Browsing articles tagged with " Washington DC"
Feb 28, 2012
wilsonbeh

D.C.’s Old Post Office Pavilion redevelopment: Trump moves in four blocks from the White House

Source: CNN Money 

The Donald won’t be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But he is taking over an historic building four blocks away.

Built in 1892-99, it is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is the last major example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture to be constructed in the District of Columbia.

The Trump Organization has been named the preferred team to redevelop the Old Post Office building and annex located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue by the the General Services Administration. The Trump Organization has committed to investing $200 million towards the renovation.

#Pennsylvania Avenue/America's Main St, the street that joins The White House to The Capitol Building.

Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate magnate and television star who flirted to run for President last year before declining to enter the race, has proposed turning the building into a luxury hotel with more than 250 rooms, along with world renowned restaurants, a spa, and conference facilities.

Its 315 ft (96 m)-high clocktower makes the building the largest commercial building and the third tallest structure in Washington, D.C.

Current tenants of the building include the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. They’ll all be relocated while negotiations are held on redeveloping the building in a way that maintains the historic features of the 19th century building and maximizes future revenues to the federal government.

Visitors can also view the Bells of Congress, replicas of those at Westminster Abbey and given by the Ditchley Foundation to the United States in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the end of the Revolutionary War.

The Trump Organization plan will preserve the historic nature of the building and improve the vitality of Pennsylvania Avenue,” said Robert Peck, GSA’s commissioner of the Public Buildings Service “This redevelopment represents good business sense on behalf of the American taxpayer, the Federal Government and the District of Columbia.”

Assuming negotiations between Trump and GSA are successful, he will get a chance to start redeveloping the building starting in 2014. It is expected to to open as a hotel in 2016.

Ivanka Trump in the building this morning

Oct 15, 2011
wilsonbeh

Georgetown Cupcakes at DC

One preference I put in Global UGRAD Program application was to study at urban area.  This is because I simply love to see city planning and learn how the quality of a city affects standard of living.

When I first got to know I’m placed in Marymount University at Arlington, Virginia; I was like… where the hell is this?

But after few weeks staying here, I feel so grateful to be here.

Yes, Arlington was voted as the no. 2 best city in America by Bloomberg Businessweek.

It is not hard to understand why.

It is a well-planned city at Washington Metropolitan Area with efficient public transportation.

Of course, Washington DC is not New York City but your weekend can never be boring here.

It is so close to the nation’s capital in a way you just have to walk across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn Metro station (Arlington) to reach M Street, Georgetown.

Malaysian at Georgetown yo.

I believe they are many Malaysians at Georgetown area too.

For example, the daughter of Malaysia’s Prime Minister had just graduated from Georgetown University – a very prestigious and oldest Catholic University in the US.

Georgetown is a high-class, thriving business neighborhood located at Northwest quadrant of Washington DC.

Mostly people refer Georgetown to M Street – a major street at downtown with a lot of upscale shopping and fine dining restaurants along its cobblestone street.

It’s just like the “Orchard Road” or “Jalan Bukit Bintang” of DC.

Upscale shopping? You name it you find it.

Distance away it’s the Georgetown Waterfront Park along Potamac River where you can enjoy the sea breeze.

 And there is a place you must stop by at M Street – the famous Georgetown Cupcakes.

Georgetown Cupcakes was opened by sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne at 2008. Katherine was actually a graduate from Marymount University.

If you go after 8pm, it’s gonna be a long line. So, it’s advisable to go there as early as possible.

See, how excited Austin, Joey, Vincent were to choose the cupcakes they like!

By just selling cupcakes, they made it to the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Their book is going to publish on November 8. Besides, their successful story of running this small business was filmed at a reality 6 parts series titled “DC Cupcakes”.

Georgetown Cupcake offers 18 flavors daily including multiple varieties of chocolate, vanilla and red velvet that are available each day.

The cupcakes are baked throughout the day at the shop and specially-sourced ingredients such as cocoa from France and vanilla from Madagascar are used.

It costs $2.75 each – erm… it’s acceptable for this yummy cupcake. I’ve tried more expensive cupcakes but they are not as delicious as this.

The lovely red velvet cupcake – the top seller among all flavors.

Guess how many cupcakes they sell daily?

5,000.

Yes, 5,000.

The cupcakes are packed in a gift box and a Gucci-like paper shopping bag. From far, you would think someone is holding some expensive shopping bags.

What a good packaging, huh?

I have tried a number of different cupcakes at US. But so far this is the best I have ever tasted.

Appreciation from the crew of Air Force One… erm… wait a minute… does this mean President Obama tasted it as well?

Sep 5, 2011
wilsonbeh

Life in the USA

I hate having to use the first person. Nearly everything I’ve done in my life has been accomplished with other people. Yet when when you write a post like this, you’re forced to use the narrative “I” when it’s really the “we” that counts” – Jack Welch, CEO of GE 1981 – 2001.

I bought Jack’s 2nd hand, well maintained hardcover biography at Unique Store at $1.5 (RM4.50) few hours ago. The above sentence is written at the prologue. I can’t agree more with Jack – who hailed as the greatest business leader in century by Fortune.

I am very grateful to be able to come to US and experience a taste of different cultures under Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. But I can never make it without the support and help from seniors, lecturers, friends and family. I remember and thankful for that.

Global Undergraduate Exchange Program is a program funded by US Department of States. More than 100 students across the globe were chosen to study for 1 or 2 semesters in different universities in US.

This program has been running in Malaysia since 2008 and I’m the 4th batch of Global UGRADers Malaysia with another 7 bright student leaders.

Global UGRAD Program is administered by World Learning – which works directly with the State Department. In Malaysia, MACEE (Malaysian American Commission on Educational Exchange) is fully responsible for the interview and selection process.

So here I’m am – Arlington, Virginia state!

Virginia is often nicknamed as “Mother of Presidents” after 8 US Presidents born here.

Arlington where I live is a county with a population of 200,000.

Arlington is ranked among the top counties with highest median household incomes and CNN Money ranked it 7th in US in its listing of “Best Places for the Riches and Single”. The smart urban growth concept has been proven successful in Arlington.

Due to its close proximity to Washington DC, Arlington is headquarters to many departments and agencies including The Pentagon, the Department of Defence, Drug Enforcement Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and etc.

Arlington is like Petaling Jaya while Washington DC is Kuala Lumpur. Arlington is in Washington Metropolitan Area (the concept is like Klang Valley or Greater KL) which has a population of 5.6 millions together with Maryland and few other principle cities.

Washington Metropolitan Area is the 7th largest metropolitan area in US. As a national’s capital, it is the most educated and by some measures the most affluent metropolitan area in US.

I always have a passion in urban planning and cities. It is so great to be in the location where I can go anywhere in the area by subway.

The Metro Subway started operating since 1976 so some of the stations are very old. It is the 2nd busiest subway after New York City.

Due to its efficiency and good connection, I can easily go to DC core zone with a few stops. The university shuttle runs every 20 minute from main campus to Ballston MU Station the orange line.

My host university is Marmount Univeristy – a private, catholic university with about 5,000 students. The campus is not big but it has almost everything. Basically you can explore the entire campus by not more than 20 minutes walk.

Because it is small, everyone knows everyone in the campus – applies to senior year (final year) students!

I’m the 1st Malaysian student to study here! In fact, I have not met any Malaysian after spending more than 2 weeks in DC areas. International Student Service officer Aline promised to connect me with Malaysia Embassy. According to her, Malaysia Embassy is very active in events.

Only at here I can truly understand the meaning of being independent.

Besides, this experience opens up my mind broadly – the world is so large so don’t keep yourself in just one circle.

Our skin colors might be different, white black or yellow; but to me there is only one race in this world: The Human Race.  

I stayed on Global Thinker Residential Community at Gerard Hall. I share a room with my lovely roommate, Vincent who is from Pennsylvania.

I can safely say that this floors houses some of the most interesting characters from all around the world; from US, South America, Africa, Middle East and also few from Asia. All are very friendly, helpful and nice!

President of Marymount University, Dr. Matthew Shank is also a very friendly and down to earth leader. He just arrived to this campus few months and I believe MU can achieve greater heights under his leaderships.

He welcomed Tran (Global UGRADer from Hanoi) and me to join this community!

One thing I really like about this campus is its cafeteria.

It’s just like a restaurant with nice music in the air! This dining hall is actually run by Sodexo, one of the largest food services in the world which based in France.

It’s like hotel buffet style. You can take whatever you like if you have a full meal plan: from sushi, pizza, pasta, chicken, beef, salad, fruits, sandwiches to desserts! The main dish changes every day and so far I have not finished trying the foods!

Coffee, chocolate or coke? Which C you want?

This is Marymount Univeristy Business School at Ballston the city area. I have to take a shuttle which runs every 20 min to here. My Investment, International Finance and Financial Management classes are conducted here.

Ballston area at Arlington, view outside from my business school.

I have gone to 3 malls so far – Ballston Mall, Pentagon City Mall and Tysons Corner. The later is the best but the bad thing metro line doesn’t reach there.

Stuffs in US are really cheap if you work and earn here. If you convert to Ringgit everything is still expensive unless during big sales!

If you ask me how’s life in US? I will say it’s great. I love Washington DC this city so much – a young city yet so rich in history, cultures and politics.

People here are very friendly and helpful. Ask if you don’t know and they will help.

Classes here are really different as in USM. We might use the same textbooks but the teaching method here focuses more in critical thinking than memorizing. Lecturers distribute latest news from Yahoo Finance and encouraged us to discuss and analyze.

And, there is no bureaucracy. My class registration was done in few minutes and no flaws. Student emails and online portal are utilized effectively.

However, the more I find out the better sides of US, the more I think Malaysia very blessed.

For example we don’t have Hurricane Irene. At the time I’m writing this my Facebook wall is full with Indonesia’s earthquake tremors in Penang – but we are still very safe.

Malaysia has so much opportunities and if we can do it right, it can be one of the greatest nation too.

Phases of cultural adaption – seriously I don’t know which phase I’m in – it’s like a mixture of honeymoon, cultural shock and adjustment.

I do miss Malaysia a lot.  But hey, people around me are warm, this city is so exciting and I only have 8 months plus here! This is a lifetime opportunity and I gonna learn the mot of it… with an open heart =)

Just like what Khai Shing the senior UGRADer said:” Hope you all can stay in the honeymoon period for all the days in US!”

So I will try to stay in the honeymoon period like the new married couples! Haha!

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