Stream Realty to Direct Leasing of DC’s District Center

On behalf of owners MetLife and Norges Bank Investment Management, the firm will court users for the mixed-use smart building.
District Center. Image courtesy of Stream Realty

Stream Realty Partners has landed a notable leasing assignment in Washington, D.C. The company is now charged with finding tenants for District Center, an 857,000-square-foot mixed-use office destination owned by a joint venture of MetLife and Norges Bank Investment Management.

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Stream is wasting precious little time seeking tenants to stabilize District Center, which is presently 85 percent leased, and the firm is casting a fairly wide net. “Our target market is law firms, Fortune 500 companies, government affairs offices, associations and non-profit organizations, consulting and other professional service firms,” Matt Pacinelli, managing director of Stream Realty Partners’ Washington, D.C., office, told Commercial Property Executive.

Spanning a full city block at 555 12th St. N.W. across from a Metro station in the East End area of downtown Washington, D.C., District Center came under the ownership of MetLife and Norges Bank in 2014, when the partners acquired the asset, then known as the Thurman Arnold Building, from Manulife Financial Corp. for $505 million. The joint venture recently submitted the free-standing property to a $30 million renovation, transforming it into one of the city’s leading smart buildings.

Today District Center features a range of building automation technologies, as well as 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. Office occupants at the 12-story tower include the likes of Eli Lilly, Deloitte and FTI Consulting, which moved into 93,500 square feet in 2017. Additionally, such names as Nordstrom, Saks and Tosca Restaurant grace the retail tenant roster of the LEED Gold-certified property.

Going deeper in the district

Stream Realty is keen on the Washington, D.C., market, having expanded its portfolio in the city by a whopping 25 percent in 2020. The firm’s District Center deal comes just months after its September 2020 landing of an assignment to provide leasing services to 1601 K St. and Lafayette Tower, two trophy office buildings totaling more than 450,000 square feet downtown.

And while Stream Realty concedes that the D.C. area is not without its challenges, it sees the light at the end of the tunnel. “The D.C. office market, like most other gateway markets, is experiencing weak demand primarily due to the pandemic. However, we expect increasing demand this spring/summer as vaccines reach the general population,” Pacinelli said. If investor interest in commercial real estate is any indication of the city’s office leasing future, the District has an investor demand ranking of 3.67, according to the Urban Land Institute and PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report; somewhere between average and strong, and just below Brooklyn.