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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: officespace
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55 M ('09)
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400 M ('07)
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This was referenced in the flurry of stories on the company a few weeks ago, but Monument Realty has now officially announced that they have signed a 10-year 50,000-square-foot lease with the Federal Aviation Administration at 55 M Street, the building on top of the Navy Yard Metro station just north of Nationals Park. With this lease, DDOT's 150,000-square-foot lease signed last fall, and two other smaller tenants, the 275,000-square-foot building is now 85 percent leased, with only three smaller office suites remaining (as well as all of the building's ground-floor retail space).
The press release says that the FAA is expected to move into their new spaces on the 8th and 9th floors in April, and that DDOT is expected to complete its move to the fourth through seventh floors during the second quarter of the year.
As for the rest of the Monument Half Street project, which as designed includes a 200-room hotel and 332 residential units and plenty of ground-floor retail to the south of 55 M, the press release quotes executive vice president Douglas Olson as saying that they are"actively working to move forward with Monument's next phase of Half Street."
 

I keep saying I'm never going to take any more photos of politicians at microphones, but who can resist them slinging sledgehammers? This morning there was a brief ceremony officially kicking off the redevelopment of 225 Virginia Avenue, turning what was the old Washington Star building and then Washington Post printing plant into 200 I, a 320,000-square-foot LEED Gold office building housing three city agencies. Here's a slew of photos, not only of the ceremony but also a few images from inside the building, as well as two renderings of what the lobby will look like when it's completed.
Though the sun was out, the assembled guests (and gate-crashers!) probably wished this little shindig had been held yesterday, when it was about 25 degrees warmer. But at least it made for a quick event, which didn't seem to bother anyone too much.
The renovation is expected to be complete and tenants moved in by the second quarter of 2012. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Child and Family Services Agency will all be occupying the building, and there may also be some "incubator retail space" on the ground floor's southwest corner. There will also be an art gallery in the new lobby that will open out onto I Street and Canal Park, showcasing works from the Arts and Humanities commission's collection. There will also be 180ish parking spaces on site, some in the building's basement but about 100 of them in a two-level parking deck on the 3rd Street side of the building (where the current surface lot is). And the loading dock will now be just west of 3rd, on Virginia.
The building was bought by the city for $85 million in 2009, and then leased it to StonebridgeCarras in a 20-year lease/leaseback agreement to fund the construction. You can check out my 225 Virginia project page for lots (and lots!) of background on this building, though the page isn't quite up-to-date with today's stuff. Yet.
 

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) came out with stories this week chronicling the rise and fall and now re-rise of Monument Realty. They both describe Monument's high-flying ways during the real estate bubble of the early 2000s with "high-risk, high-return deals and an aggressive, cowboylike approach to development that rubbed the old guard the wrong way," followed by their near dissolution thanks to the collapse of their backer, Lehman Brothers. But thanks to some new deals around the region with different financing partners, Monument appears to be rebounding.
There's not been an announcement from Monument that I've seen, but the WBJ article says that Monument has signed the Federal Aviation Administration to a 55,000-square-foot lease at 55 M Street, which I believe would bring the building to about 90 percent leased. (At the time Monument announced their deal to lease 150,000 square feet to DDOT, they said the 275,000-square-foot building's office space was 70 percent leased.)
However, in detailing what it says are $500 million in new Monument projects around the Metro area leveraged from a $10 million deal with Atlas Capital Group, WBJ makes no mention of any intentions for construction to get underway on Monument's remaining Half Street plans just north of Nationals Park. The well-known hole in the ground, dug in 2007 when 55 M was built, is eventually supposed to be 330 residential units and a 200-room hotel, which you can see a rendering of on my project page or on Monument's Half Street web site. Monument also owns all of the land on the east side of South Capitol between M and N except for the self storage building, as well as the 50 M street lot on the northeast corner of Half and M.
 

On the heels of Monday's news of a new tenant for 20 M St., SE, Lerner Enterprises has just announced another 20,000-square-foot lease, bringing the building to 97-percent occupancy. This tenant is Systems Planning and Analysis (SPA), which will be occupying the 8th floor. They are expected to move in this spring, and will join the Bureau of Land Management, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Columbia Group as the building's office tenants; Wachovia Bank at this point is the building's only retail tenant. 20 M was completed in March 2007.
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More posts: 20 M, Development News, officespace
 

Lerner Enterprises has just passed along the news that The Columbia Group has signed a lease for 20,039 square feet at 20 M St., SE, bringing the building to about 84 percent leased. The company--which does "technical services support" for the US military--is expected to move in this spring, and will be occupying space on the 7th floor. The other tenants--the Bureau of Land Management and Booz Allen Hamilton--are expected to start moving in in January.
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More posts: 20 M, Development News, officespace
 

From Monday's WaPo Capital Business: "Real estate developers and brokers in Southeast Washington say that Kaplan has been looking for office space suitable for the opening of a law school near the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium.
"Speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized by Kaplan to discuss the company's plans, the sources say Kaplan hired the real estate brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle and has been seeking up to 130,000 square feet in the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, around the Nationals' park, so it can open a law school there in 2013."
There's not much additional meat in the story, other than saying that Akridge (which owns the Half Street block northwest of the ballpark) is one of the developers vying for Kaplan's attentions. There's certainly a number of planned office buildings that could accommodate 130,000 square feet, and maybe the credit markets have shaken out enough that a lease taking 50 percent-ish of a building would be enough to get a construction loan. But there's also the issue of whether some proposed federal aid rules might hamper Kaplan's plans for expansion. [Full disclosure: Kaplan is owned by the Washington Post Co., my corporate overlords in my non-JDLand real life.]
We shall see....
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Development News, kaplan, officespace
 

I wasn't able to attend* today's foreclosure sale of 100 M Street, but word filtered to me early this afternoon that the 220,000-square-foot office building was picked up for a cool $57 million by Northwood Investors, a real estate investment management firm based in New York City. I've been told (and I'm trying to confirm) that Northwood had bought the original loan/note from Bank of America, and then had the high bid today against one other bidder, whose identity I don't know.
This appears to be Northwood's first foray into the DC market, and the rumor is that they plan to hold 100 M and get it leased up. Perhaps the DC biz media will have more on this sale in coming days....
As I wrote about previously, this sale was for the building itself and not the land, since 100 M's developers (Opus East) never bought the land and instead paid rent to the owners. You can read more about the building's history here; it opened in late 2008 and is currently about 43 percent leased.
[*My exile from blogging is coming to an end soon, I promise--though there really hasn't been much going on this week that I feel like I've missed completely, since I have managed to tweet from time to time.]
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More posts: 100 M, Development News, officespace, Square 743N
 

While normal people have spent their weekend recreating and taking it easy, I've been trying to find out more about the just-announced foreclosure sale of 100 M, the 220,000-square-foot office building that has been tied up in Opus East's Chapter 7 liquidation.
My big question was about why this is being billed as a sale of a "60-Year Leasehold Interest," and what I've found out is that Opus never owned the land, but instead had entered into a lease with and paid rent to the landowners. (Who are the people behind "Square 743 Inc"? I'd love for someone to tell me!) When Opus's operations went south, their lender (Bank of America) stopped funding the construction loan, so contractors stopped being paid, liens were filed, bankruptcy case got ugly, etc. etc.; basically, it's been a mess.
BoA is now washing its hands of it all, and is looking to get back some amount of the $58 million currently owed on the construction loan. (The land ownership is not being foreclosed on.) I've heard that BoA contracted with CB Richard Ellis earlier this year to sell the loan, and there's speculation that BoA may have a deal with an investor already, even though the Notice of Foreclosure Sale still lists BoA as the holder of the note. This would be similar to the way JPI's empty lot at 23 I Street changed hands a year ago, with SunTrust Bank selling the note to Ruben Companies, who then instituted foreclosure proceedings and took ownership of the property when no bidders came forward.
However, while the word "foreclosure" usually conjures up feelings of doom and gloom, for 100 M this should be a step up from Opus's liquidation. Instead of continuing to be tied up with companies and lenders and courts who have no interest or wherewithal to spend the money needed to clean up the mess and to market and lease the building's office and retail spaces, there may now be at least one investor--and maybe others, if the foreclosure sale brings bidders--who feels that the building is worth taking a gamble on now for a return on investment later. (Though it's worth noting that there is not a similar feeling of optimism about any new office projects in the area any time soon, with on-spec construction still completely DOA.)
We shall see how it all shakes out.
The auction is scheduled for Oct. 28 at noon, so this building can be yours for a mere $5 million deposit and an all-cash winning bid. It's currently 43 percent leased.
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More posts: 100 M, Development News, officespace, Square 743N
 

[Great--big news at 5 pm on Friday. Hope somebody actually reads this] On Sept. 21, a notice of foreclosure sale was filed for 100 M Street SE, the 220,000-square-foot office building built by Opus East and completed in late 2008. A few months later, Opus became the biggest Near Southeast casualty of the recession, filing for Chapter 7 liquidation and leaving their 440,000-square-foot office project at 1015 Half St. unfinished. While 1015 Half was soon picked up by the Douglas Wilson Companies and is now being completed, 100 M has remained at sea, despite a rumor a year ago (quickly shot down) that Mayfield Gentry was buying it for $80 million.
The 100 M auction is scheduled for Oct. 28 at noon; I admit to being pretty clueless on foreclosures and auctions and CRE minutiae, so I don't know if the fact that it is technically an auction of a "60-Year Leasehold Interest" in the building has any significance to us lay folks. I imagine the business press will have more on this story.
According to the auctioneers, 100 M is currently 43 percent leased.
(And, by the way, the blue sky in the above image is not faked. I've never ever seen as electric blue a sky as I did the morning I took that photo.)
[hat tip to reader J]
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More posts: 100 M, Development News, officespace
 

A release went out on the wires today announcing that Corporate Office Properties Trust has spent $119 million, including the assumption of a $70.1 million mortgage, to buy Maritime Plaza, the 12-acre site at 12th and M, SE.
This is the third time the site has changed hands since construction on the second office building was completed in 2003, with Bernstein Cos. selling it for $92 million in 2004, and then Brickman Associates reportedly paying $115 million in October of 2005. The site, which has two completed office buildings with 100 percent occupancy, has included plans for two additional 175,000-square-foot office buildings and a 250-room hotel; leasing is handled by Lincoln Property Company. The land beneath the buildings and plans, however, continues to be owned by Washington Gas, as it has been since pretty much the dawn of time.
[The rumors of this sale were reported back in early August, and I'm exhausted from three days of dealing with computer issues after my one-year-old machine up and croaked, forcing me to buy a new box, so apologies for basically just pasting-and-editing my previous entry. I figure no one read it anyway. :-) ]
 
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