With a potential for 680,000 s.f. of development, the site would be Skanska's largest DC area project to date, by far. But the developer is in a building mood, having now leased out 90% of its speculative downtown office project at 10th & G before the doors even open, and with "sincerely strong" interest in its Wilson Boulevard office project. With that tailwind, Skanska is putting the final touches on a design for a two-phase office project that could be moving dirt by next summer. With Davis Carter Scott at work designing 300,000 s.f. of office space for phase 1, the developer "is going full bore on all pre-development activity at this time," says Skanska Executive Vice President Rob Ward.
Not that Skanska would be the first polyanna to build without an anchor tenant already signed on, some of the largest office projects to date have kicked off without a financial savior, such as Monday Properties' 35 story office tower in Rosslyn and the CityCenter DC, both of which are well into construction without a single name to hang in the lobby.
And not that Skanska isn't working on a lead tenant; project supervisors have interviewed commercial brokers and expect to announce a leasing team next week. Still, Ward says the building is "100% funded" from internal capital, and the company can make the decision to build - or not - based on market conditions next spring when planning has run its course. "Its automatically a go if we get tenants, but we'll make that call by the middle of next year."
On the books so far is a large office project for phase 1, which Ward says will be a LEED Platinum design within the existing zoning envelope. Ward notes that while current zoning allows for 680,000 s.f. of development, "we'll be very careful how we build out to maximize light rather than the building footprint." While the retail component is not large - somewhere around 15,000 s.f. - Ward foresees a neighborhood enhancer rather than just a building-serving retail space; "a nice location for a good restaurant and bar."
Skanska's record bodes well for a spec project, and the NoMa numbers are still sound, with the vacancy rate just 9% within the NoMa BID according to Delta Associates.
Skanska bought the NoMa property at First and M Streets, NE, last January for $41 million from an affiliate of the Polinger Company. The site was designated as phases II and III of Capital Plaza, though Skanska will rename the project. Skanska is a Swedish-born company with offices in the United States, including Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. real estate development news