Washington Post HQ Sale Put to Bed for $159M

Graham Holdings, formerly The Washington Post Co., has agreed to sell the 470,300-square-foot office property in Washington, D.C., to Carr Properties for $159 million.

Washington Post Headquarters

It’s the place where eager reporters Woodward and Bernstein banged out the first accounts of the Watergate scandal on their typewriters and where publisher Katharine Graham became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. And now the well-known Washington Post headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., is about to come under new ownership for the first time. Graham Holdings, formerly The Washington Post Co., has agreed to sell the 470,300-square-foot office property to Carr Properties for $159 million.

The façade of the nine-story building at 1150 15th St. NW, belies the fact that the Washington Post’s home base actually consists of three interconnected structures: the eight-story 1515 L St. building, constructed in 1951 to house the Washington Post’s headquarters; 1150 15th St., the current face of the property, erected in 1972 as an addition to the newspaper’s original headquarters; and the seven-story 1523 L St., also known as the Lenox Building, which was developed in 1903 and added to the Post complex in 1987. There’s no other property like it in Washington, D.C., and now a new chapter is about to unfold for the asset.

It’s been a series of changes in a short period of time. In October the Graham-family owned Graham Holdings, still known as The Washington Post Co. at the time, sold the Washington Post newspaper and other publishing businesses to Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos for $250 million, but held onto the office headquarters with plans of selling and, ultimately, relocating. Now, with the asset’s pending sale to Carr, the real estate investment and development company will soon have a storied office site on its hands. And it’s a good time to have property to play with in Washington, D.C.

“Few get the opportunity to re-imagine a site within a couple of blocks of the White House,” Dan Fasulo, managing director with real estate research and consulting firm Real Capital Analytics, told Commercial Property Executive. “The aggressive pricing will encourage the redevelopment of the site into an environment with multiple higher value uses such as apartments, hotel, and retail.”

Carr has yet to formally disclose potential plans for the location. However, the multi-family, office, lodging and retail markets are all thriving in the city.

Commercial real estate services firm Studley and JM Zell Partners Ltd. orchestrated the sales transaction on behalf of Graham Holdings, and the transfer of ownership of the Washington Post headquarters property is scheduled to reach completion in March 2014.