Cassidy Turley Hits $2B Mark in D.C. Office Investment Sales

The year-to-date figure marks a 450 percent increase in activity for the firm from mid-2010 to mid-2011.

June 7, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

We’re only halfway through 2011 and already, commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley has orchestrated the sale of an aggregate $2 billion in office assets this year in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. market. The figure marks a 450 percent increase in activity for the firm from mid-2010 to mid-2011.

Cassidy Turley’s D.C. investment sales team has been on quite a roll. So far this year, the firm has brokered a whopping 28 transactions. May was a particularly fruitful month. While the weather was mild, Cassidy Turley was steaming hot, closing two deals valued at a total $500 million. Acting on behalf of an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners L.L.C., the team secured a Tishman Speyer affiliate to purchase the 387,700 square-foot fully leased office tower at 1300 N. 17th St. in Arlington, Va., for $205 million.

May also brought Cassidy Turley’s facilitation of the sale of two buildings encompassing approximately 600,000 square feet of office space at the mixed-use Waterfront Station project in the District to USAA Real Estate Co. for $356 million. The price tag constituted a notable profit for the seller, a partnership involving Forest City Enterprises, which had developed the structures at a cost of approximately $245.9 million.

Despite the fact that the credit market has yet to completely defrost—it has melted a tad but it remains icy cold for most–Cassidy Turley has been able to take any D.C. office sale campaign to a substantial pool of viable investors. Hopeful buyers come from near and very, very far to vie for office assets in the city and take the form of entities ranging from REITs to pension fund advisors to wealthy individuals. Why the overwhelming interest? “It comes back to fundamentals and the backstop we’re afforded via the federal government,” Drew Flood, senior managing director with Cassidy Turley, told CPE. “It allows people to be more comfortable with underwriting.”

And those fundamentals are quite alluring. As Cassidy Turley notes in a recent report, “D.C. is different.” Indeed, it is. At the close of 2010, the unemployment rate in D.C. was 6 percent, the lowest in the country, thanks to both the private and public sectors. Additionally, as per the report: “The District’s economy continued to benefit from the Federal Government’s expanded role in the economy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, activities supported by the 2010 fiscal budget and the on-going financial market rescue efforts. These have all been major factors in Washington D.C., absorbing unprecedented amounts of office space while other markets posted absorption figures well below historical averages.”

But, it appears there’s more to Cassidy Turley’s head-turning achievement in office sales this year than just market conditions. The firm is responsible for having brokered over 50 percent of all office investment sales transactions in metropolitan Washington, D.C., year-to-date. They didn’t divulge the secret of their success to CPE by deadline.