A Fresh Take on CRE

Bisnow with CompStak Data: DC's Next Retail Mecca?

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DC's Next Retail Mecca?


Columbia Heights, featuring one of the area's dominant shopping centers, is starting to turn heads. Ask Douglas Development, which Bisnow has learned just scooped up a 6,000 SF retail condo there for over $5M.
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McShea & Co investment sales duo Joe Friedman and Julian Etches (whom we snapped this morning) brokered the sale of 1401 Columbia Road NW, a retail condo on the ground floor of a residential complex that includes a national credit tenant roster of 7-11 and Sprint. Joe says it's a long-term hold for Douglas, in what's believed to be its first purchase in Columbia Heights. (Not including taquitos at the 7-11.) And the sale price of $850/SF—a new high mark in that neighborhood, Joe says—proves the company's belief in the neighborhood, which hinges its retail prospects on the massive DC USA development including Target, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond, and the exponentially increasing ridership at the Columbia Heights Metro.
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Any property within a block or so radius of DC USA (which we snapped yesterday) can command high rents of $50 to $60/SF, Joe adds, since the center's high-density foot traffic complements everything else around it. But why is the future so bright in Columbia Heights? Joe says that while retail space adjacent to the Metro is largely built-out, there are tons of residential units in the pipeline within walking distance along the 14th Street Corridor or to east in Petworth. It'll take high-end retailers to finally open up shop in Columbia Heights to really see things grow though, he says (which is likely as more high-end residential delivers and the neighborhood fully matures over the next 10 years. (The Prince of Petworth needs a classy place to buy his robe and scepter.)
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Joe (a Columbia Heights resident himself for the last five years) says investors from New York to California were interested in the 100% leased 1401 Columbia retail condo. Here's more perspective on how hot the corner of 14th and Columbia is: 1401 Columbia's Sprint store was previously occupied by a Chinese sub/seafood restaurant paying rent in the mid-$30s/SF. When Sprint moved in this past spring, they signed at a rent over $60/SF. (That may be why they never laugh when we order the General Tso's iPhone.)
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Work out or ride the Metro? We call this photo: Life Choices. Retail spaces lease up quickly in Columbia Heights, too, Joe tells us: "If one store goes out of business, it can take as soon as a month to re-tenant," he says, though a large block in the 'burbs might take a year or longer to lease back up.

The Lease Scene

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We've got a couple of new lease deals to report, thanks to our friends at CompStak. First up: IBM has renewed its 9,700 SF space at Penzance's 2000 N. 14th St in Courthouse, where we're told Big Blue will be paying rent in the mid-$30/SF range.
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And over in Germantown, Advanced Pain Management Services is moving to its 11.5k SF space at Minkoff Development's brand-newShops at Seneca Meadows project, in a deal brokered by Scheer Partners' Kevin Rosenberg (left) and Nate Crowe (center). Kevin tells us the medical group will move in Dec. 1. (In time to buy a Christmas gift card for the achy person in your life.) He also adds there's tons of activity at the Shops due to its anchor, Wegmans, which is scheduled to open Sept. 15. (The Wegmans salad bar is our personal form of pain management.)

Postcard from Dharamsala

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Y'all are busy this summer. And it's good to see that a lot of you are busy giving back, such as Cooper Carry's Flo Williams (second from right). Flo just returned from Dharamsala, India, where she spent three weeks volunteering through the Cross-Cultural Solutions program. She spent time at a daycare center caring for some of Dharamsala's young children. Well done, Flo!

Hangin' with the Nats

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Real estate was well represented at last night's Nats game (a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Giants): snapped here enjoying Jordan Zimmermann outpitching Tim Lincecum: Foxhall Partners' Brian Friedman with wife Robin and son Lawson, Broadwater Capital's Marc Schuman with wife Julie and son Max, Gelman Companies' Randall DeRoven (in the back), and Foxhall Partners' Jill Phaneuf.

Lucky Number 6

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Alexandria Economic Development Partnership VP of real estate Christina Mindrup is the grand winner of yesterday's riddleTake 9 from 6, 10 from 9, 50 from 40 and leave 6. What's left? Christina put her vast knowledge of Roman numerals to work and correctly guessed that the answer was six. She wins a ticket to next week's Prince George's County State of the Market. Be on the lookout for another riddle (and chance for a ticket to the event) soon. Congrats Christina! Are Fruit Roll Ups making a comeback? Let chris.baird@bisnow.com know.