CommonWealth Buys Trophy D.C. Building from Shorenstein for $198M

Hamilton Square, a former department store repurposed into an office building situated only a block from the White House, has been purchased by CommonWealth Partners from Shorenstein Properties for $198 million.

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

Hamilton Square, a former department store repurposed into an office building situated only a block from the White House, has been purchased by CommonWealth Partners for $198 million. The seller was Shorenstein Properties L.L.C., of San Francisco. Eastdil Secured managing directors John Kevill, Collins Ege and Nick Pappas and vice president Sean McDermott helped arrange the building’s sale.

Shorenstein had bought the building in 2003 as part of a fund worth roughly $750 million, Kevill told Commercial Property Executive, adding that the property was sold because the fund had met its promised returns.

CommonWealth, of Los Angeles, bought the property on behalf of CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Kevill said, which is investing in best-in-class properties for long-term holds. Institutional investors right now are looking for, more than anything else, strong, long-term, risk-adjusted returns.

Ege noted that this was CommonWealth’s first purchase in the District of Columbia.

Hamilton Square was the result of a complete redevelopment, completed in 1999, of the former Garfinckel’s department store at 600 14th Street NW. Tenants of the nine-story, 248,500-square-foot building include IBM, Pepper Hamilton, Managed Funds Association and Capital One. It’s also home to the Hamilton Restaurant, a popular venue for food and music.

In the redevelopment, architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill retained the building’s original Art Deco limestone façade with bronze-alloy windows, then added all modern finishes. Other features include finished ceiling heights of more than 10 feet on floors one through seven; a green rooftop deck for tenant events with views of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Treasury Building and National Mall; and extensive column-free space on the western portion of each floor, giving tenants the ability to configure extra-large conference facilities or board rooms.