Thursday, May 20, 2004

Grosvenor USA Ltd. entered the Northern Virginia office market with a bang.

The D.C. developer paid $80 million for Carlyle Gateway I and II, top-tier office buildings next to the new Federal Courthouse and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (PTO) in Alexandria. The buildings total 250,000 square feet and are more than 95 percent leased.

Grosvenor bought the buildings from Cousins Properties Inc., an Atlanta company that developed them. Cousins will remain the property manager.

The $320-per-square-foot price tag is nearly double the average price on buildings sold last year and one of the highest on record in the Washington area. They are the first office buildings in Northern Virginia bought by Grosvenor, which owns several buildings in downtown Washington and Montgomery County.

“The Carlyle Gateway acquisition represents a strategic addition to our Washington, D.C., metropolitan area portfolio,” said Andrew Galbraith, senior vice president of Grosvenor. “The Carlyle submarket is expected to grow along with the build out of the PTO.”

Carlyle I and II are part of a new mixed-use community in Alexandria that will be anchored by the new courthouse and the PTO, which is expected to be finished in 2006.

Cousins said it sold the buildings because the move fit with its business model of developing properties, leasing them to near capacity and selling them at top dollar.

Again, more homes

The District made available 16 properties available to developers willing to build new homes under the Home Again revitalization initiative.

The properties, a mix of vacant lots and buildings, are in the Bellevue, Deanwood, Columbia Heights, Shaw and Trinidad neighborhoods.

Under the Home Again program, the District gains site control of vacant and abandoned properties to sell them to developers who renovate them into affordable homes. At least 30 percent of the units that developers renovate through Home Again must be sold to families making less than the area median income of $40,000 per year.

Bids on the properties are expected by July 14.

The District also said this week that it selected Castle Development and New Start LLC to build 29 housing units on 11 vacant and abandoned properties in Anacostia, Columbia Heights, Deanwood and Shaw. All of the homes will be marketed to families making less than 60 percent of the area median income, or about $24,000 per year.

In other news

• Spaulding and Slye Colliers’ structured-finance group arranged for $30.8 million in debt and equity financing for the Columbia Acquisition Portfolio, seven buildings owned by Baltimore-based Creaney and Smith Group.

• Columbia real estate services company Manekin hired two brokers to work on leasing, sales and development in Charles and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland, where the company previously had no operations. Ray Mertz and Joe Wustner will be based in Waldorf.

• TMW Property Funds, a unit of Prudential Real Estate Investors, hired Boyken International Inc. as construction adviser for 1875 Pennsylvania Ave., a 13-story building for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. The law firm’s lease of more than 500,000 square feet in the building is the city’s largest.

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

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