Early Briefing: Robert Johnson's New Hotel Fund

* Washington entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson yesterday announced he has raised $1.2 billion for his third private-equity fund that invests in the hotel industry.

The new fund, known as RLJ Real Estate Fund III, will focus primarily on lodging. But Johnson said he will expand it to include acquisition and development deals in the ailing commercial real estate sector. See story.

* Clark Realty Capital has emerged as the favorite among three development teams competing to develop Poplar Point, according to a Metro story today. The company's plan includes a three-block "deck" that would be built over Interstate 295 so that residents could walk from historic Anacostia to the new development, an environmental museum and business hub, a charter school and an optional soccer stadium.

Clark got the biggest reaction from the crowd of 300 who attended the public unveiling of the plans last month at Birney Elementary School. And of the 52 votes registered in the online poll at the Anacostianow Web site, 38 have gone to Clark. The Fenty administration narrowed the competition to Clark, Forest City and a joint effort from Archstone Smith and Madison Marquette. A winner could be announced next week, administration officials said.

* Gannett of McLean named Chris Saridakis chief digital officer to oversee the expansion of Internet operations at the company's daily newspapers and local broadcast TV stations. Saridakis has been chief executive of PointRoll, an online advertising company, since its acquisition by Gannett in 2005.

Saridakis will become a member of the company's management committee and report to chief executive Craig Dubow. See press release.

By Dan Beyers  |  January 15, 2008; 6:53 AM ET
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