Capital Buzz: Rescuing furniture from the landfill

October 9, 2011

John Kane, the chief executive of Office Movers, the biggest company of its kind in the United States, has found a place for excess office furniture that was headed for the landfill.

He is starting the Kane Furniture Bank.

The bank offers free surplus furniture — ranging from chairs and desks to water coolers and basketball hoops — to schools, charities and religious organizations.

“I thought it was a nice way to provide them the furniture they would like to have but have been unable to buy on their own,” Kane said.

Kane has sent out fliers to 500 nonprofits.

Organizations are not allowed to resell the furniture. Instead, they must use it to upgrade their own offices, meeting rooms and facilities.

The Kane Furniture Bank is open the second Saturday of the month, from 9 a.m. to noon, in a corner of the 58,000-square-foot Office Movers warehouse at 1008 Westmore Ave., Rockville.

All in the family

Speaking of the Kanes, John’s better half, Mary Kane, is leaving her job at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Kane, 49, will become president and chief executive of Sister Cities Internationa l , a nonprofit that helps build cultural and economic relationships between cities, counties and states in the U.S. and abroad.

Kane, who was recruited for the new job, is a former prosecutor in Montgomery County and served as Maryland secretary of state under the administration of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich. She ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Maryland last year.

“This is part of what I did as secretary of state for Maryland,” said Kane.

She starts Oct. 24.


Letter from Europe

EastBanc’s Anthony Lanier e-mails us from Munich, where he was attending Expo Real, Europe’s largest real estate fair, having arrived a day early to sneak in a visit to Oktoberfest as one of 7 million visitors. While Munich’s beerfest did not demonstrate any economic slowdown, the fair had plenty of people concerned about the economic data, reports Lanier. Many of them were from the United States and Washington, including Warren Dahlstrom of C olliers Internationa l , Nicholas Pappas of Eastdil Secured and E ric Berkman of Cushman & Wakefiel d .

“Many attendees came to check how the real estate capital markets were handling the European debt crisis, assuming to find additional capital sources to jump into the dollar, while the Europeans were wondering how the U.S. was going to handle their significant issues,” the Georgetown real estate and technology mogul said in an e-mail.

The prevailing wisdom: real estate capital markets are in for a change.

The Buzz Hears :

Comcast SportsNet is working on a profile of Kevin Plank, the founder and chief executive of Baltimore-based Under Armour. The documentary has been under way for several weeks, we hear, and includes interviews with local businesspeople such as Monumental Sports & Entertainment vice chairman Raul Fer nandez .

It is for the show “ My Life 365 with Ron T hompson and is supposed to air in the next few weeks.

Past subjects have included Grant Hill , Ted Leonsis , Dominique Dawe s and Art Monk .

The Capital Hilton on 16th and K Streets in NW will once again have a restaurant on premise when 160-seat North Gate Grill opens in the space where Twigs used to be. The name reflects the proximity to the north gate of the White House down the street. It starts serving breakfast and lunch in late October and dinner in November.

Washington commercial real estate company C assidy Turley has acquired Boston-based FHO Partners. The new name will be Cassidy Turley FHO. Cassidy president Joseph Stettinius Jr. said he hopes the deal builds on the firm’s current relationships in Beantown. “Many of our clients in D.C. are either from or active in Boston,” he said.

Farragut Mezzanine Partners III , Phil McNeill s private equity fund, raised $16.7 million, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The upper limit is $50 million to $75 million. McNeill, formerly of Allied Capital, is now likely on the hunt for investments.

Bladensburg-based concrete company Ernest Maier has expanded from traditional concrete into a permeable product called Pavedrain, which it installed on the parking lot at the Bladensburg town hall. Ernest Maier chief executive Brendan Quinn expects the new product’s licensing, royalties and sales will add $500,000 in revenue this year, growing to $15 million in 2012.

Snap shot

Theo Adamstein , local photography legend and founder of FotoDC, which produces FotoWeek DC, snared the former Borders Bookstore and Bank of America space at 1800 L St. NW to feature winning photos from the international competition, lectures and a FotoBook store.

He made the deal for the temporary space with property owner Somerset Partners and Mike Howard of Rappaport Cos .

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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