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Douglas Lures Nonprofit From CBD To Take Top Floor Of Uline Arena

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The redevelopment of the historic Uline Arena in NoMa is nearing full occupancy following a major lease on the top floor. 

Uline Arena REI NoMa
The redevelopment of Uline Arena in Washington, D.C., into an REI was financed partly with EB-5 investment.

Douglas Development this week signed nonprofit international development organization Pact to a lease on the top floor of the project, JLL Executive Managing Director Evan Behr and Douglas principal Norman Jemal tell Bisnow

The team did not disclose the exact terms of the deal, but Behr said it is taking the full fourth floor on the arena side of the project, which floor plans show as a roughly 40K SF space.

Behr brokered the deal on behalf of Douglas along with JLL's Doug Mueller, Nate Beach, Thomas Myers, Kristen Mathis and Mac Hall. Cushman & Wakefield's Aaron Pomerantz and Jennifer Brody represented the tenant.

The nonprofit will move in Q2 2020 from a traditional office building in the heart of the Central Business District, near the Farragut North Metro station, at 1828 L St. NW. Uline Arena represents a significant change in location — the fast-developing area east of the train tracks in NoMa is still emerging as an office market — and in the feel of Pact's office space. 

Uline Arena 4th Floor
The fourth floor office space at Uline Arena

The top floor of the Uline Arena, known as the Washington Coliseum when it hosted The Beatles' first U.S. concert in 1964, features a curved ceiling reaching up to 18 feet at its highest point. It also has a private terrace with views of the NoMa-Union Market area. 

"It's the most significant historic rehab in the history of D.C.," Behr said. "We always felt like that, coupled with the unique features with the 18-foot ceilings, awesome column spacing and private terraces, we always felt like if someone liked it, they would fall in love with it and only want to be at Uline." 

That is exactly what happened with Pact, Behr said. He, Jemal and Pact CEO Mark Viso held a face-to-face meeting during which Viso told the team how he thought the quality of the real estate could help further the organization's mission. 

"They fell in love with it," Jemal said. "We've done a lot of projects, and I can't think of any other project people are more passionate about than this particular building." 

Founded in 1971, Pact aims to improve the lives of people living in poverty around the world. Its website says it helped provide access to health and social services to 2.5 million people last year. Pomerantz also said Pact chose the building because of the impact it could have on the group's mission. 

"We are thrilled for Pact as they continue to grow and expand their organization in what can be considered as one of the most unique and exciting spaces in Washington D.C.," Pomerantz said in an emailed statement. "Their new workplace will allow them to continue the great work they already do improving the lives of those who are challenged by poverty around the world." 

The redevelopment includes the arena building, which Pact will occupy, and a connected ice house building. Each building features office space on the second, third and fourth floors. 

Coworking provider Spaces signed on in 2016 for 44K SF on the arena's second floor. Goodwill of Greater Washington last year leased 24K SF on the project's third floor. Architecture firm Antunovich Associates, which designed the redevelopment, leased 9K SF of office space on the second floor. 

Behr's team has also signed leases with Proof Strategies, Exp, Expression Networks and College Summit. Roughly 19K SF of the project's 170K SF of office space remains available following the Pact deal. 

On the retail side, Douglas brought in REI to open a flagship 51K SF store. La Colombe Coffee and boutique spinning studio Cyclebar have also opened in the project, and last month, Red Bear Brewing welcomed craft beer drinkers into its 7K SF ground-level space with an outdoor patio.