Thursday, September 11, 2008

DC's Most Expensive Vacancy Up for Lease


The District's Office of Property Management (OPM) has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the former printing plant at 225 Virginia Avenue SE - a property that has lain dormant since it was first acquired by the city. Originally intended to a 1st District Police substation and evidence warehouse, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) secured a 20-year lease for the 421,000 square foot site from Washington Telecom Associates LLC in 2006. After two years of paying $6.5 million in annual rent (nearly $550,000 a month, folks), they've finally given up the ghost on a project that has succeeded in doing, well, bupkis.

Granted, after the District balked at the cost of re-outfitting 225 Virginia as an operational station, they were able to make space for the MPD at two properties they owned outright. But, curiously enough, they seemingly thought of nothing to do with the hulking building they had leased until recently. According to the developer brokering the deal for the District, M.L. Clark Real Estate, the five-story building comprises “one of the largest blocks of contiguous spaces immediately available within the District of Columbia." What’s more, it’s one of the only original buildings near the new Nationals Ballpark that has yet to be redeveloped. The neighboring lots that once surrounded the massive installation are now Washington Nationals parking lots or Capitol Riverfront construction sites (soon to be mixed use residential and retail developments) – all of which makes this one hot piece of property just off the I-295 exit ramp.

The building and accompanying parking lot are on the block for $80 to $85 million, depending on the options exercised under the terms of the sublease. Due to confidentiality agreements in place, representatives of M.L. Clarke Real Estate were unable to comment on the number of proposals received so far, per the confidentiality agreement, but they did, however, hold a pre-submission site visit for interested parties this morning, in association with the OPM. The project team assembled by M.L. Clark also includes architect Yves Springuel and Tischman Construction. The deadline for proposals for the site has been set for October 3rd.

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