- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

Eleven builders have offered to redevelop the old wax museum site in the District, including a Washington company that wants to place a big hotel on the property.

The District this year asked developers to submit proposals for a "headquarters hotel" near the new $756 million Washington Convention Center, which is under construction at Seventh and M streets NW.

The hotel is needed because the new center could bring hundreds of visitors to the District for big meetings and conventions each week, city leaders say.

Meanwhile, the National Capital Revitalization Corp., a government-chartered company that develops property in the District, also asked builders to submit proposals for housing and shops at the former site of a wax museum at Fifth and K streets NW. The three-acre lot is now used as a parking lot.

Monument Realty responded to both requests for proposals with a single plan.

The Washington company has proposed building a hotel with 1,166 rooms in addition to 750 apartments and condominiums at the wax museum site.

"There are few options for a hotel of the size needed near the convention center. We believe this is the best one," says Michael Darby, a Monument Realty partner.

The other developers who submitted plans for the wax museum site include Lowe Enterprises, which has proposed 310 apartments and condos, a grocery store and an art gallery, and ACI, which has proposed 852 housing units, a 457-room hotel and day care and fitness centers.

Trinity Financial, a Boston company, has proposed building Ellington Court, named for famed Washington jazz musician Duke Ellington. The project would include a theater that would be used by the African Continuum Theater Co., shops and 43 joint "live-work" spaces for artists.

The Trinity project has been endorsed by several community groups, including the church-backed Downtown Cluster of Congregations.

The proposals submitted by Trinity and other out-of-down developers, including New York-based Paladium, shows the District is open for business despite the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, says Elinor Bacon, president and chief executive of the National Capital Revitalization Corp.

After the attacks, the deadline for developers to submit proposals for the wax museum property was extended a week until Sept. 21, Ms. Bacon says.

"The fact that developers continued to submit proposals [after Sept. 11] is extremely encouraging," she says.

The developers will pitch their plans to the corporation's board of directors Nov. 15. The board is scheduled to choose a proposal before Dec. 17.

Fannie Mae expands

Fannie Mae is expanding in Herndon.

The home mortgage giant has signed a 10-year lease for Monument IV, a 229,000-square-foot office building in the Worldgate business park. Fannie Mae will lease the entire nine-story building, which is still under construction.

Fannie Mae already leases about 320,000 square feet at Worldgate, where it houses some of its computer operations and personnel offices.

Fannie Mae's corporate headquarters is in Northwest. The company is leasing space at Worldgate "to accommodate our near-term growth, as we continue to survey options for meeting the company's long-term space needs," according to a statement by Barbara Lang, Fannie Mae's vice president of corporate services.

Monument IV is the third phase of 790,000 square feet of premium office space that Washington developer Monument Realty is building in Worldgate. Construction on the final office building, the 190,000-square-foot Monument III, is expected to begin next year.

Other developers at Worldgate include Apollo Real Estate Advisers and Prudential Real Estate Investors. Brokerages Spaulding & Slye Colliers, R.M. Powell and Co. and Millennium Realty Advisors arranged the new Fannie Mae lease.

In other news

• The new 200,000-square-foot office building at 2099 Pennsylvania Ave. NW has been sold for $83.2 million, or $417 a square foot. A partnership led by investors US Office Holdings LP and Blue Capital Investments purchased the building, which opened in January. The Kaempfer Co., a Washington builder, developed the property at the site of the former Park Lane Building.

• Anteon, an information technology and engineering company, will lease 145,000 square feet at Federal Gateway, a building planned at 140 M St. SE, near the proposed headquarters of the federal Transportation Department. Brokerage Julien J. Studley helped arrange the lease. Federal Gateway will be a joint venture of William C. Smith & Co. and Spaulding & Slye Colliers. Construction on the 10-story, 287,000-square-foot building is expected to begin this year.

• Washington law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson will lease an additional 30,420 square feet at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The firm also occupies 117,000 square feet on the building's eighth and ninth floors; its new space will be on the fifth floor. The American Council of Life Insurance currently occupies the fifth-floor space, but is moving to a new building at 101 Constitution Ave. NW next year. Studley arranged Fried, Frank's new lease.

• Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or cbaker@washingtontimes.com.



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