Brookfield Properties Picks Up 650 Mass Ave. in D.C. for $113M
- Dec 03, 2010
December 3, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
The flurry of office transactions in Washington, D.C., continues as Brookfield Office Properties takes over ownership of the 317,000-square-foot building at 650 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Brookfield plunked down $113 million in cash to buy the property from Washington Television Center L.L.C.
The eight-story structure, which also features a four-story parking facility, occupies a corner lot in the city’s East End submarket and counts educational software provider Blackboard Inc. as its lead tenant. The company occupies 129,000 square feet of space under a lease agreement that expires in June 2018.
The acquisition increases Brookfield’s presence in the Washington, D.C., area to 31 office assets offering an aggregate 7.6 million square feet. If the portfolio’s occupancy level of 93 percent is any indication of Brookfield’s leasing skills, then the 74 percent occupancy level at its newly acquired property may very well go on the upswing in the near future.
The trade of 650 Massachusetts continues the upward trend in office transaction volume in the District. In November alone, the 177,500-square-foot building at 1501 M St. changed hands in a $60 million deal, the 305,000-square-foot property at 1110 Vermont sold for a rumored sum of approximately $140 million and the 190,500-square-foot 2121 K St. fetched $82 million.
And there is no sign that the pattern is going to end anytime soon. “More properties are going on the market because owners are seeing that buyers are willing to pay the price they think the assets are worth,” Margarita Foster, director of research with commercial real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis Co., told CPE. “That gap in pricing that existed has begun to shrink, and while prices won’t go higher quickly or radically, they will probably continue to inch up steadily.”
The New Year will bring a change in the market. “Most of the sales activity has been related to core, fully leased properties, but in the coming year, investors will be looking at value-add properties because they’ve realized that the fundamentals in the market are strengthening,” Foster said. The vacancy rate in Washington’s central business district dropped from 13 to 12.9 percent in the third quarter, according to a Grubb & Ellis report, and absorption totaled 512,100 square feet.