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Apartment Building With Ties To Watergate Sells To Student Housing Firm For $68M

A building across the street from the Watergate complex that played a part in the scandal that brought down the Nixon administration has been sold to a Chicago-based student housing owner. 

The Boathouse apartment building at 2601 Virginia Ave. NW.

Up Campus Student Living acquired the Boathouse apartment building at 2601 Virginia Ave. NW for $67.5M from Urban Investment Partners, according to documents filed Friday with the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. 

Up Campus is partnering on the deal with Palmor Capital, BridgeInvest and Sabal Investment Holdings, the firm said in a release Monday. The buyers obtained a $42M loan from CIBC Bank USA along with the deal, deed records show. 

The new ownership is planning to upgrade the lobby and common areas, offer furnished units and rebrand the building, it said in the release. It will target undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff of George Washington University, which sits less than half a mile away. 

"Our value-add repositioning plan will transform the asset with student-focused enhancements, fostering a vibrant community environment through Up Campus’s vertically integrated on-site management," Up Campus Managing Partner Stephen Bus said in a statement.

Up Campus Student Living's portfolio includes 17 operating student housing buildings and two under construction, according to its website, with one in the D.C. area, the Landmark building in College Park, Maryland. 

UIP principal Steve Schwat declined to comment on the deal. 

D.C.-based UIP acquired the property in 2016 for $36M from GWU, which used it as dormitories. The developer then invested more than $40M to expand the building and convert it to market-rate apartments, completed in 2020 and branded as Boathouse. 

The building was constructed in 1962 as a Howard Johnson hotel. In 1972, two of its rooms were rented out by the team of burglars that broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters as they staked out the Watergate complex across the street. 

Today, the building houses 250 apartments that range from studios to two-bedroom units. Its amenities include a rooftop pool deck with grilling areas, a fitness center, a resident lounge and parking garage with bike storage. It also has 5K SF of ground-floor retail, which is listed on LoopNet as available for lease.