Thursday, June 10, 2004

First Potomac Realty Trust just keeps gobbling up Washington area real estate.

The Bethesda company, which specializes in acquiring and refurbishing flex and industrial properties, bought Aquia Commerce Center I & II, a 64,000-square-foot property in Stafford County, Va., for $11.2 million.

The trust has completed about $99 million in acquisitions since it went public in October. It has another $123 million of acquisitions under contract.

“We are pleased to add another solid property to our growing portfolio,” said Potomac’s chief executive officer, Doug Donatelli. “Aquia Commerce Center is well located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and we expect it to provide a strong, stabilized return.”

The Aquia Commerce Center, located on Interstate 95 near Quantico Marine Corps Base, is 100 percent leased by the U.S. Government.

Potomac has a 42-building portfolio totaling approximately 3 million square feet.

The Beach is back

Colonial Beach, one of the more popular vacation destinations during the 1940s and 1950s, is working to regain some of its past glory. The small beach town located off the Potomac River in Virginia’s Northern Neck is in the middle of a multimillion-dollar revitalization that includes new homes, a golf course and new hotels and restaurants.

Central to the plan is the rebuilding of the boardwalk damaged by Hurricane Isabel last year, and the renovation of municipal buildings and businesses along the waterfront.

A 1,000-unit golf course community is under construction inside the town limits, and an estimated 240 other houses are expected to be built. Several restaurants also recently completed renovations, and Michael Wardman, an Alexandria resident who owns a home in Colonial Beach, recently renovated and re-opened the historic Westmoreland Hotel.

Colonial Beach was a hot spot in the days when slot machines were legal in Maryland, and the town attracted gamblers on the boardwalk which straddled the border between Maryland and Virginia. But state laws made slots illegal in the 1960s, and Colonial Beach quickly became a sleepy beach town.

Efforts to revitalize the town are occurring whether slots are approved in Maryland or not, town officials said.

In other news…

• SuperBookDeals, a discount bookseller, bought its new headquarters at 9002 Red Branch Rd. in Columbia, Md. The company purchased the 23,000-square-foot building from the Martin Himeles Trust. Manekin, LLC represented the buyer and Corridor RF&S Real Estate represented the seller. Wachovia provided the financing. SuperBookDeals will relocate later this month from the 8,400-square-feet office space it had been leasing at 9051 Red Branch Road.

• Officials from the District of Columbia’s Housing Authority and developer Mi Casa Wednesday showed a three-bedroom town home at 519 Columbia Road NW, the fourteenth and final home built under the DCHA’s Scattered Site Demonstration Program. The program was designed to target former public housing in the District for renovation and encourage nonprofit developers to sell the properties to low-income, moderate-income and market-rate buyers.

• Tim Lemke can be reached at or 202/636-4836.

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