Normandy Real Estate Reports Purchase of D.C.’s National Press Building

The iconic building in the East End sold to Normandy Real Estate Partners for $155 million.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

National Press Building, Washington, D.C.
National Press Building, Washington, D.C.

Washington—News flash: Normandy Real Estate Partners has snapped up the approximately 490,000-square-foot National Press Building in Washington, D.C.  The real estate operator and investment manager bought the landmark office and retail asset from affiliates of AEW Capital Management LP and Quadrangle Development Corp. for $155 million, according to District of Columbia property records.

The sellers of the asset, located at 529 14th St. NW. in the city’s East End submarket, didn’t exactly come out ahead on this one. AEW and Quadrangle had purchased the National Press Building from Resource America Inc. in 2011 for $167.5 million. However, it was a good deal for Normandy, which is more than a little keen on the Washington, D.C., market.

“We have been actively investing in this marketplace for 15 years or more,” a Normandy spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive. “It’s a world-class gateway city which we believe is experiencing improving fundamentals at this time.”

Originally developed in 1927, the National Press Building has a long and storied history. For nearly 90 years, the 14-story tower has been home base for the world-renowned National Press Club, which has played host to every U.S. president since Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the likes of Yasser Arafat and the Dalai Lama. And the fact that the building’s block has its own area code—like the White House, its neighbor two blocks away—just adds to the property’s iconic status. The asset also boasts approximately 47,000 square feet of retail space.

The last 10 years have brought $15 million in comprehensive base building renovations to the National Press Building, and there’s more to come under the new ownership. Normandy plans to make capital improvements to the property and will implement additional in-building tenant amenities, the spokesperson said. The tower is presently 80 percent leased to more than 100 tenants.

Normandy’s acquisition of the National Press Building, made on behalf of a large public pension fund client through the company’s Select U.S. Office core-plus investment program, comes just one month after its purchase of the 600,000-square-foot Presidents Park office campus, located 25 miles outside Washington, D.C., in Herndon, Va.  And the company kicked off 2016 by adding the 106,000-square-foot office property at 1015 18th St. in Washington, D.C., to its portfolio.