Scene: Week of June 24

June 23, 2013
Scene elsewhere: Four Points finishes Progression Place

Developers Four Points and Ellis Development Group marked the completion of a new mixed-use development in the Shaw neighborhood last week where the United Negro College Fund has relocated its headquarters. For UNCF, which provides operating funds to historically black colleges and universities, moving from Fairfax to Howard University’s neighborhood made all the sense in the world. But that wasn’t the original plan.

The project was originally intended for Radio One, the broadcast company Catherine Hughes founded in D.C. and wanted to return to the city from Lanham. But in 2010, Radio One opted to move to Silver Spring, leaving the developers with a project called “Broadcast Center One” that had no tenants. Steve Cassell, the Four Points developer who participated in the negotiations, says it’s still hard to talk about. “It’s extremely sensitive,” he said. Four Points renamed the project “Progression Place.”

— Jonathan O’Connell

Nearly 5,000 people from across the country descended on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center last week for the annual Points of Light conference on volunteering and service. The four-day event was packed with panel discussions, networking events and community service projects. “It’s the essence of our liberty to give back so freely,” said Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett at the opening event. Also in attendance was singer John Legend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, political analyst Donna Brazile, television host Bill O’Reilly and Karl Rove, former chief of staff for George W. Bush.

— Vanessa Small

Local businesses discussed trends in corporate social responsibility at a recent workshop hosted by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, held at the Hamilton Live. Board of Trade President James C. Dinegar moderated a panel that offered best practices in the emerging field. Panel members included Cliff Yee of Capital One, Jennifer Silberman of Hilton Worldwide and Barbara Krumsiek, chief executive and chairman of Calvert Investments. “Good is the new green,” said Yee, who added that corporate philanthropy “is now an expectation.”

— V.S.

The Silicon Valley law firm Cooley hosted a crowd of its closest friends to its new, larger D.C. digs in the historical Warner Building at 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW last week. If the surroundings looked familiar to legal hands, they should: Cooley moved into space once occupied by the now defunct law firm Howrey.

Among those welcoming visitors was chief executive Joe Conroy. Conroy, who joined the firm from Hunton & Williams in 1999, is based in New York but he maintains a home in Northern Virginia, where he once ran a software company. His grandfather is a former D.C. fire chief and lots of the rank and file are big fans — granddad established their pension system.

— Dan Beyers

Battle of the bands: Legal eagles strut their musical stuff on stage for charity

In the battle of the bands, The Unnamed Party reigned supreme.

The band, made up of lawyers from Paul Hastings, Hunton & Williams and Arent Fox, was among the 18 bands — all comprised of attorneys and legal staffers from dozens of the region’s law firms — that competed in last week’s 10th annual “Banding Together” battle of the law firm bands. The event is a fundraising effort by the Washington legal community to support Gifts for the Homeless, a District nonprofit that donates clothing to homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities.

The bands took the stage at the Black Cat on Thursday. The winning band is determined by who raises the most money from donations. The Unnamed Party pulled together $48,368.

Last year’s contest raised a total $275,000. This year topped that at $277,000, said Jim Villa, general counsel of District-based Colonial Parking and a member of the board of directors for Gifts for the Homeless.

Among the other musical acts: Sutherland Comfort (lawyers from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan ), which came in second place at $45,177; Attractive Nuisance (Steptoe & Johnson), which came in third with $20,000; The Soul Practitioners (Kirkland & Ellis, Dawson & Associates and Sullivan & Worcester); and Law & Disorder (Akin Gump).

— Catherine Ho

Open: EagleBank cuts ribbon in Alexandria

EagleBank celebrated the opening of its newest branch in Old Town Alexandria Wednesday night. The full-service location, the bank’s 18th branch, officially opened its doors in March.

Chief executive Ronald D. Paul and Vice Chairman Robert Pincus participated in the ribbon cutting for the new branch. About 150 people attended, including Alexandria City Council Member John Chapman and members of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.

The branch’s opening is part of a broader push by the Bethesda-based bank to expand into Northern Virginia, where the company currently has six locations.

— Abha Bhattarai

Spied: Google Glass a big hit at technology group’s dinner

The cocktail hour before the Tech­America Foundation’s annual dinner included the typical drinks, appetizers and badged attendees. But as they sipped their drinks, some attendees were testing out the wearable computer known as Google Glass, which TechAmerica named its breakthrough technology of the year. The group’s awards dinner, held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, also honored Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) as legislators of the year and Gen. Keith Alexander as government executive of the year.

— Marjorie Censer

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