Renewed Building Projects Accent Strong Real Estate Market
Cleary, Mike, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Two recently announced real estate projects highlight growth in both the District's real estate market and its legal profession.
The Georgetown law firm Swidler & Berlin said it was talking about expanding into new space next door to its Washington Harbour offices, after a Fort Worth real estate investment trust acquired the 901 30th St. NW property and the rights to develop a proposed 125,000-square-foot office building there.
Crescent Real Estate Equities is discussing plans for the 60,000-square-foot lot next to Washington Harbour, which it acquired for $161 million in February, said Roger Frankel, managing partner of Swidler & Berlin.
Crescent Potomac Harbor LLC, an affiliate of the Crescent real estate investment trust, bought 901 30th St. NW from Rosewood Hotels and Resorts Inc. of Dallas in April, said Rosewood's spokeswoman Teresa Delaney.
The deal comes after Crescent bought the development option from Armada/Hoffler Corp., a Chesapeake, Va.-based developer, which planned to build a 125,000-square-foot office building there, said John Babb, a development manager for Armada/Hoffler.
In the 1980s, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts Inc. of Dallas bought the 901 30th St. NW lot, with plans to build a hotel by 1990. But the economy collapsed before it could build, so their plans changed to raising an office building. Rosewood officials refused to talk about their former property.
Another firm, Latham & Watkins signed a long-expected 160,000-square-foot lease on Lincoln Square, a 400,000-square-foot project at 555 11th St. NW being developed by Lawrence Ruben Co. Inc. of New York. The project, which the law firm would anchor, broke ground two weeks ago.
The terms in both deals were not disclosed, and Crescent officials would not discuss their plans.
Swidler & Berlin has added 100 lawyers and more than doubled its size over the past six years and needs additional room to accommodate "less explosive but steady growth," Mr. Frankel said.
Although the law firm wouldn't be the only tenant in the building, it would take up a large proportion of the space in the building, in addition to its existing offices, he said.
Crescent's $161 million purchase price for Washington Harbour, a 559,000-square-foot office and retail complex of two buildings at 3000 and 3050 K St. NW, amounts to $288 a square foot.
Lincoln Square has been another long-planned project that revived along with the District's commercial real estate market. It will contain 330,000 square feet of office space, 34,000 square feet of above-grade and below-grade retail space, an eight-screen cinema and a three-level parking garage. …