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Lerner Family Considering Sale Of Washington Nationals

Lerner Enterprises principal Mark Lerner at a 2016 event

The Lerner family, the legendary D.C. real estate family behind Lerner Enterprises, is considering selling its most recognizable asset: the Washington Nationals franchise. 

The family hired investment bank Allen & Co. to look for new investors, and potentially buyers, of the team that the Lerners have owned since 2006, Mark Lerner told The Washington Post

Mark Lerner, the son of Lerner Enterprises founder Ted Lerner and the current managing principal owner of the franchise, described it as an "exploratory process" and told the Post he has no set timeline or expected outcome. A team spokesperson told the Post that no options have been eliminated and that a full transfer of ownership is possible.

The move would net the family a substantial sum of cash, considering the team is valued at $2B by Forbes and was enjoying strong attendance prior to the pandemic.

The Lerners bought the franchise for $450M in 2006, shortly after the MLB brought it to D.C., ending a 33-year professional baseball drought in the city. The family negotiated a deal to bring the franchise to what is now Nationals Park in Navy Yard, opening the ballpark in 2008.

The Nationals won the World Series in 2019, the first baseball championship for a D.C. team since 1924

Lerner Enterprises has developed office and residential properties in the vicinity of the ballpark, including the 190K SF office building at 20 M St. SE and the 244-unit 1000 South Capitol Street apartments. 

Lerner also purchased a one-story warehouse in Navy Yard from the General Services Administration in a $31M deal in 2018. The lot is zoned for development up to 13 stories tall.

Lerner has also developed a huge amount of real estate in Northern Virginia, including Tysons Corner Center, Tysons II and the Dulles Town Center mall. 

Lerner Enterprises was forced to hand over the Dulles Town Center mall under threat of foreclosure to Centennial Advisory Services in 2020, while continuing to pursue development around the site. 

Lerner is also marketing the Landover Mall site for redevelopment. It was once considered a possible landing site for the new FBI headquarters, and it may be again as the GSA rekindles its search.

Ted Lerner's estimated net worth has declined recently, from its peak at $5.5B in 2016 to $3.7B in 2020. It's now estimated at roughly $4.5B, all according to Forbes.