MORTGAGE BANKERS TO BUY OWN BUILDING
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 byTranswestern'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 theNational 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.