Suburban Washington, D.C., Office Building Fetches $135M

Artery Plaza, a 276,000-square-foot office structure in Bethesda, Md., has just come under new ownership. Building tenant the Artery Group L.L.C. sold the Class A property to The JBG Cos. in a $135 million transaction. The 11-story Artery Plaza (pictured) carries the address of 7200 Wisconsin Avenue, placing it on a highly coveted stretch in Bethesda just a few minutes outside of Washington, D.C. Accompanies by an 800-space parking facility, the office building was developed in 1986 and today, is 94 percent leased to a roster of tenants that includes law firm Linowes & Blocher, PNC Financial, University Research, commercial real estate firm Edens & Avant, as well as the Artery Group, which originally developed the property. Artery Plaza was acquired free of any debt.Marketed by Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., Artery Plaza commanded a great deal of interest among investors, despite the challenging lending market. “I’m sure the credit crunch did play some role in the number of bids, but this is a fairly unique and well located property in an excellent market, so it probably had a nominal effect,” HFF senior managing director James A. Meisel told CPN today. Meisel marketed the property along with colleagues Stephen “Dek” Potts and Andrew Pulliam. “Artery Plaza is surrounded by lots of retail and is probably the best office location in Bethesda,” he added.Bethesda, sitting in such close proximity to Washington, D.C., is in high demand among businesses seeking office space. “The Bethesda market is extremely tight in terms of vacancy rates,” Meisel said. “For the long-term, Artery Plaza is a great asset.” The vacancy rate in Bethesda in the fourth quarter of 2007 was just 6.4 percent, one of the lowest in the D.C. metro region, according to a report by real estate services firm Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers. Additionally, demand drove the average rental rate for Class A space up from $34 per square-foot at the close of 2006 to $41 per square-foot at the end of 2007.Based in Chevy Chase, Md., JBG owns and develops real estate in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. The nearly half-century-old company has a portfolio encompassing millions of square feet of office, residential, hotel and retail properties in the District, Maryland and Virginia. The Artery Group, headquartered in Bethesda, was founded in 1959 as a homebuilding company and has since developed over 5,000 building lots, 20,000 residential apartments and four million square feet of commercial space.