- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Real estate developer Akridge has started a $150 million fund to speed up its acquisition of office properties in the Washington area.

“What makes this special is that it’s a discretionary source of spending for us,” said Matthew Klein, Akridge president.

Real estate developers traditionally identify a property for a project, and then seek investors to help them buy it.

The Akridge Office Fund allows the company to buy the property immediately without seeking investors each time.

“In a market like this, that’s really important and relevant,” Mr. Klein said.

Akridge would not be limited by development guidelines that vary from one project to another depending on requirements of each outside investor.

The firm accumulated the money for the fund from institutional investors, such as Aegon USA Realty Advisors Inc., and its own contributions.

The investment fund appears to be well-timed to take advantage of a strong outlook for the D.C. commercial real estate market, said Chuck Blessing, manager for the D.C. office of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co.

“Because the demand is still very strong, buyers are forced to have their financing and equity in place,” Mr. Blessing said.

Any delay could sink a developer’s chances of acquiring properties.

“There’s a lot of capital on the sidelines looking for good real estate investments,” Mr. Blessing said.

Akridge closed on its first investment for the fund Oct. 12.

The company acquired Falls Church Gateway, a 60,000-square-foot complex of three office buildings, for about $12 million. The developer plans to improve the buildings to increase potential rent earnings from them.

In other news …

• Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle has completed the sale of two office properties totaling 347,700 square feet in the District and Vienna, Va.

The firm sold the eight-story building at 2021 K St. NW to Rockrose Development for $70 million. Tenants in the 156,000-square-foot building, formerly owned by LaSalle Investment Management, include George Washington University and the Associated Press.

Jones Lang LaSalle also sold a 191,744-square-foot office building in Northern Virginia’s Vienna Technology Park to the Goldstar Group for $25.4 million. The building and adjacent warehouse, formerly owned by Rushmark Properties, sits on a 16.83-acre site that was one of the few large tracts still available in Northern Virginia.

• Drug development company Vanda Pharmaceuticals is relocating its headquarters to the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University.

The company is leasing 17,000 square feet of lab and office space in the building at 9605 Medical Center Drive, across the street from its old headquarters at the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Rockville. The new location will nearly double the company’s space.

“Residing on the Johns Hopkins campus enables us to place our scientists practically side by side with some of the top academic research teams in the world,” said Chip Clark, Vanda’s chief business officer.

Terms of the deal, brokered by Spaulding & Slye Colliers, were not disclosed.

• Property Lines runs Mondays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail [email protected]

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