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French Investor AXA Enters D.C. Market With $140M Bethesda Acquisition

Montgomery Tower, a 12-story building at 4550 Montgomery Ave. in Bethesda

A French investor that closed two of the United States' largest real estate deals in 2016 by selling a combined $3.55B of office properties has now set its sights on buying properties in the D.C. market. 

Paris-based AXA Equitable Financial Services acquired Montgomery Tower, a 366K SF Downtown Bethesda office building, for $140M from MRP Realty, the Washington Business Journal reports. A source confirmed the deal to Bisnow

The sale of the 12-story tower at 4550 Montgomery Ave. comes to roughly $382/SF. Montgomery Tower is part of Bethesda Crossing, a 1960s-era complex that MRP acquired with Rockpoint in 2013 and invested $30M to renovate. The JV sold the other two towers in the complex to J.P. Morgan Asset Management in 2015. 

Montgomery Tower appears to be the AXA's first acquisition in the D.C. region. The investor in January 2016 sold 787 Seventh Ave. in Manhattan for $1.9B, New York City's biggest office deal last year. In May, it sold another Manhattan property, 1285 Sixth Ave., for $1.65B. 

AXA's shift from seller to buyer and its entrance into the D.C. market could be a sign of more deals to come. Another foreign investor, Tokyo-based Unizo, broke into the D.C. market in March 2016 and proceeded to acquire a total of nine buildings for $1.4B.