National market report
The longtime headquarters of the Washington Post is being sold to Carr Properties by the newspaper’s former parent, Graham Holdings, for $159 million, the newspaper reported. The Post, which was recently sold to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, will continue to rent space in the building at 15th and L streets NW until it finds a new location. The building, which has served as the Post’s headquarters for 63 years, could be redeveloped as a mixed-use project. The price-per-foot on the deal, which is expected to close in March, approaches record levels for downtown property, according to John Sikaitis, a senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle. “The Post site is a little bit off the beaten path by a block or two, but you could argue that [the Carrs] have the opportunity to kind of create a Main and Main there,” Sikaitis said. “They will create a destination, which that area does not have right now.” Carr Properties plans to expand its real estate holdings to $1.5 billion from about $800 million ahead of a potential initial public offering.
Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group acquired a $1.6 billion majority interest in seven regional malls — three in Ohio, two in California, one in Indiana and one in Washington State — from the Westfield Group in late November, Starwood said. The seven malls contain 7.9 million square feet of retail space and have an average occupancy of approximately 96 percent. Westfield kept a 10 percent common equity interest in the properties. In Ohio, Starwood now has majority interest in Belden Village Mall in Canton, Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, and Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted. In California, the company will now operate Parkway Plaza in El Cajon and Plaza West Covina in West Covina. The deal also included Southlake Mall in Merrillville, Ind., and Capital Mall in Olympia, Wash. “Over the last 18 months, we have assembled a portfolio of 19 high-quality regional malls and retail centers with an aggregate purchase price in excess of $3.2 billion,” Starwood Retail Partners CEO Scott Wolstein said in a statement. “We believe that regional shopping malls offer an attractive value proposition for our partners.” The company is also on the hunt for additional properties.
The condo market in Houston is booming, according to a study published by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The study found that sales increased by 25 percent in the first nine months of 2013. There were 5,067 condos sold between January and September, with the median price rising 7 percent year-over-year to $140,000. Reflecting the increased demand, projects like the four-story, 36-unit condo called Morrison Midrise in the Heights area and a 26-story, 46-unit luxury high-rise in the uptown district are underway. Houston, home to a number of major oil and energy companies, is now one of the top cities in the U.S. for foreign investors. “Houston has gained broad acceptance as a top-tier market,” Greg Kraus, the managing director at Atlanta-based Invesco told Bloomberg News. The city’s commercial market is also doing well. Greenway Plaza, a 4.4 million-square-foot, Class A office complex, sold in September to affiliates of Cousins Properties for an undisclosed amount, in what was reportedly one of the largest real estate transactions in Houston’s history. It is 92 percent leased with tenants including Occidental Oil & Gas, Invesco, Transocean Offshore and ExxonMobil Corp.
Ivanhoé Cambridge picked up the twin office buildings 10 and 120 South Riverside Plaza in Chicago’s West Loop early last month for about $361 million. The deal was the priciest office deal to close in 2013, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics. The 1.4 million-square-foot buildings, which span two full city blocks and are 89 percent leased, were sold by the Dallas-based real estate investment trust TIER REIT. “Chicago is one of the key U.S. cities we’ve set our sights on in order to build a solid national high-quality office building platform,” Ivanhoé Cambridge executive vice president Adam Adamakakis told the publication Multi-Housing News. While the Riverside Plaza deal was the priciest of 2013, the pending sale of the Citigroup Center at 500 West Madison Street to KBS REIT III is expected to have an even bigger price tag of $425 million. That deal has not yet closed.
Former MLB slugger and suspected steroid user Barry Bonds chopped the price of his home in Beverly Park to $23.5 million from $25 million, Zillow reported. He purchased the home in 2002 for $8.7 million. The roughly 17,000-square-foot home includes a 12-person theater, a 2,100-square-foot sports court and a guesthouse.
In order to get their new home in the Boston suburb of Brookline completed by July, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen are employing around 100 workers a day, TMZ reported. The roughly 14,000-square-foot mansion will reportedly be equipped with a spa, wine cellar and yoga studio.
TV personality Rosie O’Donnell recently closed on a $6.4 million mansion in Saddle River, N.J., Realtor.com reported. O’Donnell’s new 5,200-square-foot, five-bedroom home has seven fireplaces, a wood-paneled library, wine cellar and elevator. The grounds also include a grotto, hot tub and pool house.