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Arlington Entertainment District Building Finds New Purpose As Crime Lab

A 41K SF building in Arlington’s Entertainment District is about to become an integral part of the city's crime scene investigation unit in a unique conversion away from retail.

1715 East Lamar Blvd. in Arlington is getting its second wind as a crime lab and Arlington Police evidence storage center.

SkyWalker Property Partners' Hangover Opportunity Fund sold the 37-year-old asset to the city of Arlington to house a police substation, evidence storage area and the Arlington PD crime lab facility. 

"This site will give Arlington Police Department its first brick-and-mortar presence north of Interstate 30," Gary Walker, president of SkyWalker Property Partners and managing principal of Hangover Opportunity Fund, said in a statement. 

Built in 1984 on 5 acres at 1715 East Lamar Blvd., the facility originally housed a Safeway grocery store and later became an antique mall and tearoom. 

SkyWalker’s Hangover Fund sold off the asset in the midst of divesting 20 properties inside one of its portfolios. SkyWalker purchased the building from a Dubai-based investor seven years ago.

The sale shows the ongoing trend of owners marketing vacant retail assets to tenants who eventually infill them with industrial or storage-focused end users. In the fourth quarter of 2020, North Arlington had a retail vacancy rate of 11.7%, while South Arlington's vacancy rate came in at 6.9%, according to CBRE data. 

JLL even launched a task force in 2020 dedicated to turning former shopping centers and big-box retail anchors into distribution and storage centers.