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The hard-to-read-online Northwest Current has a bit of a bomb this week: Western Development’s Herb Miller, who developed the Shops at Georgetown Park back in the 1980s and apparently was going to team with new owner Angelo, Gordon & Co. to reposition the property after Western defaulted on its loan, has been pushed out of the deal altogether.
A “source close to the deal” tells the Current that Angelo, Gordon, a New York-based private equity firm, has brought on Vornado—which came in second at the foreclosure auction for the note on Georgetown Park—to join the enterprise in Western’s place. Apparently, investors were uncomfortable with Miller’s participation. But some Georgetowners are uncomfortable with the participation of Vornado, another New York-based company that doesn’t have any mall projects in the District. The Current:
“The source also predicted that the ‘very aggressive company culture’ at Vornado Realty Trust would alienate retailers and Georgetowners and that the company would terminate leases soon in anticipation of pushing a redevelopment plan quickly through Georgetown’s multi-layered design-review process. ‘They don’t understand Georgetown,’ the source said.”
Perhaps, but those investors may have figured that Miller didn’t understand Georgetown well enough to keep the mall in the first place.
Anyway, this would appear to be the other shoe to Jonathan O’Connell‘s news earlier this week that Miller is done with his development career and looking for a spot in the Vince Gray administration, specifically as deputy mayor for planning and economic development (goodness knows the job is up for grabs, since Valerie Santos is, by all accounts, on the way out). Seems less likely that Miller would have offered himself up for public service if he still had a job redeveloping the Mall.