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Lantian Sells 62-Acre Washington Bible College Campus 2 Years After Acquisition

The 62-acre Washington Bible College site in Lanham, Md.

Lantian Development, a Chinese-backed developer that has scooped up several large pieces of land in suburban Maryland, has cashed out on one of its Prince George's County sites. 

The company sold the 62-acre Lanham campus formerly home to the Washington Bible College to Washington Education Group LLC, a foreign investor, for $16.5M. JLL's John Gibb, Danny Sheridan and Bernie McCarthy represented the seller.

Lantian bought the property for $11.6M in 2015. At 6511 Princess Garden Parkway in Lanham, the campus sits just outside the Beltway and less than five miles from the New Carrollton Metro, MARC and Amtrak (and future Purple Line) station. 

Built in phases between the 1940s and 1980s, the property consists of nine buildings totaling 150K SF. The buildings include a multifunctional gymnasium, a cafeteria, a library, an assembly hall, a student lounge, a dormitory, a bookstore, administrative offices and classrooms. 

Before deciding to sell the property, Lantian considered large development options and operating the existing buildings as an institutional campus. The company spent some money on operations and maintenance, but ultimately made nearly a 50% return on the property with the sale. 

“Ultimately, we decided that the market was there,” Lantian CEO Bob Elliott said. “There was a buyer pool that was very interested in this asset and we capitalized on it. It was an opportunistic moment.”  

Elliott said he expects the buyer plans to use the existing buildings for an educational function in the near-term, but he does not know if it plans to develop more buildings on the site. 

“What a lot of groups valued was speed to market,” Elliott said. “You can pop up a campus immediately. You have the ability to put a school into production within two years. You couldn’t entitle, design and build something like that with the same square footage in less than seven years.”

A rendering of Lantian and 1788's Shady Grove mixed-use development

Lantian plans to put the capital toward the $650M Shady Grove development it is planning with 1788 Holdings. The development team filed plans earlier this year to build 1.3M SF on the 31-acre site. The project, tentatively named Shady Grove Neighborhood Center, would include up to 1,600 multifamily units, 300 townhouses, 200K SF of office, a 100K SF hotel and 100K SF of retail. 

The Bethesda-based development firm with Chinese investment partners formed in 2014 and has acquired at least four pieces of land totaling over 300 acres, but has yet to break ground on a project. Its largest holding is the 204-acre Comsat campus in Clarksburg, which it bought in 2015 for $11.5M. It also bought the former Washington Suites Hotel in Alexandria

“We’re actively looking for new investments, whether a ground-up or a renovation with the opportunity to redevelop a portion,” Elliott said.