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Isn't It Ironic: Weichert Realtors Getting the Boot

By Richard Leiby
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page D03

Everybody knows the Washington real estate market is tight. How tight? We're told that Weichert Realtors, a huge player in the market, is facing an eviction action against its Cleveland Park sales office because it failed to find replacement digs quickly enough after it was asked to move.

"Our landlord's lawyers and our lawyers are in the process of evicting them," said Joel Oxley, a senior vice president for the Bonneville-owned radio stations that share the building with Weichert at 3400 Idaho Ave. NW. "Now they're squatting."

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Bonneville, corporate parent of WTOP, Classical 103.5, Z104 and WFED, renegotiated a long-term lease last year, he says. Weichert was put on notice that Bonneville would be expanding and needed the space by Feb. 1, he says, then received a one-month extension.

The realty firm wouldn't comment on the eviction action but a spokeswoman, Lynda Beighley, told us: "Since we were notified of the owner's plans for the building we've been working diligently to find a new location. We have signed a lease to move our office, which we expect to do by June 1."

Said Oxley: "Obviously commercial real estate is very tight and it's hard to find a place. There's definitely irony here, but the bottom line is that it's an irony that's hurting us. We had contractors and demolition all set up. We're left holding the bag."

A New Flyer Is Ready for Takeoff

• Sleek, hipper-than-thou restaurant. "First-class" young women. Men, too. Sugary cocktails with names like "flyer-tini." It all can only mean one more magazine launch party, this time for Washington Flyer.

Actually it was the relaunch party for the 17-year-old publication. The newly redesigned mag, distributed free at Dulles and Reagan airports, held its aviation-focused fete last week at Palette downtown. Women dressed as flight attendants greeted the 300 partiers and gave them boarding passes -- which represented a chance to win one of 40 free roundtrip tickets from Independence Air. There were shoe shiners and a massage corner, and we actually saw a woman directing the crowd with one of those orange glow sticks you see on runways.

Jayne Sandman, Washington Flyer's senior editor, tells us the publication will serve as both a travel and city mag, recommending "the hottest restaurants, shops and neighborhoods" locally and globally, while spotlighting "first-class events and people." (But of course: That's the moneyed market three soon-to-launch Washington glossies also covet.)

So who got those free flights? We hear the winners included Miriam Pollin, niece of developer Abe Pollin, and National Air and Space Museum spokesman Walton Ferrell -- jet-setters indeed.

Annals Of Puffery

"They sold over 40 products garnering $500 million in sales over 10 years. They pioneered the use of credit cards and 800-numbers on television. At one point, they spent more on television ad buys than Coca-Cola and a little less than AT&T.

"BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! They transcended success and turned a household product into a genuine cultural icon. It became the most memorable product ever promoted on TV: Ginsu® Knives! Today, nearly 20 years after the commercials last aired, Ginsu® Knives are one of the most mentioned and well known products in history -- commercials are mimicked by Gallagher; routines are based on Ginsu® by Jerry Seinfeld, Johnny Carson, Joe Piscopo, John Belushi, Phil Hartman and Dan Aykroyd; even Tony Soprano has talked about Ginsu®.

"Meet THE GINSU GUYS™, Barry Becher and Edward Valenti! They share their story of success, their mistakes along the way and most importantly the life and business lessons anyone can learn from Ginsu® in 'The Wisdom Of Ginsu®: Carve Yourself a Piece of the American Dream' (Career Press, March 31, 2005)."


• It's no fun knowing your mom had a sizzling sex life, says CNN news hunk Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt. "I used to think there was nothing worse than imagining your own parents having sex. I was wrong. You know what's worse? Learning your parents' sex life is more interesting than your own," he writes in the April issue of Details magazine. Vanderbilt, 81, published a kiss-and-tell memoir last fall detailing her liaisons and romances with famous figures such as Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Howard Hughes. "By the time she was 18, she'd had romances with some of the most well-known people in the world," Cooper writes in his monthly column. "When I was 18, I was still watching late-night public-access TV and popping zits."

• Book value: A collection of books owned by the late broadcaster Howard K. Smith fetched far more at auction than expected. One lot -- signed books by John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon from when Smith moderated the first presidential debate in the '60 campaign -- was estimated to sell for $4,000 and instead brought about $50,000. Overall, the collection from the library of Smith's Bethesda home brought $273,980 earlier this month, says Quinn's Auction Galleries in Falls Church.

With Anne Schroeder

© 2005 The Washington Post Company