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BISNOW on BUSINESS

LandAmerica

 

MRP’S POTOMAC YARDS IS JUST LATEST DEAL


 

“Have fun; win; make money!”  That’s what founder Bob Murphy says their objectives are over at MRP Realty in DC, and they seem to be in a race to do it.

 

Less than two years out of the gate, with just 12 employees, they closed yesterday on their eighth—and biggest—property: a $70 million acquisition of 17 acres on which they will build 1.7 million SF of office, residential, hotel, and retail and (at an eventual cost north of $600 mm) that will become the town center at Potomac Yards. This will bring their development pipeline to over 5 million SF at eight sites in newly developing areas of NoVa and DC.

 

 

Above, as we joined them in their lunch room one day, are from left, MRPers Rick Saas, Ryan Wade, Jonathan Lischke, Bob Murphy, Jeff Salinetti, and Zach Wade.  It’s okay for them to pile their plates high.  Everyone gets a free membership at nearby Gold’s Gym.

 

Murphy used to be mid-Atlantic head of Trammell Crow’s development and investment division and founded MRP in July ’05 with fellow Trammellians Ryan Wade and Fred Rothmeijer.  He tells us he didn’t see the “public company value add as being significant enough” to make a difference and thought they could compete just fine.  Today MRP works with capital partner Rockpoint Group out of Boston, and occasionally others like Atlanta’s Brookdale Group, Denver’s Parkwood Real Estate Partners, and Hartford’s Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors.  In other words, they’ve adopted the tried and true development currency:  Other People’s Money.

 

 

Sorting through PowerPoints on their many properties are, from left, Jonathan Lischke, Jeff Salinetti, Fred Rothmeijer, and Ryan Wade.  In the back, marketing queen Jennifer Going and—and horrors!—a vendor sneaking into the picture.

 

Their first project was Carlyle Overlook, a 14-story, 250k SS office tower in Alexandria near the new PTO, designed by Davis Carter Scott, which will be ready in ’08.  They defrayed some risk by pre-selling several floors to a trade association and recently sold the rest to an insurance firm.

 

Out in Loudoun they have three properties.  Just last Tuesday they broke ground on Corporate Campus at Ashburn Center (194k SF in three single story buildings on 15 acres), and will break ground in August on Lakeview at University Center, near GW’s campus on Route 7:  600k SF of offices on 50 acres that will also include hotels and restaurants.  Future plans call for hotel, fitness center, retail and high rise office totaling 530,000 SF at Loudoun Parkway Center near the Parkway/Dulles Greenway interchange.

 

In Courthouse (near Clarendon) they bought One Verizon Plaza from RREEF and will renovate and reposition the 380,000 SF that has been sold four times since ‘98 (NY Life to Carlyle to RREEF to MRP).  In Tysons, they bought eight acres from Gannett for one or more buildings totaling 537,000 SF in one of the region’s most prominent spots at the intersection of the Beltway and Toll Road.  In DC they’re in NOMA, doing something called Washington Gateway, 990,000 SF at NY and Florida on three acres, breaking ground in ‘08.  It’ll be two buildings, one of which will have the highest views from a non-government office in the District.

 

 

In their own offices on 21st St. downtown, they work in what Bob calls an open “trading floor,” where he sits at the far end and everyone can (in theory) thrive on the others’ energy and proximity.  Murphy sees MRP as being in the service business, where customers are investors.  He sees his job as “place making” by marrying up ideas with appropriate capital.  They do look like they’re having fun.

 

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