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Exclusive to Bisnow on Business

The powerful trade group representing the real estate finance industry is at last taking its own medicine:  For the first time in its 93 year history, it's buying its own building.


The DC-based Mortgage Bankers Association, representing 3,000 financial companies like Chevy Chase Mortgage and SunTrust that lend money for buying property, will announce later today that it has signed a purchase agreement on 1331 L St., NW, near Thomas Circle.


It's 176,000 SF and 10 floors, of which MBA will occupy four (not the top, of course—saving that for high rent payers).  It's scheduled to deliver Q2 of '08, and will give them 65,000 SF plus options, up from their current 52k feet at 1919 Penn.


Two member task forces studied it and decided the mid- and long-term financials made sense, not to mention the symbolism.  Paramount, a pension fund investor with German roots, is the seller, represented by Transwestern's Mark Richardson; DRI is the developer, and Andy Rollman of SmithGroup is the architect.  Michael Boland of Boland Real Estate Services worked closely with the MBA for two years scouting sites, represented it in the purchase, and is now leading the search for tenants.


MBA CEO Jonathan Kempner, just back from the annual meeting of the National Multi Housing Council in Phoenix, says buying the building "is like the cobbler finally buying shoes for his children."  Why that location, besides the fact the CBD is so strong?  Jonathan says they mapped out where all their 180 staff live, and it's such a big circle around Washington that DC remains the most convenient place, even apart from their need to be in proximity to the seat of government for their lobbying efforts.


Jonathan says they will be actively pursuing LEED certification because "it's the right thing to do" and will also help in the marketability of the space.  They are planning on two retail spots on the first floor, one of which will be an upscale restaurant.  Kempner won't disclose the price, but says the mortgage people…will certainly be getting a mortgage.




CREW VA’s Annual “State of the Real Estate Market,” Jan 16, 6-8pm
The Tower Club, Vienna, register at 5:30. more info


WIRRE (Women in Retail Real Estate) networking, and presentations from several of region’s new restaurants, Jan 18, 6-8pm. Embassy Suites at Chevy Chase Pavillion, contact


DC Preservation League’s 35th Anniversary Celebration, Jan 25, 7pm
The Willard. Hosted by radio personality Robert Aubry Davis. More info


ABC Metro Washington’s Project Managers’ and Superintendents’ Academies, Jan 25-27
Harbourtowne Conference Center, St. Michaels, MD. More information on Project Managers’ Academy: 


DCBIA Real Estate Seminar: “Got Capital?” January 25, 7:30-10:30am
National Press Club. More info


Chicago Title Insurance Co. presents: “Real Estate Associates Party” (sorry no partners allowed!), Feb 21, 6-9pm
Regional food, drink, and networking. Email Charlotte for more info,



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Chicago Title


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

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