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October 29, 2012

CNN’s DC Home Trades for $107M

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

The 298,500-square-foot office building at 820 First St. in the northeast sector of Washington, D.C., has come under new ownership. In a $107 million transaction, an affiliate of Harbor Group International L.L.C. purchased the fully leased property, a portion of which serves as the local headquarters to CNN, from Greenebaum & Rose Associates.

Harbor Group didn’t do it alone in the purchase of 820 First, which last traded in 1997. Affiliates of Capstone Equities and Image Capital were investment partners in in the deal. Commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley orchestrated the sale of the property on behalf of Greenebaum.

Developed in 1990, 820 First is part of the Union Center Plaza office complex, located directly across from Union Station in the city’s Capitol Hill North submarket. In addition to CNN, tenants on the roster at the 11-story tower include the U.S. General Services Administration and Accenture, to name a few.

Although the building is full, Harbor does not plan to take the occupancy level for granted. “A capital improvement plan focused on elevator modernization and energy controls should positively affect the property’s performance and aid the leasing and tenant retention efforts,” Jordan E. Slone, Harbor chairman and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Investors remain quite keen on the office market in Washington, D.C., as evidenced by the numbers. During the first nine months of 2012, the year-over-year total number of transactions increased, reaching $3.6 billion, according to a third quarter report by Cassidy Turley. However, the dollar amount decreased 18 percent. Price tags were a point of contention for would-be sellers. During the first three quarters, 41 percent of office listings were pulled compared to a mere 18 percent during the same period in 2011. But it’s all relative. “Despite that slowdown, the Washington metro area still ranks #2 behind Manhattan in terms of dollar volume,” per the report.