Iconic D.C. Office Building Traded

November 30, 2011
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One of the two office buildings in the iconic Watergate office and residential community has traded for an undisclosed price to commercial real estate property, construction, and facilities management firm Penzance. The acquisition is a value-add play for Penzance, which is acquiring the 200,000-square-foot building with 80,000 square feet of vacant office space.

While not the anchor of the complex, Safeway grocery store plans to leave the Watergate, which will be a significant loss to the community, according to real estate experts. The anchor, Watergate Hotel, has been dark for four years but has become active again, creating energy and excitement for the rest of the project, say experts.

The hotel and Safeway space hasn’t been renovated or upgraded in several years. The office building traded in 2005 when BentleyForbes, a Los Angeles-based investor, paid $84.5 million for it. More recently, it surrendered the building to its lender, Capri Capital. Penzance acquired the building in a transaction just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Penzance says that, unlike Capri, it has the advantage of being locally based. The firm has completed, or is in the processing of closing, some $600 million in transactions in the D.C. area--a number that includes the Watergate acquisition.