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Lincoln Property Co. To Convert Downtown D.C. Office Building Into Apartments

The office building at 1313 L St. NW

The buyer of a Downtown D.C. office building is planning to redevelop the site into residential, a strategy that could help D.C. address its office vacancy and housing shortage problems.

JLL announced Friday it brokered the sale of the 1313 L St. NW office building to a joint venture of Lincoln Property Co. and Cadillac Fairview, and the brokerage firm said the buyers are planning a Class-A apartment redevelopment. 

The building was sold by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which has operated its headquarters in the building since 2006. The property sold for $34.7M, according to documents posted Feb. 10 to the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. 

The 84K SF office building, constructed in 1984, sits about four blocks from the McPherson Square Metro station and roughly a half-mile from Logan Circle

West, Lane & Schlager is assisting NAEYC in its search for a new headquarters. The organization retained JLL's Dek Potts, Susan Carras, Walter Coker and Brian Crivella to market the building in June when the team was at HFF, prior to the closing of the JLL-HFF merger in July. 

The buyer has not yet unveiled the details of its planned apartment redevelopment. Potts told Bisnow in June he expected a buyer would likely tear down the existing structure and rebuild a new project. The site is entitled for 180K SF of development, according to JLL. 

D.C. planners view the conversion of downtown office buildings to residential as a positive strategy given the high office vacancy rate and the city's push to add thousands of new housing units, but the District has stopped short of offering incentives for such projects.

Planning Director Andrew Trueblood told Bisnow earlier this month he would like to see more residential downtown, but he thinks market realities have historically made that difficult, given the higher per-SF rents office projects can achieve. 

"The market is changing as we continue to see office vacancy rates be higher than we would want and we see housing pressures," Trueblood said. "I think at some point the market might support these [conversions] in certain contexts."