- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2002

Nobody knows for sure what will happen to all the office space now filled by WorldCom Inc.
The fate of the troubled phone and Internet provider's 1.3-million-square-foot campus in Ashburn, Va., is a hot topic, given that its design is not conducive to sale or even subletting.
The future of WorldCom's two buildings at Pentagon City now occupied by WorldCom's MCI Group subsidiary has question marks all around it, too.
Industry sources said that MCI, in an effort to raise cash, has put the two Pentagon City buildings on the market and wants to move out of the buildings by the end of the year.
With more than 500,000 square feet of space then available, the move would push the vacancy rate in the Crystal City-Arlington submarket from about 6 percent to nearly 10 percent.
Observers say that whoever decides to purchase the buildings will be stuck carrying the costs of the buildings until they can lease them again.
Leasing the buildings would be similar to leasing a brand-new development, except that the buildings are available now and the buyer must carry the cost of the buildings immediately, one real estate executive said.
Also, filling the buildings with tenants will still take at least a year, or perhaps as long as 18 months if the new owner can't find a single, large tenant for the entire space. On top of that cost, those in the industry said the buildings are in need of heavy renovation.
So who would be willing to take on these two buildings? Some said it could be a new face to the region. A buyer would have to be willing to shell out big bucks quickly to score a presence in the Washington market, observers said.
Another twist: Vacant buildings at Pentagon City could have a detrimental effect on nearby Crystal City, industry sources said. As it stands, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is scheduled to begin moving out of Crystal City in 2004. If the MCI buildings are vacant by 2003, Pentagon City could steal potential tenants from Crystal City.

Contractor to Consolidate
Anteon International Corp., a Fairfax-based technology contractor for the government, leased 140,826 square feet of space at 2231 Crystal Drive in order to streamline its office operations in Crystal City.
Anteon already has leased about 170,000 square feet in four buildings and 10 suites there, but those offices will be consolidated into the new space, located in Three Crystal Park.
Anteon said it will consolidate its offices for efficiency reasons, as it waits for its summer 2003 move into the new Federal Gateway complex, a 10-story, 287,000-square-foot complex across from the Navy Yard.

In other news
Plaza America, a $225 million mixed-used complex in Reston, snagged two more tenants this week. Dominion Engineering and the American Academy of Audiology leased about 14,000 square feet in the seven-story, 189,000-square-foot Plaza America Tower IV. Both groups will move into the plaza in October.
Tucon Construction Corp. was awarded a $1 million contract to renovate Arcola Elementary School in Loudoun County.
The Sterling, Va., firm will replace the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems of the 43,000-square-foot school and install new acoustic ceilings. Renovations are expected to be done in time for the start of fall classes.
Beds will replace books along one small stretch of Tenleytown in the District.
Mattress Warehouse said it would move into 4,400 square feet of space located on the first floor at 4435 to 4437 Wisconsin Ave. NW, a space previously occupied by the International Travel Bookstore.

Property Lines runs every Friday. Tim Lemke can be reached at 202-636-4836 or [email protected]

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