Office Building Development in the Triangle

As MBG wrote a couple months ago, developers had grand initiative when communicating there master plans for the Triangle in 2005. There has been little in the way of communication of late.

A good deal of the planned residential development has been completed (555 Mass, Madrigal Lofts, The Sonata, Yale Steam) or will deliver in 2008 (City Vista, The Dumont). On the office side the Penzance Building at 455 Mass and 251 Mass have completed while the other office buildings have not even broken ground. The image below is from the CID.

Walking by the Penzance Building I saw a big “Office Space for Lease” sign across the 8th floor windows.

I became curious about the lack of tenant. Typically when I’ve read DC Mud articles about office development near the stadium or in NoMA an anchor tenant is specified. So I googled the address for in hopes of finding more information on 455 Mass. I came across one from WaPo entitled “Mt Vernon Triangle Edges upwards“. The April 2006 article focuses on the Penzance Building and the strip club Louis Rogue. Penzance was looking to lineup a tenant then and still is today.

How often does an office building get built downtown before an anchor tenant is in place? Is it a common practice? Did this practice get employed in Penn Quarter? How successful was it?

For the Triangle to become the true bustling 24/7 community it has the potential to be the area needs these office buildings with first floor retail to be built. When will the row of commercial building along K Street in the Mount Vernon Place master plan break ground? Will the Wilkes/Quadrangle team wait until they have anchor tenants for each building before beginning these projects? Have other projects become higher priority for them? Do you think they are just waiting to go through settlement on more of the Madrigal Lofts before bringing in dump trucks and cranes back into the neighborhood. Thoughts?

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  1. 1

    Chris in Eckington says

    Sometimes developers build office buildings on spec, meaning without a major tenant lined up. This usually happens during strong markets. The office market has softened recently (and credit has tightened) so I don’t think you’ll find many buildings starting construciton on spec in the near future. All of the major construction players know which governmental leases are up for renewal, who is looking for new office space, etc, so without a signed lease, I wouldn’t bet on any of those other office projects in Mt. Vernon Traingle to be built anytime soon.

  2. 2

    DG-rad says

    This is a very common practice. Although the general market is down right now, people are still leasing space. My guess is that this will go to a government sector tenant, as it is closer to cap hill, and private companies are less likely to lease space where there isn’t a whole lot of other office directly surrounding it. That is what I always found to be odd about this office building –glad to see the city go with true mixed-use in its neighborhoods, but also find value in business districts and residential districts.