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MetLife Closes On Major DC Acquisition

JV Reported To Pay Approx. $730M for Biggest Privately Owned Office Building in Washington
December 13, 2012
MetLife, in partnership with a major institutional investor advised by Clarion Partners, completed its long-rumored acquisition of Constitution Center, a massive, 1.4 million-square-foot office building at at 400 7th St. SW that qualifies as the largest privately-owned office building in the District.

The building, which is located in the southwest part of Capitol Hill, two blocks from the National Mall, completed a $250 million renovation eartlier this year. It occupies a prominent location in an area that primarily caters to federal agencies with very large office requirements.

MetLife reported that the building was fully leased at the time of sale. Major tenants include including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, although published reports pegged the sale price at nearly $750 million. The seller, David Nassif Associates, was represented by the Washington, D.C. office of Eastdil Secured.

Robert Merck, global head of MetLife Real Estate Investors, said the building purchase is part of the firm's recently unveiled strategy to launch a third party asset management business, part of which involves sourcing and acquiring major properties in core real estate markets across the country. [Please see "MetLife Forming Third-Party Real Estate Management Business" for additional background]

Completed in 1970, Constitution Center long served as the headquarters of the Department of Transportation until the agency relocated n 2007.

This is the second major office property MetLife and Clarion Partners have acquired in as many months. In November, the tandem purchased 1201 Third Avenue in Seattle from a joint-venture of Wright Runstad & Co., Beacon Capital Partners and Shorenstein Properties for approximately $548.78 million, or about $461 per square foot.

The acquisition of the 55-story office tower was the largest in King County so far this year. Eastdill Secured also represented the seller in that transaction.

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