Trumps pick Bethesda’s Streetsense to manage retail at planned Old Post Office hotel


The food court area inside The Old Post Office Pavilion. (Tracy A. Woodward/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka have chosen Streetsense, an upstart local real estate and design firm, to represent them in selecting restaurants and retailers for the luxury hotel they plan at the Old Post Office Pavilion.

Streetsense, with expertise in retail design, strategy, branding and leasing, has been rapidly growing while playing a role in many of the deals that brought dozens of new restaurants and shops to the Washington area in recent years.

Led by area natives Marc Ratner, Guy Silverman, Herb Heiserman and Jeff Pollak, the firm is to also give the Trumps an insight into the local marketplace and the pool of local shop owners and restaurateurs they could consider matching with big-name retailers and chefs with whom the Trumps already have relationships in New York and elsewhere.

The Trump Organization is planning a 261-room luxury hotel for the Old Post Office, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and aren’t expected to gain control of the building until 2014. Ivanka Trump said she had been fielding so many inquiries from interested restaurants and retailers that she needed help handling the proposals.

“We are getting so much pro-active interest, from some of the world’s best restaurants and most recognized luxury retailers that we felt it was time to bring someone on board to help us consider our options,” she said.

Streetsense, she said, “has a really good sense” of the needs of gourmet restaurants and high-end retailers in Washington and elsewhere.

Trump said she wanted someone with expertise in the Washington market, and called District developer Douglas Jemal as well as Ashkenazy Acquisition, which manages retail leasing at Union Station, for insight. Streetsense worked with Jemal to open a retail-like concept for LivingSocial on F Street NW in the Penn Quarter neighborhood and is partnering with Ashkenazy on leasing at Union Station. Both recommended Streetsense, Trump said.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Streetsense said it prides itself on being able to take a retail idea from the initial concept to opening. In addition to leasing brokers, the firm’s 83-person staff includes architects, designers and brand management specialists who provide Web site design for some clients and manage the social media accounts for others.

“We created a company that has the ability to take an owner through zoning and design and strategy and execution. It’s full-service in a design-through-execution, as opposed to management, kind of way,” Streetsense’s Pollak said.

Pollak said the Old Post Office project had a “very elegant and very luxury focus.” Names such as Tiffany & Co. and chef Jean Georges are partners with the Trumps in other properties.

Pollak said he began receiving inquiries before his deal with the Trumps was signed. “We’ve had an enormous response reaching out to us even before we’re getting started,” he said.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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