The former Hamilton Hotel at 14th and K streets NW is being converted into an office building. Hamilton Associates Limited Partnership, with which Carl and Bernard Gewirz are associated, has a 99-year lease on the property - for $70,000 annually.

Four older house have been razed in Friendship Heights, whose members include Milton Barlow and Time Edwards, has a permit to begin a four-story office building. The down-zoned site was once being eyed as location for a B. Altman store. George Hyman Constructin will build the 95,000-square-foot building, which was designed by the Vlastimil Koubek architectural firm.

At the annual convention of the National Association of Realtors last year in Miami Beach, predictions about 1978's housing starts ranged from 1.7 to 2.1 million. At the time, Robert C. Koon, director of the Veterans Administration's loan guaranty program, said he expected 2 million units to be started. When the totals are compiled for this year, his forecast is likely to be closest to the actual number, which is expected to be in excess of 1.9 million. Next week the 1978 convention of NAR gets going in Honolulu, where a record attendance of more than 27,000 is anticipated. [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Koon will not be among those on my program. Koon's prediction for 1979 housing starts? "It's much more difficult this time and I've really not made a guesstimate," he said.

Twenty shops are centered around a skylighted atrium court at the new Cabin John Mall created by Carl M. Freeman Associates Inc. at Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane in upper Bethesda. Neo-Potomac, if you will. Office suites overlook the court from a second level. Unobtrusive and located near Freeman's new Inverness upper-priced town houses, the Cabin John Mall is located behind a conventional strip shopping center that Freeman built 10 years ago. Eighty percent of the new commercial space was reported leased before the recent opening.