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August 21, 2014
Can West End Survive?
Moseley Construction is a world-class "customer first "construction firm. It specializes in multifamily projects, both new and renovated. Find out more here.
DC's West End was once a hotspot for law firms, associations, and other major tenants. But it's facing some major and immediate vacancies. Does the area have what it takes to stay relevant?
JLL's Carroll Cavanagh (snapped this morning) has worked on several large recent deals in the West End and nearby Foggy Bottom and says that though the neighborhood has its naysayers, there are still major positives. Commuting patterns are stronger there than in other infill submarkets, he says, with Metro nearby and Rock Creek Parkway and Key Bridge. The proximity of the Georgetown waterfront, particularly the renovations former owner MRP Realty performed on the Washington Harbour property there "have been really well received." Another veteran broker tells us rental rates are also lower in the West End than points east downtown, and the abundance of hotels is another big plus.
Nevertheless, the area has its work cut out when it comes to vacancy. Law firm Pillsbury will vacate almost 250k SF at 2300 N St (left, snapped yesterday) by the end of the year; and the Association of American Medical Colleges left 86k SF behind when it bolted for a new building in Mount Vernon Triangle this year. Both firms are leaving for modern, ultra-efficient spaces, and some observers wonder whether the West End's older building stock can compete with newer buildings and trendier neighborhoods with hipper amenities.
But that's not stopping hip retailers from opening up, like indoor cycling studio SoulCycle at 24th and M. (We snapped the grand opening party on Monday.) Having George Washington University nearby also creates a vibrancy that other neighborhoods can't match. Carroll says Boston Properties' large 2200 Pennsylvania Ave mixed-use project—next to Foggy Bottom Metro, with swank food options and a Whole Foods—has been "a shot in the arm." (Something GW Hospital probably also provides.) A flurry of activity at properties like the Watergate and investor demand for West End buildings like 2401 Penn and the AAMC buildings on N Street are keeping the neighborhood well-balanced, Carroll adds. He's keeping an eye on what happens with the Advisory Board Company and its large office requirement, currently located not far away from SoulCycle on M Street.
Forest City Gets Go-Ahead at The Yards
Forest City has already been doing site work for Arris, the next multifamily addition to its big Yards complex in Capitol Riverfront. And the firm now has the green light to go vertical, receiving a building permit from the District earlier this week. (We snapped the site a few weeks ago.) Until this week though, GSA had been the owner of the Arris site. According to DC public records, Forest City paid $28.3M to take over ownership, which is the figure the city has the site assessed at. Arris will include 327 residential units and 20k SF of retail once it delivers late next year.
Avant Capital Partners Bridge To Success
Avant Capital Partners' Adam Luysterborghs (here with daughter Amelia) tells us his bridge lending company's tagline is “Banking the Unbankable.” The firm offers loans between $1M and $10M, specializing in pricing between banks and hard-money lenders in the 8% to 11% interest range to appeal to those who don't qualify for traditional credit but don't want to have their lunch money filched by loan sharks. On the to-do list is a footprint expansion, as the NY-based company starts making deals in DC and Boston. Current local projects include a $1.6M loan on an in-progress, 55-plus condo development in Westbury, Long Island and paying off a defaulted $3.3M loan in Brooklyn's Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Find more info on our sponsor here.
DC Real Estate Does the Ice Bucket Challenge
We're glad to see many in the DC real estate community take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, as our own intrepid publisher did yesterday. Doing their part to help knock out ALS is the gang from PCM Services, above: Rick Baxter, Scott Parello, JB Deerin, and Perry Paganelli.
The gang from the Donohoe Cos also got in on the action, as last week over 30 employees dumped hard hats filled with water on some company execs. Here's Donohoe's Chris Bruch, Steve Donohoe, Bob Donohoe, and Butch Berry. To learn more about the Challenge, or if you're interested in donating to the ALS Association, click here.
Oh, and one more, from Texas.
Don't Miss Bisnow's Future of Prince George's County Event August 26
There's a ton happening in Prince George's County, from the growth of College Park (and it's anchor, the University of Maryland) to new county hospital at Largo Town Center and the possibility of the FBI relocating to Greenbelt. Not to mention the under-construction MGM resort casino at National Harbor. That's why we've assembled some of the county's biggest names to speak at our Future of Prince George's County event Aug. 26 at National Harbor's Sunset Room. We're featuring a keynote from UMD president Wallace Loh, as well as WMATA real estate guru Stan Wall, Southern Management CEO David Hillman, and NAI Michael's David Michael, among others. It's an afternoon event, and we'll host one of our signature Schmoozaramas after the panels. Sign up here!
Bisnow's Real Estate Strategies For Law Firms and Associations Event Next Wednesday
Law firms and associations make up two big spokes of the real estate wheel in DC. And with several big deals having gone down recently—with a few big ones left to close—that's why we're holding our annual Real Estate Strategies for Law Firms and Associations event next Wednesday at the Mayflower (pictured). Mayor Gray will be keynoting the event and updating us on his proudest accomplishments as he leaves office, and we also have a host of experts from the brokerage, design, law firm, and association worlds. Networking starts at 7am—Mayor Gray's keynote begins at 8am. Click here for more info and to sign up.