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Exclusive: Goodwin Procter Signs 80K SF LOI At JBG's 1900 N Development

The JBG Cos. has signed a letter of intent with a law firm to pre-lease 80K SF at 1900 N, a 259K SF office development it has planned near Dupont Circle.

A rendering of JBG Smith's planned mixed-use development at 1900 N St. NW

Goodwin Procter has agreed to occupy the top three floors of the building, Goodwin partner and real estate counsel Alex Randall tells Bisnow. He expects the deal to close within the month. The law firm plans to make the move in Q4 2019 when its 108K SF lease expires at Boston Properties' 901 New York Ave. NW. Savills Studley represented the tenant. 

JBG had been waiting for a pre-lease before breaking ground on the $137M development, according to the public presentation Vornado released following the announcement of the companies' $8.4B merger to create JBG Smith.

While the new lease on paper represents a 28K SF footprint reduction for Goodwin, Randall said it will only have to downsize about 16K SF because the firm had left 12K SF of the New York Avenue office unoccupied as potential expansion space.

"We were very conflicted," Randall said. "We like our current location and space and landlord, Boston Properties, very much. What it finally came down to was Boston Properties worked very hard to keep us, but ultimately JBG made us an offer we couldn’t refuse." 

A filing JBG Smith submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 3 lists 1900 N as a near-term development, a designation not given to the three-building NoMa project it has put on hold. The filing says 1900 N will have 259K SF of rentable office space and 12,500 SF of retail. 

In 2013 and 2014, the Chevy Chase-based developer acquired a series of properties at the corner of 20th Street NW and N Street NW, which sits two blocks from Dupont Circle and is part of the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District. The plans it presented at the time called for combining the existing building at 1233 20th St. NW with a newly constructed building at 1920 N St. NW to create a single, 130-foot-tall mixed-use building. JBG declined to comment on the deal or provide a construction timeline.

Demolition is underway at JBG's 1900 N development site near Dupont Circle

The developer has begun demolishing the building on the corner of the site, the former home of Eli's Restaurant. Fencing has been placed around the entire site and several building permits have been filed. 

JBG told Goodwin Procter it planned to begin demolition after signing the LOI, Randall said, and hoped to go vertical this fall to have the building ready for the firm's late-2019 move in. 

Randall would not discuss the specific terms of the lease, but he said the firm was attracted to the new development because it will have an efficient and collaborative floor plan in a premier location. The firm had previously been in the Dupont Circle area before moving to the East End in 2004. 

"Dupont Circle is a terrific location," Randall said. "It’s centrally located and has great access to Metro. It has numerous amenities in the immediate area with restaurants and other amenities. It’s hard to beat in terms of DC. It’s the corner of Main and Main."