- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 19, 2003

Anyone looking for a reason why the District is one of the nation’s best office markets should look at the International Square complex downtown.

The three-building complex, at 18th and I streets NW, is home to the International Monetary Fund, a stable, government-oriented tenant with terrific credit. But the IMF said it will relocate in 2005, leaving some in the real estate industry wondering how to fill the more than 1 million square feet of office space.

Enter the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky.

The D.C.-based firm, which currently occupies about 235,000 square feet at 2101 L St. NW, signed a 15-year lease to fill more than 400,000 square feet at the complex. The move highlights the role government agencies and law firms have played in stabilizing the office market in the District.

Dickstein Shapiro said it is expanding and wants to get all of its employees under one roof.

“We selected International Square because it offers us the ability to efficiently house all of our Washington, D.C., operations under one roof, while accommodating the firm’s growth during the next 15 years,” said Angelo Arcadipane, managing partner.

International Square is owned by CarrAmerica, one of the largest real estate service firms in the District, and sits atop the Farragut West Metro station.

New zoning at Tysons

Fairfax County supervisors this week approved zoning changes that would allow an additional 2 million square feet of office, retail and residential development in Tysons Corner.

The new development, called Tysons II, is a key part of Fairfax County’s plans to create high-density development around an extension of Metro to Washington Dulles International Airport. It will feature nine high-rise towers between the two existing malls in Tysons, with pedestrian walkways and bridges, plus an amphitheater.

The development was backed by a host of business and civic groups. But it was opposed by the county staff and Planning Commission and “smart growth” advocates who said it would boost congestion. Representatives of developer Lerner Enterprises spent much of their time before the county’s board of supervisors attempting to allay fears that the project would increase traffic and discourage public transit.

In the end, Lerner agreed to donate the land for the Metro station and pay for the widening of Route 123 and other road improvements within the complex. The developer also will pay $400,000 toward school construction and $450,000 in affordable housing units.

Also, if funding for the rail project is not in place by Jan. 31, 2005, county supervisors can change their minds and revert the site to previous zoning, which allows only a smaller, more traditional suburban office park.

“What it took was for the board to realize that if you’re ever going to have transit-oriented development, the time to plan for it is now,” said Ben Tompkins, a lawyer with Reed Smith, the law firm representing Lerner.

Mr. Tompkins said support for a rail extension into Fairfax County could increase now that the Tysons II project has been approved, because many lawmakers said they will support the extension only if there is significant transit-based development alongside it.

“This provides the impetus for the financing plan,” Mr. Tompkins said.

In other news …

• Rockville-based Forrester Construction won about $10 million in contracts for work at the National Naval Medical Center. The company will repair and upgrade a 28,000-square-foot lab, and renovate the 9,000-square-foot emergency room.

• Tim Lemke can be reached at tlemke@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-4836.

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