- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mark down Post Properties as the latest real estate company to realize that expanding in the Washington area market makes good business sense.

The Atlanta apartment firm paid $83 million for the Lincoln at Tysons Corner, a 500-unit apartment complex near the Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. It’s the first purchase for the company in more than a decade, and marks a shift in its focus toward larger, stable residential markets.

Alder Branch Lincoln was the seller of the property, which was built in 1990. The $83 million price is the second-highest of any apartment complex sold in the Washington area this year. The purchase includes $47 million of debt, which carries an interest rate of 6.8 percent and matures in June 2007.

“We’re very bullish on the Tysons Corner market,” said David P. Stockert, Post president and chief executive officer. “It’s clearly a commercial base for the area, and there’s not a lot of housing available of this kind.”

Mr. Stockert said he had no reservations about buying an apartment complex around Washington because most apartment buildings here are close to full despite the low interest rates that have encouraged people to buy rather than rent.

“[Washington] has had lots of folks getting into all sorts of real estate, both owner and rental,” Mr. Stockert said. “We’re trying to be in the markets with the most economic prosperity.”

Indeed, the apartment vacancy rate in the Washington area is about 3.1 percent, compared with 6.7 percent nationally, according to Delta Associates. The community it is purchasing in Tysons Corner, to be called Post Tysons Corner, is about 97 percent leased. Apartments at Post Tysons Corner will rent for between $1,200 and $1,800 per month.

Mr. Stockert said the company will spend $2 million in renovations and upgrades on the Post Tysons Corner project. It already owns two apartment communities in the District as well as one in Fairfax and Centreville, and is planning a new community in the Carlyle development in Alexandria. It owns 27,709 apartment homes in 70 communities nationwide.

In other news

• Major streets in Crystal City will become two-way thoroughfares beginning Monday. Crystal Drive, 20th Street, 18th Street and 15th Street will open to traffic going both ways, as part of major transportation improvements in the dense section of Arlington. The changes were mandated as part of the Crystal City redevelopment project.

• Gingery Development Group of Rockville and the Tower Companies of North Bethesda broke ground for Collington Trade Center, a 200,000-square-foot warehouse and office complex in Upper Marlboro. It is the first project of its kind in more than a decade. Construction is expected to finish by the end of the year.

• Vie de France Yamazaki Inc., a national food-service bakery and retail operator, restructured and extended the lease for its corporate headquarters at 2070 Chain Bridge Road in Vienna. The company will occupy 24,298 square feet for eight more years.

Property Lines runs Fridays. Tim Lemke can be reached at tlemke@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-4836.

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