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Big WRIT Asset In Play?
January 30, 2013
WorkSpaces (Left1) DCRE

Big WRIT Asset In Play?

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Bisnow has learned that Bethesda-based WRIT's 17-building medical office portfolio, which the REIT announced yesterday it may be selling, could fetch as much as $550M.

WRIT's MOB portfolio totals 1.3M SF in this region (including 8301 Arlington Blvd in Fairfax, above). Bisnow has also been told that the buildings will command lots of investor interest since they're well occupied, as doctors tend to stay long-term, with triple-net leases. A source adds that the ample amount of available financing will allow potential buyers to lever the sale's cap rate favorably.

In other WRIT news, the company says that CEO Skip McKenzie (center, flanked by RBS's Stewart Whitman and WRIT CFO Bill Camp) intends to retire by the end of 2013, ending a 16-year run with the company in which its local portfolio grew from 47 to 70 properties (he's been CEO since '07). WRIT hopes to have a replacement locked up in a few months.

This Morning in NoMa

Over 500 joined us at Brookfield's 77 K St for our Future of NoMa event this morning, where attendees heard MRP founding principal Fred Rothmeijer (flanked by moderator Chip Glasgow of Holland & Knight and NoMa BID president Robin-Eve Jasper) say that NoMa is ahead of fellow emerging submarket Southeast in locking in office tenants, thanks to a wave of GSA moves to the neighborhood in recent years.

StonebridgeCarras principal Doug Firstenberg, developer of the neighborhood's Constitution Square and long NoMa backer, says that the arrival of Harris Teeter in late 2010 made a difference and that grocery stores are often "the foundation for a neighborhood." Doug adds that NoMa's succeeded in attracting "feet on the street" (office workers), but now must shift its focus to luring in "heads in beds"—residents. (We snapped Doug with his eyes closed to demonstrate best bed practices.)

77 K offered a great look at the burgeoning NoMa landscape and views of neighborhood landmarks like Gonzaga High (in between the two office buildings).

Thanks again to the standing-room only crowd that came out this morning, and stay tuned for more coverage of the event tomorrow.

Bridge Loan Trend Ain't Slowing

Owners with debt coming due that is out of balance or who'd rather not put more equity into a property will continue to ride the bridge loan wave, JLL's Wes Boatright tells us. And they're finding eager deal partners in debt funds, banks, and life companies. Wes, snapped this morning flanked by colleagues Mike Yavinsky and Jon Goldstein, just closed $72M on such a loan in Tysons—on behalf of operator Lowe Enterprises for 1951 Kidwell Dr and 1953 Gallows Rd (the lender: NorthStar Realty Finance). He adds that bridge loans' shorter terms (typically three years) allow both borrower and lender to close quickly. But he cautions that activity is contingent on properties being in well-leased locations.

Greenberg Traurig's Bird's Eye View

Greenberg Traurig's own globetrotter, Nelson Migdal, is down there somewhere at last week's Americas Lodging Investment Summit along with a few thousand other hospitality industry professionals trying to make lightning strike and keep deals alive. He reports that areas south of our border in Central and Latin America remain busy. Nelson's looking even further south—he's trying to wrap up a deal in Brazil. We'll make sure to keep you posted. For more info on our sponsor, click here.

Golden Triangle Gets New Retail

Yesterday, we held up traffic to snap the locations where The Golden Triangle will be getting some fresh new retailers. First up: 1800 L St, which will be a new Nordstrom Rack this spring (and we first reported last June). Rappaport Co's Jim Farrell (who repped owner Somerset Partners with colleagues Mike Howard, Melissa Webb, and Bill Dickinson) tells us the deal speaks highly of the Golden Triangle's retail demand, and Nordstrom Rack's high-quality, low-price apparel should be a big hit with downtown office workers. H&R Retail's David Ward repped the tenant.

We mosied up the street and blocked the intersection of Connecticut and N to snap Brookfield's 1250 Connecticut, where steakhouse STK has signed a 9,000 SF lease, with a move-in expected by year's end. Brookfield's Greg Meyer tells us his firm sought out STK for the space (formerly occupied by Casa Nonna) after seeing its success in another company asset: NYC's Grace Building. STK joins a list of other high-quality restaurants (think BLT, Oya, Zaytinya, Marcel's) complementing Brookfield's Class-A downtown office properties.

Our Dallas Event

Speakers at our hotel conference this morning in Dallas said things are looking bright in 2013. They don't know how long it will go on, but their advice was: enjoy it while it lasts.

Headed to New Orleans This Weekend?

Calling all readers: are you headed to New Orleans for the Super Bowl this weekend? Bisnow will be there too! Our DC CRE reporter, Chris Baird, is making the trek in support of that purple team up north and would love to snap a picture if you'll be in the Big Easy. (Doesn't matter which team you're rooting for!) E-mail chris.baird@bisnow.com, unless you want him to track you down on Bourbon Street.

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