- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Real estate developer JBG Cos. started construction this week on a new 255,000-square-foot office building across from the U.S. Capitol.

The building, at 300 New Jersey Ave. NW, is going up in a section of the city already filled with commercial buildings, many of them providing strong returns for investors despite downturns in the housing segment of the real estate market.

When it is completed in 2009, the building will replace a parking garage with a 10-story structure that includes nearly column-free floor plates and a nne-story glass atrium overlooking the Capitol.

The law firm of Jones Day, which already leases adjacent offices, plans to expand into the building. Jones Day has agreed to lease 150,000 square feet on the top four floors for an undisclosed sum.

The building was designed by the London-based architectural firm Richard Rogers Partnership in a style that blends “contemporary architecture into a historic context,” said Dean Cinkala, a JBG partner. Clark Construction Group, based in Bethesda, is the general contractor.

The JBG venture continues a recent fast pace among developers to build newer and more valuable structures on top of old ones in Washington’s highest-priced commercial districts.

About 2.5 million square feet of building space is being redeveloped in the District, according to the real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

“With such high demand and limited vacancy, redevelopment is one of the few options for meeting large space requirements,” said Holly Davis, a Jones Lang LaSalle senior vice president.

One example is the building at 1875 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, which opened this spring. It was built on the site of the two demolished buildings.

Its location — across from the World Bank and a short walk to the White House — attracted a large law firm and a buyer willing to pay $704 per square foot, one of Washington’s highest selling prices for an office building.

Only a few blocks away, 1700 K St. NW was developed out of the previous 1700 and 1730 K St. buildings, which were built in the 1950s. The new 390,000-square-foot building is 97 percent leased, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

“With streetscape that is completely saturated, most often these development opportunities occur where buildings already lie,” Miss Davis said.

In other news …

• Pembroke Real Estate has purchased the 413,000 square feet of mixed office and retail space at 1201-1225 New York Ave. NW for an undisclosed sum.

The 13-story building and surrounding property near the Washington Convention Center is Boston-based Pembroke’s second acquisition in Washington.

Pembroke, the real estate investment arm of Fidelity Investments, specializes in developing signature properties in major metropolitan areas.

• Trimark Corp. has started a major renovation of South Cherry Plaza, a 32,000-square-foot retail center at 6537 Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church.

The Falls Church company plans to build a new facade and marquee sign, replace the roof, install new mechanical systems and expand the parking lot in an attempt to attract retail tenants.

The renovation is one of several redevelopment projects along the Route 50 commercial corridor.

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

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