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This Week's D.C. Deal Sheet

Guardian Realty Investors is converting a former industrial and technology building into lab space in Germantown.

20400 Observation Drive in Germantown, Maryland

The building, located at 20400 Observation Drive, is being rebranded Observation Labs. The developer plans to offer spec suites ranging from roughly 4K to 8K SF by the first quarter of next year, as well as build-to-suit lab space up to 55K SF.

Ewing Cole Architects and JennErik Engineering are designing the space, and Riparious Construction was hired to execute the renovations.

Life sciences growth nationwide continues at a strong clip, with year-over-year employment growth as of Q2 of this year 0.9% above the three-year average, according to CBRE. 

The Washington, D.C./Baltimore region also continues to see strong fundamentals, with vacancy at 1.4%, 1M SF under construction and nearly 850K SF of tenant demand, the brokerage said in its Q2 life sciences report.


The president and CEO of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington has agreed to become the new CEO of the Greater Washington Partnership. Kathy Hollinger has led RAMW since 2012, shepherding the advocacy organization through the pandemic and a newly uncertain business landscape dominated by inflation and shifting regulations. 

Hollinger takes over the regional business alliance on Oct. 3, the partnership announced. The partnership's CEO since September 2020, JB Holston, stepped down from his role a day after GWP announced $4.7B in commitments to minority-owned businesses over the next five years, the Washington Business Journal reported in March.

Incoming Greater Washington Partnership CEO Kathy Hollinger

Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. chief Ben Wu is stepping down effective Aug. 15. Wu has served as president and CEO since December 2019. During his tenure, Wu has championed faster permitting processes for biotech facilities and has supported several projects in White Oak, including near the U.S. Food and Drug Administration headquarters. Kevin Beverley, chair of the MCEDC's board, told Bethesda Magazine that the organization had been in discussion with Wu for some time about renewing his contract, which was scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Tompkins will take over as president and CEO, the publication reported.


Susan Mudry has been appointed chief operating officer of NewPoint Real Estate Capital, taking over from the firm's co-founder, Phil Spellberg. Mudry joined the firm in February as senior managing director for process reengineering and strategic execution. Before that, she spent 25 years at Freddie Mac, most recently as vice president and chief of staff to the CEO. Spellberg is formally retiring, but he will remain on as a senior adviser, per a press release.


The Fields at Rock Creek in Frederick, Maryland

An affiliate of Hampshire Properties acquired a 314-unit multifamily property in Frederick, taking advantage of low vacancy rates in a hot market for life sciences, according to a press release. The affiliate, Rose Valley Capital, acquired the property, The Fields at Rock Creek at 100 Alessandra Court, for $85M from Elite Street Capital Crystal Parl Equity DE LLC. Jorge Rosa and TJ Liberto of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller. Rosa said apartment fundamentals in the submarket are strong, fueling the sale of the two-story, 290K SF property.


Preservation Equity Fund Advisors acquired a senior affordable housing building in Gaithersburg, the group announced this week. The 72-unit Oaks at Olde Town, located at 9 Chestnut St., is affordable for those making up to 50% of area median income. PEF plans to preserve that affordability and continue resident services, which include a shuttle service that runs two days per week, free groceries once or twice a month and other coordinated activities. The property was brokered by CBRE, according to a spokesperson. The price was undisclosed.


Hilton Worldwide has renewed its lease at its McLean headquarters for 15 years, agreeing to a deal with landlord B.F. Saul Co. to renovate its 220K SF office and the common spaces at the building, located at 7930 Jones Bridge Drive. Hilton plans to expand its 800-strong workforce by 40% at the space, but won't take more of the building, of which it occupies roughly 70%, a spokesperson told Bisnow.


An apartment project anchored by Prince George's County's first Trader Joe's has begun lease-up. The 393-unit Aster apartments, developed by partners Bozzuto, Terrapin Development Co. and Willard Retail, is located at 7150 Baltimore Ave. in College Park. In addition to Trader Joe's, the project's 61K SF retail component includes Crunch Fitness, Bandit Taco, Roots Natural Kitchen, The Joint Chiropractic, Inspire Nail and All Care, Bisnow reported this week.