TIAA-CREF, Norges Buy Prime Office Set in DC

TIAA-CREF and Norges Bank Investment Management have acquired 800 17th St., N.W., in Washington, D.C., for a reported record $1,075 per square foot - $392 million - for the 364,000-square-foot trophy property.

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TIAA-CREF and Norges Bank Investment Management have acquired 800 17th St., N.W., in Washington, D.C., for a reported record $1,075 per square foot – $392 million – for the 364,000-square-foot trophy property.

The joint venture purchased the LEED Platinum 12-story office building from The PNC Financial Services Group, a Pittsburgh-based firm that used the building, also known as PNC Place, as its regional headquarters for PNC Bank. PNC and Vornado/Charles E. Smith developed the property near Farragut Square in 2010.

HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller and also procured the buyers. Neither HFF nor the joint venture partners released the sales price of the building. The Washington Business Journal’s Daniel Sernovitz reported the figure, noting that it was the first time an office building in D.C. had sold for more than $1,000 a square foot.

TIAA-CREF and NBIM are acquiring the fee simple interest, according to a TIAA-CREF release. TIAA-CREF will own 50.1 percent and NBIM will own 49.9 percent.

“This unique property is exceptionally located and provides long-term income from established tenants,” Suzan Amato, head of Strategic Joint Ventures for TIAA-CREF, noted in the release. “We look forward to continuing to source prime assets on behalf of the joint venture.”

In addition to PNC Bank, lead tenants are law firms Holland & Knight and Haynes & Boone. Advisory Group, a financial consulting company, is also a tenant. The property is 96 percent office and 4 percent retail. It is located in the city’s Central Business District, about two blocks from the White House and close to Farragut Square Park and two Metro stations.

TIAA-CREF said the building had many “desirable characteristics” including an expansive rooftop deck, a glass curtain wall and a strong tenant amenity package featuring a 7,000-square-foot fitness center and private two-level parking garage.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by executive managing directors John Pelusi and Stephen Conley, senior managing directors Andrew Weir, Jim Meisel and Dek Potts, associate director Matt Nicholson and senior real estate analyst Dave Baker.

TIAA-CREF, a national financial services organization with $840 billion in total assets under management, and NBIM, the asset management division of Norges Bank, the Norwegian central bank, and manager of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, entered into a $1.2 billion joint venture in February 2013 to invest in office buildings in the United States. The first investment for the fund netted the JV five Class A or boutique buildings, including two in Washington, D.C. – the Evening Star Building at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. and Franklin Square at 1300 I St. Two New York City buildings and one in Boston were also part of that initial JV.

NBIM, which has about $890 billion in assets, formed a JV with MetLife Inc. in December 2013 to invest in Class A office markets in the U.S., including its first purchase together – One Financial Center in Boston.

Last month, NBIM paid $1.5 billion in cash to Boston Properties for 45 percent interest in three prime office assets – 601 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan, the Atlantic Wharf Office Building and 100 Federal St., both in Boston.

TIAA-CREF has also been actively investing in D.C. multi-family real estate, picking up The Louis at 14th/U and The Woodley in June.

The office market, which had been sluggish in the nation’s capital due to the recession and the federal government sequestration, is improving and investment sales of buildings like PNC Place are picking up. For the third quarter, investment market sales totaled $2.1 billion compared to $2.5 billion for all of 2013, according to Transwestern’s District of Columbia Office Market report for Third Quarter 2014. The sale of the James Monroe Building at 2001 Pennsylvania Ave. for $107.8 million or $700 per square foot was the biggest transaction of the third quarter, the report noted.

“We expect investment sales volume to remain sturdy during the remainder of 2014 and into 2015, with investors targeting quality core assets in amenity-rich environments,” the Transwestern report stated.