real estate news
by Susanna Monroney Luddy

With the vast buildup of telecom, Internet, and software businesses in and around Washington, people arecalling the D.C. area the “Silicon Valley of the East Coast.” Leading real-estate agents in D.C.,Virginia, and Maryland agree that the impact on the housing market is enormous. Judy Lewis of theGeorgetown office of Pardoe/ERA explains that such an “influx of successful business people has dramaticconsequences on all aspects of the economy in this area and particu-larly on real estate.”

The growth of technology is transform-ing the landscape of Washington business. The Marriotts andthe Hechingers are the success stories of yesterday. And after losing control of his familybusiness, Herbert Haft is making his comeback in cyberspace with Healthquick.com, a deep-discounthealthcare business on the Internet. Even our sports teams are being taken over by techies. TedLeonsis, President and CEO of AOL Studios, is a majority owner of the Washington Capitals, and aminority owner of the Washington Wizards.

Leonsis and the many tech entrepreneurs flooding the area have been playing a big role in the real-estatemarket as well. Last year, Leonsis bought a home in McLean for $4,235,000. The10,000-square-foot Georgian-style home, designed and built by Walter Lynch, was SouthernAccents magazine’s annual show house.

Sue Huckaby of Weichert Realtors in McLean, the listing agent of Ted Leonsis’ new home, points outthat the tech-related businesses are not just bringing great wealth into the area, but also addi-tionalbusinesses. For example, law firms are mov-ing their flagship offices to Tyson’s Corner and thesurrounding areas, in order to service the “Silicon Valley of the East.” Even old guard Washington lawfirm Patton Boggs is opening a Tyson’s office.

The growth in the area is driving an already-active market crazy. Sue Huckaby works with builders inMcLean and Great Falls, who cannot seem to build the $1,000,000-plus houses fast enough to accommodatethe influx of young, wealthy buyers. Huckaby sold 26 homes in 1999 for over a million dollars, twice asmany as the year before.

Ted Leonsis is not the only AOL executive to have bought a home in Northern Virginia in the past year orso. McLean, Great Falls, Vienna, Oakton, and according to Huckaby, even Loudoun County are hot spots forthe techies.

Mayo Stuntz, the Chief Operating Officer of AOL’s Interactive Services Group, purchased athree-bedroom home at 416 Windover Avenue in Vienna for $225,000 in 1999.

In 1998, Jonathan Sacks, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AOL Interactive Services,purchased a five-bedroom home at 397 Patowmack Court in Great Falls for $775,000.

In 1998, Donn Davis, Chief Operating Officer of Interactive Properties, purchased 204 RiverBend Road in Great Falls, with five bedrooms, a pool, tennis court, and a wine cellar for $795,000. Marianne Prendergast of Pardoe/ERA listed the property.

Raymond Oglethorpe, President of Technologies for AOL, purchased his home at 11622 RollingMeadow Drive in Great Falls for $830,000 in 1999. Sue Huckaby of Weichert listed the property.

Lennert Leader, President of Investments for AOL, purchased 2400 Oakmont Court in Oaktonfor $1,610,000 in 1999. The French country manor-style home has 5 bedrooms, 2 libraries, and a pool.

Mark McFadden of Pardoe/ERA has a large market share of the dot.com purchasers. He explains thattheir business comes with very defined boundaries regarding confidentiality and discretion. At lastrecord, Mark Stavish, Senior Vice President of Resources, purchased a home in Sterling in 1995 for$424,000. And when we last checked, James F. Macguidwin, Senior Vice President, Controller andChief Accounting and Budget Officer, purchased 7725 Crossover Drive in McLean for $640,000 in1994. They may just be waiting for their stocks to vest, but we have a hunch they have indeed moved onunder a veil of secrecy!

At least every other $1,000,000+ sale seems to involve a dot.com personality. Theresa Shanahan and Herbert Hribar, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Verio, Inc., the world’s largestoperator of Web sites for businesses, recently purchased 7710 Carlton Place in McLean from Aprile and Eugene Renna. Mr. Renna is a Senior Vice President at Mobil Oil. The home soldfor $1,550,000. Caroline Rocco of Coldwell Banker Stevens represented Mr. and Mrs. Renna.

Mark Lowham and Joseph Ruzzo sold 6460 Kedleston Court in McLean for $1,975,000.Lowham’s business, the Meridian Group, has developed several projects in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and islooking over a new one in Whitefish, Montana. Mr. Lowham and Dr. Ruzzo bought 1312Ballantrae Farm Drive for $1,745,000, and have also built a home in Jackson Hole. Sue Huckaby of Weichert represented Mr. Lowham and Dr. Ruzzo in the sale and purchase of their McLean homes.

Richard and Nina Gilchrist were the purchasers of the Kedleston Court home. Gilchrist isthe President and CEO of Commonwealth Atlantic Properties, the developer of the proposed Potomac Yard,the 342-acre former rail yard located in both Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. The site is bound byJefferson Davis Highway and Crystal Drive, Four Mile Run, the rail system of the Metro, and the viaductaccess to Reagan Washington National Airport. The plan for the Arlington site includes 2.8 million squarefeet of office space, a 625-room hotel, approximately 1 million square feet of residential dwellings, and100,000 square feet of retail development.

2315 Bancroft Place, a four-bedroom Kalorama townhouse, was sold for $1,180,000. The seller, Eli Segal is the President of the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, a nonpartisan coalition of 100corporations who have committed to hiring welfare recipients.

Interior decorator Jane Cafritz sold her 1928 French Norman-style home in Massachusetts Heights at 3041 Woodland Drive for $1,995,000. The home features a front door and tower windows salvaged fromthe Hay Adams house. William F.X. Moody and Patrick Chauvin of Sotheby’s WashingtonFine Properties represented the seller.

4432 Edmunds Street in Wesley Heights was recently sold for $1,025,000. The seller, RichardHauser, is an attorney at Baker and Hostetler, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Washington LegalFoundation. Marc Fleisher of Long and Foster represented Mr. Hauser.

Mort Zuckerman, Editor of U.S. News and World Report, recently sold his house in ForestHills at 2806 Chesterfield Place. The Georgian Colonial, built in 1991 by Jim Gibson, has10,000 square feet of living space. The list price was $3,350,000.

4320 Garfield Street NW in Wesley Heights was recently sold for $1,550,000. The seller, AnnMclaughlin, former Secretary of Labor in the Reagan Administration, has been the Chairman ofthe Aspen Institute since 1996. She serves on the Boards of Nordstrom, Inc., Kellog Co., Host MarriottCorp., Fannie Mae, and most recently was named to the Board of Directors of Microsoft Corporation. Jean Smith of Remax/Capital Properties represented McLaughlin. The purchasers were JohnBurmeister and Nancy Lodge Burmeister.

In Georgetown, the Honorable and Mrs. Marc Leland sold 3108 P Street for $2,730,000. Jean Smith of Remax/Capital Properties and Jamie Peva and Michael Sullivan ofPardoe/ERA co-listed the property. Jamie Peva and Michael Sullivan were the selling agents.The purchasers are Brian Sherbicow and his wife Kelly Carr, Oliver Carr’s granddaughter.The six-bedroom house has a spacious garden and gourmet kitchen.