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When Your Anchor Tenant Bails

Washington DC Office

After losing Covington & Burling, the owners of 1275 Pennsylvania Ave could have been sent scrambling like Aaron Rodgers against the Seahawks defense last night. But instead, they're going on the offensive.

Last night, the Willco Companies showed off its building, where Covington will soon leave 100k SF (along with space at 1201 Penn next door) for CityCenter. Once the loss became clear, Willco embarked on a $25M renovation, COO Jason Goldblatt (third from left) tells us. There's a new lobby, fitness center, re-skinned exterior, and rooftop, where we snapped Jason with CBRE's Joe Coleman, Kevin Howard, Melissa Byrd, Willco chairman Richard Cohen, Axent Realty's Steve Fischer, and CBRE's Randy Harrell. Joe, Kevin, Melissa, and Randy are marketing the space at 1275 Penn, and Kevin says the improvements are already making waves, as two leases are pending.

Even before the renovations started, Willco wrapped up a few new leases at 1275 Penn, including government relations offices for Pfizer and CVS. And the building isn't a short-term hold for the owners: Richard tells us his and Steve's fathers purchased the site in 1966 for about $6.5M, when it was recognized by a completely different address: 425 13th St. (It's the Snoop Dog/Snoop Lion of DC buildings.) The District now assesses the building at well over $100M.

Like many owners renovating existing office buildings, Willco installed two modern spec suites (designed by KGD) on the building's second floor. David M. Schwarz Architects handled design for the lobby, common area, and rooftop renovations, and David tells us the design goal was to make the building stand out on "one of the grand streets in the nation."