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Big Deal at 18th and M
September 13, 2013

Big Deal at 18th and M

Those renovations you see all over town aren't for nothin'. A big deal wrapped up in the last week, as one tenant locked down a full floor in one of DC's most recent remade buildings. (It's nice when you put on make-up and somebody notices.)

Bisnow has learned that consulting firm Berkeley Research Group signed for the almost 60k SF second floor at 1800 M St (snapped yesterday). Cassidy Turley's Bobby Schwartz, Eli Barnes, and Jimmy Collins repped the owner, Prudential, and Bobby tells us Berkeley's tenancy "validates Prudential's successful repositioning of the building as a newly Class-A property." The building recently underwent a $20M remake, wrapping earlier this summer. JLL's David Houck and Sam Swan repped Berkeley.
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More From DC State of Office

Recent government agency leases like the Fish and Wildlife Service to Falls Church and NSF to Alexandria prove the GSA is less focused on location and more on economics, according to Federal Capital Partners' Erik Weinberg. (You know what they say, "economics, economics, economics.") At yesterday's 2nd annual DC State of Office event at the Mayflower, Erik also pointed out that the trend puts more pressure on the areas that banked on GSA tenancy in the past. (A great broker can take blast-resistant walls, meant to lure government tenants, and convince a chemistry-focused charter school they can't live without them.)

Winmar Construction CEO Edwin Villegas says bringing a tenant's space up to current trends is crucial, but making sure common areas and other systems of the building get up to speed is also important. Common areas should be as modern and efficient as tenant space.

While building spec suites is a creative way for owners to cut down on vacancy, designing them can't be one-size-fits-all anymore, according to Gensler managing director Jeff Barber. Landlords need to get them more specialized to attract tenants. What's also being specialized at a rapid clip are corporate amenities, Jeff says, and it's not just having access to a rooftop or Wi-Fi anymore, but having a part of the roof specifically blocked off for a firm or high-speed AV backbone systems.

Tower Companies' Eric Posner (right, with DLA Piper's Betsy Karmin) says sustainability has always been at the forefront of his firm's portfolio. But engaging and educating tenants on why their space is sustainable or what efficient design can allow them to do remains important. Thinking outside the box on leasing strategies has also helped Tower, Eric says, mentioning that it recently turned a 10k SF vacant basement space on a K Street property into a vibrant three-tenant floor. (At age seven, we turned our basement into a sweet game room, no girls allowed, so we totally get it.)

From brokers to developers to design pros, most agree that the DC commercial real estate community is a small one, according to Wingate Hughes principal Gavin Daniels. But he says the community should use each other more to create an even brighter, more creative real estate landscape. Gavin says it's also important to educate tenants on the materials and modern features of spaces, so that they understand how it helps them, beyond the cool factor.

What Mayor Gray's Veto Means

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 5.17.19 PM
Mayor Gray's veto yesterday of the living wage bill, which would force DC's biggest retailers to pay their employees a much higher rate, sent shockwaves throughout the city. The mayor says the move was all about jobs, but for now, it's allowing projects like Walmart's six planned stores to go forward, including one at Skyland Town Center (rendering above). Henry Fonvielle of the Rappaport Cos, developer of Skyland, tells us the veto "helps all the workers, not just a select few." Henry tells us the project should break ground early next year, unless the DC Council overrides the veto.


We crossed the river last night to Crystal City for the grand opening of Lowe Enterprises' fully renovated 1400 Crystal Dr, the first property in the neighborhood to be redeveloped since BRAC cleared many tenants out. Snapped here: Lincoln Property Co's Neil Alt, Lowe's Ginger Reiman, John Donnellon of Decisive Analytics (who'll be moving into the property's top floor soon), Seyfarth Shaw's Adam Walsh, and Lowe's Mark Rivers. Neil, who's heading up leasing for the 305k SF property, says his team is close to three other deals totaling 60k SF.

FOX Architects' Westley Enterline and JP Spickler helped design the property, and JP tells us the goal was to transform an asset that delivered in 1968 into one that brings "vitality" to Crystal City. (Step one: take down all the Steppenwolf photos.)

Should DC have Cooler Statues?

As sports fans know, Pittsburgh has a couple great stadiums on the river for baseball and football, and at PNC Park this week (before our first-ever Pittsburgh Bisnow event) we ran into the great Roberto Clemente. He was not only an 18-year vet and 12-time All-Star, but died in a plane crash at Christmas time of 1972 carrying aid relief to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, and as such has long been a proud inspiration for the city. We have a lot of statues of horses and 200-year-old generals around town, and we do have Abe and others on the mall, but do we have any statues of more recent DC-area sports or other heroes? Write chris.baird@bisnow.com to remind him or suggest some!

CREW Awards Next Wednesday!

Before yesterday's DC State of Office event, we snapped the impressive women of CREW DC (including president Betsy Karmin, a real estate partner at DLA Piper, in the pink jacket). The group's 2013 Awards Celebration arrives next Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton, with the always anticipated awards for Place and Deal- making, and a program hosted by emcee Greta Kreuz of ABC7. Click here to register!

Is anyone else running the Navy-Air Force half-marathon tomorrow? Send us pictures, or if you've run a half or full marathon recently, send us pics of those too and we'll publish the best. Email chris.baird@bisnow.com

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