- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two major real estate developers yesterday announced a joint venture to invest $2.5 billion to redevelop 93 properties in the Washington area.

The venture of JBG Cos. and MacFarlane Partners, called JBG Urban, plans to develop offices, hotels, retail and residences, mostly near Metrorail stations.

“Our investment will further the development of high-density, commercial and residential space around transit hubs, which we believe will encourage residents to use the Metro system as a primary means of transportation,” said Victor B. MacFarlane, managing principal of MacFarlane Partners.

Their plans call for redeveloping 8.5 million square feet of office space, 2.2 million square feet of retail space, 13,200 apartments and condominiums and 2,500 hotel rooms.

The region’s government officials said the venture would help revitalize parts of the metropolitan area at little or no cost to taxpayers.

“This is a big deal,” said Sean Madigan, spokesman for the D.C. Office of Planning and Economic Development. “It’s certainly a policy of the District to encourage people to live and work near transit stations.”

Chevy-Chase firm JBG Cos. already owns the land and buildings of the 93 properties slated for redevelopment. MacFarlane Partners, a San Francisco real estate investment firm, is providing much of the capital. In some cases, several of the buildings sit on a single property for a total of 42 sites.

Of those, four are in the District, 25 in Northern Virginia and 13 in the Maryland suburbs. About 60 percent are near Metro stations.

The projects would include Capitol Square, a planned 1.6 million-square-foot mixed-use development near the intersection of New York Avenue Northeast and First Street Northeast in the District’s NoMa, or North of Massachusetts Avenue, neighborhood. The developers plan several buildings that would house retail, offices, a hotel and multifamily residences. They would be near the New York Avenue Metro station.

Alexandria would see a renovation of Mark Center, a 150-acre mixed-use campus near Interstate 395. The site is used primarily for retail and apartments but would be redeveloped to include multifamily residences.

Construction already has started on some of the properties. Others still are in planning stages.

When they are completed by a scheduled date of 2013, they would have a combined value of about $10 billion, according to the joint venture.

Last year, developers started work on 9.4 million square feet of commercial projects within a half-mile of Metro stations, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a regional planning association.

Paul DesJardin, chief of housing and planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, called the JBG Urban plan “a fairly significant investment.”

“It’s the equivalent of what we’ve seen in an entire year,” he said.

Other properties the joint venture plans for redevelopment are:

• Twinbrook Commons, a mixed-use “transit village” under development on 26 acres surrounding the Twinbrook Metrorail station in Rockville. It would include apartments, retail and office space.

• Bethesda North Marriott, a 225-room hotel attached to the Bethesda North Conference Center. The joint venture said it would add 225 hotel rooms and apartments.

• Central Place I and II, a project that would renovate an entire city block in Arlington above the Rosslyn Metrorail station with offices, retail and residences.

• —Rosslyn Gateway North and South, which consists of two office buildings near the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington. They would be redeveloped into offices, retail, a hotel and residences.

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