DC Bar Buys Land in Mt. Vernon Triangle to Build HQ
The DC Bar has rented office space since it was founded in 1972—at 1101 K since 2010. Well, this ain't 1972 (even though the moderators on CNBC last night sort of made it feel like Laugh-In). On Wednesday, the DC Bar announced that it's purchasing land in the Mount Vernon Triangle area to design and develop a new HQ at 901 4th St NW.
At the signing: Wilkes Co chairman Sandy Wilkes, DC Bar CEO Katherine Mazzaferri, DC Bar COO Victor Velazquez, and Quadrangle Development Corp president Chris Gladstone. The new HQ will measure about 100k SF, of which 32k SF will be available for rent for retail or office space. Total project cost is estimated to be between $67.5 and $70.5 million, with $20.5 million for the land and the remainder for design and construction. The headquarters will be part of a larger 2.1M SF development called Mount Vernon Place.
The project is expected to be finished in late 2017 or early 2018. Over the following 30 years, the Bar anticipates saving at least $25M to $30M through owning its own space. Office rents in downtown DC have grown nearly 3% each year for the past two decades. The Bar says favorable interest rates and real estate market conditions played into the decision to acquire a building.
How will it impact dues? They may increase up to $7 for the first five years, though the Bar expects owning its building to reduce pressure on dues increases longer-term. The Board of Governors has started a Building Advisory Task Force to monitor the project and give progress reports. DC isn't alone in owning: according to the ABA, California, Florida and Texas state bars also own their buildings, as do three-quarters of all large and medium bars.