Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Real Estate News for December 2003
by Mary K. Mewborn

The District

When David Trachtenberg , president of StarBand Communications and decorator Rick Wilson of Rick Wilson Designs purchased 2336 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. three years ago from the estate of law professor and longtime-owner Irving Panzer, they paid $912,500. Now, the townhouse which was one of the first homes ever built above Sheridan Circle , has been handsomely renovated and sold for $1.4 million. The new owner is Nels B. Olson , managing director of Korn/Ferry International, the world's leading executive search firm with more than 80 offices in 36 countries.

Victor Kamber , president and founder of The Kamber Group (TKG), one of the nation's largest independently owned communications consulting and public relations firms, has purchased 4527 29th Street, N.W . Prior to starting TKG in 1980, Kamber worked with the Building and Construction Trades Department and was director of the AFL-CIO Task Force on Labor Law Reform. He is the author of “Giving Up on Democracy: Why Term Limits Are Bad for America ”, and co-author of “Are You a Conservative or a Liberal?” He also serves on the board of directors for Food and Friends, which provides meals for homebound victims of AIDS. Kamber paid $825,000 for his new residence located just across Albermarle Street, N.W. from Soapstone Valley Park . The four-bedroom brick house with a pool and cabana had previously belonged to Mrs. Arthur Zinnamon.

Coldwell Banker's Nancy Taylor Bubes was the listing agent for 3620 Prospect Street, N.W. in Georgetown . The two-bedroom Federal rowhouse with two and a half baths has been renovated to perfection with floor to ceiling windows affording views of the Potomac River from every level. The sellers were Michael and Susan Lindsay of the Lindsay Cadillac family. The buyers, who paid $1,490,000, are Peter Minshall, who is in commercial real estate, and his wife, Susan.


The totally renovated 1940's Georgian-style house at 4711 De Russey Parkway was sold by Kerry Dorsey Toland, Fox Channel Five's national sales manager. Toland bought the three-bedroom home with two and a half baths for $449,000 in 2000. She sold it last month for $799,000 to Mark Mendelson and Elise Becker, who recently arrived from New York . The buyers were represented by Becky Harris of W. C. & A. N. Miller, the 91-year old real estate company that developed and built the Washington area communities of Spring Valley, Sumner, Potomac Falls and Willard's Crest.


Washington Fine Properties, a Sotheby's International affiliate, is also the company handling the sale of historic Hickory Hill, Ethel Kennedy 's home for the last 46 years. The antebellum estate located on nearly six acres at 1147 Chain Bridge Road in McLean was also owned by John and Jacqueline Kennedy for a short time in the early 1950's and has been priced at $25 million. Those in the know predict the Kennedy legacy will be a significant draw for prospective buyers and that the Langley Farms estate will likely sell for at least $20 million. Residents of the prestigious neighborhood are hoping the buyer will not be a developer intent on dividing the property that boasts two swimming pools, paddocks and stables and lighted tennis courts.

In McLean , 7409 Georgetown Pike was expected to go to settlement last week at the asking price of $2,250,000. Unfortunately for the owner Vijay Taneja, the deal fell through. Taneja of Elite Entertainment and Financial Mortgage Inc. is a broker by day and a Bollywood promoter by night, bringing Bombay 's celebrities to American and Indian expatriate audiences. Taneja built the 8,000 square foot, five-bedroom brick house specifically to sell. The stunning three-story custom colonial sits on a private wooded lot within easy reach of the District and boasts a master bedroom with a terrace, a sitting room, a stone fireplace, and his and her baths. Penny Yerks is the listing agent for the property that also features an impressive bar and recreation room.

Yerks currently has the sale of 6620 Fletcher Lane pending with an asking price of $1,185,000. The striking brick five-bedroom rambler was built in 1962 and is situated in the heart of McLean on over an acre of fenced grounds with a tennis court and large deck. Its formal living and dining rooms have walls of windows and trey ceilings. The master bedroom suite has a sitting room and charming master bath. The lower level contains both a rec. room and an expansive family room with a bar and pub area. The property was most recently the residence of David Pommering . The name of the prospective buyer has yet to be released.

Also built in 1962, 6821 Cloisters Drive is under contract. This six-bedroom brick colonial in a convenient McLean location is sited on nearly a half-acre lot with a heated swimming pool and large patio area. The house features a marble foyer, sunken living room, gourmet kitchen and a family room with vaulted ceilings, a window seat, wood burning brick fireplace and new wall to wall carpeting. The seller is Dr. Allison Yates , director of the Food and Nutrition Board for the Food and Drug Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services Center For Food Safety and Nutrition. Dr. Yates is asking $899,000 for the property with a settlement date set for January. She will be represented at the closing by Weichert realtor Penny Yerks.

Also in McLean , 9163 Old Dominion Drive is about to change hands. Owner Philip Lepore, who retired from Raytheon and has moved to California , is expected to receive $1,550,000 for his French country chateau built in 1996 in Potomac Ridge overlooking Great Falls Park . The exquisite home is luxuriously appointed with inlaid marble floors and gracefully arched doorways. There is a romantic Romeo & Juliet balcony off the master suite, a secluded guest suite with a separate entrance, chef's kitchen, three fireplaces, four full baths, and a circular driveway with a central fountain and a three-car garage. The estate affords winter views of the Potomac River . Caroline Rocco was the listing agent. The buyer Thomas J. Cirrito , co-founder of Telco Communications Group and former president of Telco's consumer division. When Telco was acquired by Excel Communications for $1.2 billion in 1997, Cirrito left with $145 million in cash and Excel stock. He is now chairman of the board of PowerTrust.com, an Internet-based energy company in Reston . In addition, he serves as chairman of the board of Digital Commerce Corp. (DCC) which was founded in 1995 to provide governments with e-commerce solutions.

The custom colonial built by Mitchell, Best & Visnic at 870 Alvermar Ridge Drive in McLean has been sold in trust for $2,850,000 to Charles and Susan Mathews . As is typical of Visnic's award winning homes, this one displays superb craftsmanship and an open floor plan. It has seven bedrooms, seven full baths, a gourmet kitchen, a paneled library, a rec room, a home theater and an exercise room, all superbly designed and architecturally appealing.

Number 8612 Old Dominion Drive has been sold for $2.4 million by Catherine Mary and Muhammad Osman Siddique , the former U.S. ambassador to the South Pacific nations of Fiji , Nauru , Tonga and Tuvalu . Mr. Osman Siddique, who was nominated by President Clinton in May of 1999 and confirmed by the Senate that August, is the first Muslim to represent the United States as an ambassador and the first American ambassador to take the oath of office with his hand on the Holy Koran. Prior to his diplomatic tour of duty he was president and CEO of ITI/Travelogue, Inc., a corporate travel management company he founded in 1976. Mr. Osman Siddique was born in Dhaka , Bangladesh , then in East Pakistan, and received an MBA from Indiana University in 1974. The family's former residence is a unique contemporary home built in 1983 and designed by architect Joseph Boggs with cascading walls of glass, three kitchens, a swimming pool, tennis court, and an apartment over the garage. The new owners are Svetlana and Steve Hetrick who is in the mortgage business.

Washington Wizard's swingman Jerry Stackhouse has purchased 1305 Ballantrae Farm Drive in McLean . The six-foot-six basketball star, who turned 29 last month, was formerly with the Philadelphia 76-ers and the Detroit Pistons. In 2002 he was traded to the Wizards and is under contract to be paid $33 million over the next four years. Despite the fact that he has been largely unable to play since knee surgery in late October, Stackhouse is considered a team leader and has often been compared to Michael Jordan, a fellow former North Carolina Tarheel and Wizard wonderman. Stackhouse paid $3,200,000 for his new house with ten-foot ceilings, marble foyer, seven bedrooms and sweeping circular drive. The sellers were Virginia attorney George J. Shapiro and his wife Deborah who purchased the estate three years ago from David L. and Patricia I. Burney for $2,500,000.

The new owners of 7822 Swinks Mill Court in McLean are Scott D. Rued and his wife Leah J. Rued . Scott Rued joined Thayer Capital Partners as a managing partner earlier this year. At the same time, Rick Rickertsen stepped down from his position as managing partner and COO and now serves the firm as a senior advisor. Before joining Thayer, Mr. Rued was the co-founder, president and CEO of Hidden Creek Industries (HCI). Prior to HCI, he was with Arthur Andersen & Co. and was executive vice president and CFO of Xerxes Corporation and Affiliates, a group of manufacturing, banking and hospitality companies based in Minneapolis . The Rueds paid $3,300,000 for their new 12,000 square-foot house with five bedrooms, six full and two half baths, a three-story entrance foyer, a billiard room with a wet bar, a media room, a sauna and steam room, an in-law suite with a kitchen, and a fifty-foot swimming pool with three waterfalls situated next to a hot tub on a spacious patio with a millstone fountain. The sellers were Hilary C. and Michael S. O'Donnell.

In the November issue Washington LIfe incorrectly identified Mary Drysdale as the former resident of 76 Kalorama Circle .  Ms. Drysdale resides at 78 Kalorama Circle and has put her home on the market with Washington Fine Properties for $3.9 million.


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