Bisnow Confidential: MRP's Stunning New Business
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Look out, WeWork. Here comes MRP.
MRP is known as a highly successful and rapidly growing developer of office and multifamily. Now it's jumped into a new area: co-working.
It has invested in UberOffices, and the two firms are jointly buying a 32k SF building at 1509 16th St, a block from Logan Circle's always-packed Whole Foods.
It started when MRP sold Washington Harbor last summer to South Korean investors and PFG, and took back a long-term lease on its own office there.
As a renter now, it had TI money to use, and decided to reconfigure its office. It vacated for three months, and the office group went to Bethesda, where several MRPeeps live.
They decided on a couple of rooms, five desks each, within UberOffices at one of MRP's own buildings, Bethesda Crossing at 7315 Wisconsin. MRP had leased UberOffices 17k SF on the fourth floor of their West Tower.
Principal Zach Wade (snapped this afternoon) says he was "blown away" and "totally energized" by the experience—a startling eye-opener about Millennial tastes and work habits, and the new meaning of "community."
He credits Dupont Circle-based UberOffices founder (and serial entrepreneur) Raymond Rahbar, who Zach says spent a year looking at co-working best practices in other parts of the world, with delivering that experience.
MRP originally came to know UberOffices when they were evaluating it as a tenant. Then Raymond found a building he thought would be perfect on 16th Street and asked Zach how he could buy it. That led to the partnership.
Zach says DC is now full of firms that don't want to deal with touring or negotiating or long documents or build-outs, and like to rent month-to-month. He says average lease terms have plummeted from seven years to four, and that MRP itself took a long time to figure out how to do its own space during its recent transition.
Even though MRP owns 3M SF and manages 5M (in DC, the RB Corridor, Bethesda, Alexandria, Tysons and Loudoun), it was thunderstruck by what it learned on its sojourn at UberOffices.
UberOffice has 87k SF in four buildings and is shortly signing leases that will bring it to 212k SF. MRP's investment will help fund UberOffice's next wave of expansion into Philly (where MRP does business) and Chicago (where Raymond has lived).
And thus we learn that, just like groovy tech companies, even real estate firms can pivot. Even if Zach is wearing an old school Gen X jacket.
Allow us to introduce Sherlock Bisnow, who is on the prowl for fascinating and profound stories. In various cities at various times, generally depending on the weather, he will be writing exclusives like the one above under the name Bisnow Confidential, even though the very act of publication renders the title meaningless. Keep him safely off the streets by emailing him: HotScoops@Bisnow.com.