandoval Group, remains unclear. ?It?s been a great run, and it has a great history,? owner Greg Talcott said of Third Edition. ?But it?s time to put a new face on it.?

**Take Unwanted Furs to Coats for Cubs**
Before you toss the fur that either you no longer want or is in bad shape, take it over to Buffalo Exchange to contribute to its Coats for Cubs drive.

The annual drive aims to collect furs and redistribute them to wildlife rehabilitation pro- grams across the country. Rehab centers use the donated furs as bedding for wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes or even cubs, that have been orphaned or injured. Your unwanted furs can make a natural bedding more suitable than blankets for wild animals.

Buffalo Exchange, the family-owned and -operated fashion resale retailer, took over the program from the Humane Society of the United States in 2006, when financial cuts forced it to discontinue the program. Since then, Buffalo Exchange and the Humane Society have col- lected more than 7,500 furs.

Donations of real fur coats, accessories, trims and shearlings can be dropped off at Buffalo Exchange?s Georgetown location at 3279 M St., NW, or at its 14th Street location. The drive runs through April 22, Earth Day.

2012 Laureates Honored at Washington Business Hall of Fame Dinner

December 14, 2012

Last Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Washington Business Hall of Fame honored its five 2012 Laureates at a dinner at the Washington Hilton Ballroom. The 25th annual event was co-presented by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Junior Achievement and Washingtonian Magazine and chaired by Robert P. Pincus, vice chairman of EagleBank. Fox News’s Bret Baier emceed the event.

The event had a record attendance of approximately 1,400 people and raised more than $1.3 million for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. Proceeds will go towards financial literacy programs for area youth. Junior Achievement serves 52,000 youths during the academic year through 525,000 hours academic programs.

The 2012 Laureates are Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., chairman, Patton Boggs LLP; Giuseppe Cecchi, president, the IDI Group Companies; John R. Darvish, founder and president, Darcars; M. Charito Kruvant, president and CEO, Creative Associates International, Inc.; and Ronald D. Paul, chairman and CEO of EagleBank. The Washington Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders for their lifetime achievements through the private sector economy in Greater Washington. Laureates must demonstrate and had outstanding business accomplishments, visionary leadership, integrity and strong core values and passionate community engagement. Past laureates include Ted Leonsis, Ted Lerner and Katharine Graham.

Recently, 2012 laureate Ron Paul visited Junior Achievement’s Finance Park. “Walking off Finance Park gave me the hope that our children will have a better feel for the responsibilities they’ll have in volatile, difficult times.” Paul was pleased that the park teaches “real life experience, not theoretical.” [gallery ids="101103,138222,138216,138180,138211,138187,138207,138194,138201" nav="thumbs"]

Beijing, Shanghai in 7 Days

December 12, 2012

“Want to go to China?” asked a media colleague. On his airline points, no less, so that he would rack up miles for premier status. Barely able to say, “Ni Hao,” with passport in hand, I applied for a visa on the Chinese Visa Office on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park.

Regarding my business buddy — whom I’ve known since our days at Georgetown University and worked with at conventions — I foresaw not only a dizzying week of movement and sightseeing, but a busman’s holiday. “We’re going to the warehouse,” he quipped.

Aloft from Dulles Airport, the pilot informed us that the 14-hour, non-stop flight, fewer than 7,000 miles, would take us over Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Russia to Beijing. Snow-capped mountains north of the capital, as the plane flew south from Siberia, was the first glimpse of China. “On your left, you may see parts of the Great Wall,” the pilot said in her wake-call.
After customs check-in, officers simply waved us past luggage detectors. Amid info boards and ads, we noticed a display of items, such as weapons and drugs, not permitted to bring into the country that included a can of Spam.

“Welcome to Beijing,” said the friendly couple, walking near the City Wall Marriott. The street was filled with food stores, some slightly familiar, others quite local. First dinner in Beijing? Why, Peking Duck, of course. It was curious that there are no fourth or 13th floors at this Marriott but smoking allowed in some rooms. Bells at the old city wall were heard at certain hourly intervals.
A first day in China demanded a walk through Tiananmen Square. During the off-season, we seemed a bit out-of-place: two big, white guys from the West. A few persons took photos with us. Another at the hotel asked if we were in town for the Communist Party Congress. Not so, but my fellow traveler recalled his visit to Beijing 30 years ago as full of bicycles not cars, and much more haze.

At the square is Mao Zedong’s tomb, the People’s Palace and the National Museum. After the obligatory photo in front of the Tiananmen Gate with Mao’s large picture was a foray into the Forbidden City, a stunning micro-cosmos of beauty in the center of Beijing. This you can barely absorb in one day but surely see the Hall of Supreme Harmony, its biggest structure, and the Palace of Heavenly Peace. Yes, there is a moat.

The biggest must-see is the Great Wall of China, a day trip, with sections of the wall just 40 miles north of Beijing. We bypassed the touristy wall at Badaling with its Starbucks and ascended to the Mutianyu section, riding in a cable car; Bill Clinton used number 26, a sign assured. The views and epiphany-of-place reward the trek, if you can get past the souvenir hawkers. Standing atop the wall is one huge check on anyone’s bucket list. Here is one of those worldly sites where the reality exceeds the dream.
After the jade and enamelware (cloisonne) outlets, we stopped at the Olympic Park for the 2008 games and finished the day at Dr. Tea, sampling and buying a bit of all the tea in China. Vladimir Putin took some tea here. Before meeting our train at the new Beijing South Station the next morning, we shopped on a wholesale street few visitors frequent.

The train ride from Beijing to Shanghai — about 820 miles in five hours — was a real eye-opener, revealing a huge amount of cranes erected in the cities en route. This nation of contrasts is in a rush to maintain its economic growth.

Coming into Shanghai, we felt a little lost at the station before catching a cab to the Hyatt on the Bund. Nearing the Embankment, we stared at the buildings and then skyscrapers of Pudong across the Huangpu River. The colors and brilliance were potently, artfully electric and excited the mind’s eye.

The view from my 27th floor hotel room offered the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower and cityscape, and the Vue bar and restaurant atop the Hyatt is a perch not to be missed with its hot tubs — and all of Shanghai before you.

A place in motion, Shanghai is truly a city of the world and the future. At the Shanghai Circus, with its acrobatic acts, the ringmaster spun a porcelain vase on his head. I was eager to walk along the Bund and see the Customs House and old Signal Tower, as seen on “The Amazing Race.”

Next to modern facades are shops and eateries for city folk along with major Art Deco architecture from the 1930s; lunch at the Hotel Metropol. Nanjing Road stores are also lighted at night and have all that is offered on Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive as much as Xin Tian Di looked like it could be in Scottsdale or Santa Monica. Near the Sightseeing Pedestrian Tunnel, the Super Brand Mall looked like home with its “Merry Christmas” signs.

“Buy, buy, Shanghai,” they say. This city is a shopper’s paradise. A fine scarf, perfect necklace or leatherware — perhaps a Hello Kitty pencil case or an Angry Birds slingshot — at No. 1 Department Store? “What are you looking for?” said an unwanted street shopping guide. “I can find it for you.” How about a Mao ashtray or watch at the Dongtai Road antique market? Ready to take another taxi?

There is so much to this cool, cosmopolitan city of 23 million: from the past, the French Concession, Jade Buddha Temple, Jesuit Village or more. In the future-is-now category, the MagLev (magnetic levitation) train zips 19 miles to the airport at a maximum of 431 kilometers per hour (268 mph) at just over seven minutes. Had to try that.

Saying bye-bye to China, we flew to Los Angeles — 6,500 miles in less than 13 hours. After those shiny, big stations and airports, LAX seemed a little tired. “It’s not the MagLev,” intoned my fellow globetrotter. To combat jet lag, we spent a day in Los Angeles. Back in Washington, it had been a complete circumnavigation of the earth in one trip.

See more photos from Robert Devaney’s trip to China at www.Georgetowner.com. [gallery ids="101100,138038,138044,138050,138057,138063,138070,138076,138083,138031,138025,138019,138111,138105,137994,138100,138096,138000,138006,138013,138090" nav="thumbs"]