22 May 2018

JBG Smith Launches Affordable Housing Initiative To Preserve And Build Over 2,000 Units

D.C.’s largest developer and real estate owner is preparing to take on one of the city’s biggest issues: affordable housing.

JBG Smith, in partnership with the Federal City Council, is launching the Washington Housing Initiative with the goal of preserving or building between 2,000 and 3,000 units of affordable workforce housing.

The initiative comes as JBG Smith is courting Amazon with its Crystal City office portfolio; the tech giant has told local officials that affordable housing is one of its top priorities for an HQ2 landing spot.

Along with the launch, JBG Smith announced it has hired AJ Jackson as executive vice president of social impact investments to lead the developer’s work on the initiative. Jackson was previously a partner with developer EYA.

The Washington Housing Initiative will be split into two components. The partnership is creating a nonprofit entity, the Washington Housing Conservancy, to acquire, develop and operate workforce housing. JBG Smith will manage The Impact Pool, an investment vehicle created to provide capital for the acquisition and development of affordable workforce housing. The group will focus on what it calls "high-impact locations," fast-growing areas where housing prices are expected to rise over the next decade.

"This initiative takes advantage of our existing operations and scale to help address a critical need in the community," JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly said in a statement. "We are deeply committed to the success of this effort and to helping strengthen communities throughout our region by addressing this urgent and growing housing need.”

JBG Smith is not the only large D.C. developer to turn its attention to affordable housing. MRP Realty, typically a market-rate builder, has recently filled its development pipeline with a large concentration of affordable units, including a fully affordable, 137-unit Ward 7 project and NoMa’s 806-unit Northwest One development, which will set aside 67% of its units as affordable.

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12 May 2018

Royal wedding pub brings taste of fairytale Britain to Washington DC

The Beatles are being blasted over the pub’s loudspeaker, and the boisterous bar crowd are enjoying “Markle Sparkle” cocktails.

The walls are adorned with pink and white floral arrangements – and the kitchen is being guarded by a statue of a Beefeater, the ceremonial guards more often spotted protecting the Tower of London.

This is the Royal Wedding Pub, a pop-up bar in Washington DC that has been created to capture excitement about the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an American actor, on 19 May.

“I hate to use cliches, but it’s like that fairytale thing where the commoner girl meets the prince,” says Megan Biggins, a local resident who along with three of her friends has donned a fascinator hat for the outing to the pub.

It has already drawn hundreds of patrons each evening since its official launch earlier this month, with the most devoted willing to queue up, sometimes for hours. The temporary venue has a fan-vaulted ceiling and stained glass, modeled after St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where Prince Harry was christened and will marry his bride.

The Royal Wedding Pub is the latest creation by Drink Company, a group behind other viral pop-ups that included pubs inspired by Game of Thrones and Washington’s annual cherry blossom festival. The “Markle Sparkle” is one of the most popular drinks – a twist on an Aperol spritz with rose cider and edible glitter. Twiglets are among the snacks.

“She’s the first American princess. We’ve got to pay homage to her,” says Matt Fox, the special projects director at Drink Company.

Pamela Boundy and her daughter Morgan Boundy pose for selfies in the throne room at the Royal Wedding Pub.Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein for the Guardian

Paul Taylor, the company’s head of bar concepts, says the team dove “down the rabbit hole” to get every detail right. “The names of the cocktails are important, the ingredients are important, the glassware is important,” he says.

The “When Harry Met Meghan” cocktail is served in a royal wedding collector’s mug. The scotch-based drink is made with ginger, a cheeky reference to Prince Harry’s hair, and banana. The latter, Taylor says, is a favorite of the couple’s.

With drink in hand, visitors congregate inside a recreation of the Buckingham Palace throne room, replete with red and gold curtains. Pub-goers wrap themselves in a red velvet robe and pose for pictures with a stuffed corgi, as cardboard cutouts of Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Queen Elizabeth herself flank the two thrones.

The Royal Wedding Pub has drawn a range of patrons, most of them young women, from self-confessed anglophiles to fans of the Netflix series The Crown. Some simply want to see what all the fuss is about.

Pamela Boundy is the embodiment of an American aficionado of the royal family, holding court at the corner of the bar in a gold paper crown that comes as a keepsake with a cocktail aptly named God Save the Queen.

A list of royal wedding-inspired cocktails.Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein for the Guardian

A resident of Midland, Michigan, she is visiting her daughter in Washington and is planning a watch party at her home for the royal nuptials at 4.30am local time in DC.

“We have a red carpet and everybody dresses up for the occasion,” says Boundy. “My husband dresses up in a tuxedo and plays the butler. We serve an English breakfast and clotted cream.”

The family hosted a similar affair when Prince William wed Kate Middleton, but the idea of an American princess has ramped up their excitement.

“It’s about time,” Boundy says.

On the big day itself, when Prince Harry and Markle are to officially wed, the Royal Wedding Pub plans to open doors first thing in the morning for a watch party. All of the day’s proceeds will go to the Invictus Games Foundation, the international sporting event founded by Prince Harry for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

One thing US TV viewers of the wedding apparently won’t see, though, is Donald Trump or Barack Obama – who is friends with Prince Harry – attending the event, after it emerged there would be no official political invitations.

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02 May 2018

Menlo Group Senior VP Becomes Member of Elite Commercial Real Estate Society

Grafton Milne of Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate has achieved the SIOR office designation awarded by the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®. SIOR is a Washington, DC-based international professional organization of more than 3,100 commercial real estate professionals, 2,900 of whom have earned the coveted SIOR designation. “I have always tried to apply Covey’s Principle of ‘Sharpening the Saw’. I am always looking for ways to become better in all aspects of my life. Obtaining the SIOR designation was a perfect way to push myself professionally,” Milne said.SIOR, which boasts of having just 3,100 members across the globe, is the pinnacle of achievement for anyone desiring to become one of the top brokers in their city. The exclusiveness means that these brokers are considered the most ethical and trustworthy professionals in the field.“I have always looked at local SIOR’s as being the ‘cream of the crop’ in our market,” said Milne.Milne started his real estate career working alongside his brother Tanner. In the summer of 2007 they worked together for a commercial developer and as the Phoenix market began to decline that year, Grafton took a gamble and followed his entrepreneurial-minded brother and they started Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate in October 2008. Since then, Grafton has been involved in hundreds of real estate sale and lease transactions. One notable transaction was the sale of the former Phoenix Memorial Hospital in downtown Phoenix.“It is an absolute honor to be welcomed into such an elite group of professionals. Not only are SIOR designees known for being the top producers in their markets but they are market-tested, ethically driven, and respected in the industry,” Milne added.Since the organization began, SIOR members have completed over 78,000 transactions. The average SIOR member has sold a million square feet of space for a total dollar volume of 31 million spread across 30 transactions. Members can hold specialty designations in industrial, office, sales manager, executive manager or advisory service.Grafton is not the first member of the Menlo Group team to obtain the SIOR designation. His brother Tanner achieved the coveted SIOR office designation roughly one year ago. He believes more will follow. Many of the brokers at Menlo Group already hold the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation and are encouraged to take the next steps in progressing toward their SIOR designation.In their new corporate office completed last year, Menlo Group has the following quote from Thomas Edison posted on the wall for the entire office to see, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Hard work is required to become an SIOR with its stringent qualifications and certifying expertise. This aligns perfectly with the core values at Menlo Group.SIOR, founded by industrial brokers Frank Binswanger and David Houston in 1939, started life in Philadelphia where it was vital in helping find land for building plants to help in the World War II effort. It slowly grew from those beginnings to spread across America as well as around the rest of the World. SIOR is affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®.Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage that services the industrial, retail, child care and general, medical and dental office markets in the Metropolitan Phoenix area. We exist to illuminate the path to success for our clients, brokers and employees. Yes, we’re a commercial real estate firm. But really, that’s just the vehicle we’ve chosen to help people find their own definition of success. Finding just the right location and structure for a client, the right tenants for a building, the right fit for brokers and employees. Those are the things we strive for every day.

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22 Apr 2018

Washington state’s economy ranked highest in the nation despite relatively low investment per capita

Aerial view of Seattle, Lake Washington, and Bellevue. (Flickr Photo / Joe Wolf)

Washington state’s technology industry isn’t always considered in the same league as California’s. But a 2017 study getting renewed attention this week suggests that Washington is actually punching well above its weight.

Credit reporting site WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 metrics for economic health and opportunity in the report. The study resurfaced this week when Visual Capitalist, a digital media brand, compiled the data in the infographic below.

Washington ranked No. 1, driven by factors like strong gross domestic product growth, exports per capita, and percentage of high-tech jobs.

Booming Silicon Valley helped California land second place but the state’s high housing costs — 92.7 percent above the national average — weighed it down in the economic health rankings.

(Visual Capitalist graphic. Click to enlarge)

Washington’s first place spot is particularly notable because the state has relatively low investment per capita, according to the report. Washington’s per capita investment is $154 while California’s is $800 and New York’s $378. Washington’s lack of venture capital is often cited as a reason the state doesn’t have more startup activity.

The top three states — Washington, California, and Utah all have relatively similar tax burdens, according to the report. That led venture capitalist and progressive rabble-rouser Nick Hanauer to tweet this:

Socialist hell hole Washington State ranks #1 economy. At what point do conservatives begin to clue in to the fact that it is conservatism that makes them poor? https://t.co/fKMPGDu3SI

— Nick Hanauer (@NickHanauer) April 20, 2018

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12 Apr 2018

local student headed to Washington DC–Needs your help!

This summer, Jadan Quintero from New Port Richey will join outstanding middle school students from across the nation to take part in a unique academic and career-oriented development experience, Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. Junior National Young Leaders Conference is a great opportunity for high-achieving scholars to get outside the classroom and see, through hands-on interactive learning, how to innovate and think creatively

Jadan was nominated by his teacher at Gulf Middle School. In addition to participating in the AVID program, Jadan also serves on the National Junior Honor Society and the Pasco Sheriff Junior Explorers Program. He also actively attends church and loves to play basketball. Jadan plans to pursue his dream of having a career in law enforcement and is looking forward to learning what it takes to be a leader and much more this summer at the conference.

The cost of tuition and travel is an estimated $3,000. We are actively running a Go Fund Me Page and we are asking for the community’s support in making this trip a reality! Please see more on www.gofundme.com/JadanQ. Please share and if you can, donate. Thank you for reading!

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02 Apr 2018

Russian News Network RT On Washington DC Airwaves? Nyet!

Russian broadcaster RT is being taken off the air in Washington, DC as of midnight on Sunday.

The English-language channel, formerly known as Russia Today, has been described by US intelligence agencies as “state-run propaganda.” RT counters that it is a news operation that provides alternative information under the slogan, “Question More.”

RT is carried by digital stations WNVT and WNVC in the Northern Virginia area, and the stations’ owner auctioned off its share of the digital airwaves for use by wireless developer applications. That will eliminate the ability to carry programming from RT and others. Because of that, RT also will vanish from local cable providers, which are required to carry all broadcasters in their area.

The Kremlin said on Friday that taking RT off the air in Washington looked illegal and discriminatory.

The US Department of Justice forced RT to register as “a foreign agent” in November of last year. That move requires it to disclose financial information, something the station claims is burdensome as it tries to expand its distribution.

“These cable providers announced that they won’t provide their services to RT,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Lawyers are examining the details, but as of now and at first glance it looks like a groundless decision.”

Peskov also said discrimination against Russia media concerned the Kremlin. “It’s a very worrying tendency,” he said. “They are demonstrating a discriminatory policy towards the media in the US, which probably breaks the law and contradicts all these statements about freedom of speech.”

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23 Mar 2018

DC Radio Station Comes Back on Air as Apartments

Urban Investment Partners (UIP) has completed Frequency Apartments, a 100-unit community in the Tenleytown neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The property used to be an office building that housed local National Public Radio affiliate WAMU.

UIP acquired the building at 4000 Brandywine Street, NW, along with two other properties, from American University in 2016. The company then undertook a $14 million, year-long gut renovation of the original 36,000-square-foot building and added 14,000 square feet to the structure.

Common amenities include keyless entry, a roof deck with grilling area and panoramic views, a fitness center, resident lounge, teleworking space, conference and meeting rooms, bike storage, resident lounge, package acceptance and reserved garage parking. The property is also pet-friendly.

According to UIP Principal Steve Schwat, the unusual name is derived from its history as a radio station and recording studio for WAMU/NPR programming, including the syndicated talk shows hosted by Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi.

The DC Neighborhood has a Storied Past

Located on one of the highest elevations in D.C., Frequency counts as transit-oriented. The community is one block from the Tenleytown-American University station on Metrorail’s Red Line, and is also served by 11 Metrobus lines, the American University shuttle and the Sibley Hospital shuttle.

Named in the late 1700s for local tavern owner John Tennally, Tenleytown surrounds the site of Civil War-era Fort Reno, built on the city’s highest natural ground at 409 feet above sea level. By 1900, the last remains of the fort had been replaced by a reservoir, water tower and a park.

The 1941 opening of Sears & Roebuck store at Wisconsin Ave. and Albemarle St. spurred the neighborhood’s growth. The area’s first Hechinger store also was in Tenleytown; after Sears vacated its store in 1994, Hechinger bought and moved into the property, though it eventually shuttered all its stores. By 2003, the former Sears/Hechinger site had been converted into one of the city’s first transit-oriented developments, Cityline at Tenley.

The UIP group of companies owns and manages more than 2,800 apartments in Washington, D.C., and Maryland, and has renovated, restored and built more than 25 downtown apartment and condo buildings over the last 10 years. UIP’s primary focus includes renovations, adaptive reuse of office properties, and working with tenants in D.C. to help them exercise their TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) rights.

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13 Mar 2018

‘Thanks for having me, Washington’: Kirk Cousins says farewell to Redskins

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Reportedly in information gathering mode as the NFL’s “legal tampering” window opened, free agent and soon-to-be-former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins shared a farewell message for Redskins fans on Monday.

In a 515-word message posted on his personal website, Cousins began by thanking one of his biggest supporters, former Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, for selecting him in the 2012 NFL draft. He mentioned “You Like That!,” which still isn’t a question, and recalled Redskins fans greeting the team at Redskins Park in the early morning hours on Dec. 27, 2015 after Washington captured the NFC East title with a win at Philadelphia. He said there is no way he would be where he is today — poised to become the highest-paid player in the league — “without the leadership of the Redskins organization,” including Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

(Cousins may have also inadvertently tipped his hand about where he’s considering signing by initially including “Vikings” and “Jets,” but not “Broncos” and “Cardinals,” in the tags at the end of his post alongside tags such as “Moving,” “New Team,” and “Classic.” The “Vikings” and “Jets” tags were quickly removed.)

Anyway, here’s the full text of Cousins’s farewell, with a few related hyperlinks added and minus the pop-up ad asking if you’d like to spin a virtual wheel to unlock a secret bonus discount on all the burgundy and gold swag Cousins is looking to unload before he leaves town:

As I’m about to make one of the bigger decisions of my life, I’ll be saying goodbye to my familiar life as a Redskin. After calling Washington home for the past six years, the team has decided to move on to another option and, in turn, my family and I will be moving on as well.

Knowing I will not be putting on a Redskins jersey next season, it’s hard to look back at all that’s taken place and not become emotional. I will forever be grateful to Mike Shanahan for taking a chance on me in the 2012 draft. At the time, many people saw his selection as foolish. Time proved otherwise and taught me that there are no guarantees in this business — if you work hard and learn from your mistakes, good things can happen. For the first time in 11 years I will participate in choosing where I play. Having said this, I would not trade the past decade for anything.

I am filled with gratitude over the unwavering support and devotion from you, the fans, both on and off the field. I’ll never forget how you stormed Redskins Park at 3 a.m. to welcome us home from Philadelphia after clinching the NFC East in 2015. I’ve never been so happy to have my car mobbed. You made “You Like That!” a catchphrase and your boundless generosity helped us raise tens of thousands of dollars for International Justice Mission to protect victims of violence all over the world — No words will express the depth of my gratitude, but “thank you” will have to do for now.

Though we are ultimately measured on a win-loss record, my fondest memories will be the little achievements and struggles that got us there…the everyday memories that made the job fun. I’ll miss Trent Williams’ clever one-liners at a teammate’s poor fashion choices (mostly mine) … breakfast with Scherff and Sundberg …Tress Way’s trivia games … Ryan Kerrigan’s consistency … Jordan Reed’s horrible ping pong (but amazing routes) … Chatting with Jamison Crowder & Josh Doctson in the cold tub …“Dunkin’ Fridays” with Colt McCoy… and on and on.

Just like you never fully leave your hometown — you never fully leave your first NFL team, especially after six seasons. My family and I will always have a piece of Washington deep in our hearts. I arrived as a single, 23-year-old from the Midwest — with a lot to learn and prove. I now leave as a husband of four years to my wife, Julie, and a father to my son, Cooper — but still with lots to learn and prove.

There is no way I would be where I am today without the leadership of the Redskins organization … Coach Gruden, Bruce Allen, Dan Snyder. Thank you all for the opportunity you gave me. When Cooper someday asks: “Hey Dad, what was it like playing for the Redskins?” I’ll proudly tell him it was a dream come true.

Thanks for having me, Washington, and thanks for making me into the player I am today!

The Vikings and Jets have since been removed from the tags at the bottom of Kirk Cousins’s farewell post. (Screenshot via KirkCousins.org)

Read more on the Redskins:

Boswell: ‘We’re about to see just how much damage the Redskins did to themselves’

‘To me, it’s a big deal’: Joe Gibbs will teach lessons from his career in new online program

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05 Mar 2018

Where To Stay In Luxurious Style During Washington DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is an unrivaled springtime ritual that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. The masses of pink cherry flowers are so profuse that the sunlight almost takes on a pinkish glow. The city puts on a three-week celebration with live music, fireworks shows, parades—even a kite flying festival, and the absolute best place to make your home base for exploring during cherry blossom season is at the ultra-deluxe Rosewood Washington DC hotel in Georgetown—just a few short miles from the Mall.

The team at the Rosewood take this cherry blossom business quite seriously—crafting cherry blossom inspired cocktails and menu offerings as well as offering up epicurean picnic lunches and private Segeway tours of the Tidal Basin. The Georgetown location is a perfect blend of village walkability with restaurants and shops and easy in/out to the main attractions along the Mall. Rosewood has clearly defined its place as one of the world’s ultra-luxury hotel companies —delivering guests a combination of smart, anticipatory service in an intimate hotel setting with a residentially styled vibe. There is not a massive registration desk here, rather guests can take care of hotel business in the guests-only library. The lobby (more of a foyer) is intimate too, (an interesting perk that attracts big stars and musicians looking to avoid paparazzi—there is no way a photographer can idle in the Rosewood main entrance without being glaringly obvious.)

The main living room is stocked with books (most focus on the fascinating history of DC) and a 24-hour supply of tea, coffee and snacks. Rooms have been painstakingly appointed with bespoke furnishings, beautiful hardwood finishes, massive over-sized soaking tubs and rich fluffy bedding. Touch technology opens curtains and powers the lights. With only 37 rooms and 12 suites total it is relatively easy to book an entire floor if you have a large party or event—lending an even greater sense of privacy to the experience. Best room options are the Premium Corner King –with floor to ceiling windows on two walls they have abundant light and the ones with canal views are the most lovely. Also, the hotel’s Georgetown Suites are best suited to guests who may want to conduct business—the handsome living area feels more like a home than a hotel.

Drinking is one of the choice pursuits here too—up on the rooftop bar with views of the DC skyline or on the main floor Rye Bar—where the DC power set are known to linger after the day’s business is done. We liked the impressive selection of brown spirits—WhistlePig 15-Year anyone?–and the decadent Barrel Aged Manhattan with rye, dolin rouge, byrhh quinquina. The Grill Room is intimate as well, and weather permitting, the canalside seating is some of the best al fresco dining DC has on offer. Be sure to try the Salt Meadow Lamb with pistachio persillade, artichoke ‘barigoule’ and carrot yogurt.

From the hotel it is easy to grab a taxi or uber to the Mall –or any of the cultural offerings that dot the area. But, you did come for the blossoms; the Rosewood Cherry Blossom Package includes:

• Accommodations at the Deluxe King level or higher (two-night minimum stay)

• Welcome cocktails for two from The Rye Bar

• Segway Tour around the Tidal Basin

• Daily breakfast for two at lively neighborhood restaurant, The Grill Room

• Bike-riding excursion with a catered lunch

• Valet parking for one vehicle

Available for a minimum of two nights between March 19 and April 20, the starting rate for Rosewood Washington, D.C.’s exclusive Cherry Blossom Package begins at $680 per night. Advance hotel reservation and a 72-hour cancellation period is required.

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21 Feb 2018

BroadwayWorld Seeks Contributors in Washington DC

How can I get involved as a Contributing Editor?

All applicants should have excellent writing skills and an enthusiasm for giving local theaters and productions some prominence on BroadwayWorld.com – the largest theater site on the net!

As a Contributing Editor, you will have the opportunity to review the shows of your choice, conduct interviews with local and touring talent, design features of your own choosing for publishing, and work/network with your local theater press reps to bring exposure to the theatrical offerings in your area.

Your compensation as a featured writer with us not only includes exclusive press seats to all of the shows you cover (as is standard in your area and arranged between you and the theater) but also the opportunity to be published under your own byline and publishing profile on both the local and main pages of the site for maximum exposure to our 5.5+ monthly visitors!

The position offers flexible hours and the convenience of working remotely from your hometown. (**Access to New York City is NOT necessary**). There are no administrative duties associated with the contributorship. You simply see the shows, meet the talent, and write on your own time and terms! (Note that some projects require a specific publishing turnaround which you will discuss with your editor on a case-by-case basis).

To apply, or for more information, send an email to dc@bwayworld.com

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