- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2006

A major part of the $2.3 billion deal to turn over the commercial and residential properties of Alexandria’s Mark Winkler Co. to two other real estate firms was completed Thursday evening.

Mark Winkler Co.’s commercial properties, land and management operations, which include about 2.9 million square feet of commercial space in 32 buildings in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia, were sold to Duke Realty of Indianapolis. Duke Realty paid $855 million for the properties.

The residential properties, which include more than 5,000 apartments in 12 communities in Northern Virginia and the shopping center at Mark Center in Alexandria, are going to JBG Investment Fund of Chevy Chase. The JBG deal is scheduled to close next week.

The deal puts an end to the family-owned Mark Winkler Co.’s 60-year presence as a real estate development and management company in the Washington area.

“There’s a time to play and a time to go home,” said Randal Kell, chief executive officer of Mark Winkler Co. “We’ve talked for about 10 years about the right time to exit and diversify our investments and we thought this was the time.”

Mark Winkler Co., which was named after the company’s founder, will exist only as an investment company after it rids itself of its real estate holdings by late spring or early summer.

It also is shedding 375 employees, who will move to Duke Realty and JBG. It will operate from an office in Old Town Alexandria with only six employees.

“The Winkler family has had an investment business outside of real estate for many years,” Mr. Kell said. “Now we’ll just expand that business.”

Duke Realty Chief Executive Officer Denny Oklak said his company would be more aggressive in its development projects, including constructing some buildings before tenants sign leases.

Mark Winkler Co. built office buildings only if they were leased before construction started.

Duke Realty already plans to build an industrial building near Washington Dulles International Airport this year.

In addition to the office and industrial space, Duke Realty is getting 166 acres of undeveloped land for future development.

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