Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

Firm buys Rock Spring office buildings

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Piedmont Office Realty Trust of Atlanta said it bought complete ownership of Rock Spring Park in Bethesda, wrapping up a deal worth $153.5 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The company announced that it acquired Rock Spring II LLC, which delivered Opus Center at Rock Spring Park II in June. In November, Piedmont acquired the sister entity that owned Opus Center at Rock Spring Park I, which was completed in 2007.

The company did not disclose the price for the two Class A office buildings, which have been renamed Piedmont Pointe I and II. But SEC filings show that Piedmont entered into separate contracts to buy the first building for $69.8 million and the second for $83.7 million.

"These properties are excellent new office buildings in what we regard as one of the finest corporate parks in the Washington area," said Wil Stone, senior vice president of capital markets for Piedmont, who represented the company in the acquisition.

The complex is on Rockledge Drive, next to an Interstate 270 interchange east of the Montgomery mall. Piedmont is pursuing silver certification for both structures under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Jones Lang LaSalle will market leasing opportunities on behalf of Piedmont.

Rock Spring Park was part of a four-building regional portfolio that Grubb & Ellis is marketing for the developer, Opus East, a member of The Opus Group. Opus East was represented by Eric Berkman and Steven Gichner of Grubb & Ellis. The other two properties are a 243,000-square-foot building in Southeast Washington and a 240,000-square-foot building in Chantilly, Va.

Lerner breaks ground on two Hiltons in Rockville

Lerner Enterprises of North Bethesda announced that it has begun construction on a new two-tower hotel totaling 199 rooms in the Fallsgrove development in Rockville.

The complex is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009, offering mid-priced amenities at the 112-room Hilton Garden Inn and home-like services in the 87-room Homewood Suites by Hilton. The project is situated on Shady Grove and Blackwell Roads west of I-270 across from the Shady Grove Medical Center Campus and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

"Hilton is one of the most prestigious names in the global lodging industry and we are excited to be building two of its most recognized brands as part of our continued development within Fallsgrove," said Mark D. Lerner, a principal of Lerner Enterprises. "We selected these Hilton brands as they are a natural fit for the surrounding business and medical community creating a one-of-a-kind experience for our guests."

The 135,000-square-foot, six-story dual-brand Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton will share a common area that will connect them. The hotels include distinct design elements that will be carried throughout the lobby and rooms for each brand.

The architect for the project is Gordon & Greenburg Architects of Cabin John. The general contractor is Herman Stewart of Lanham and the interior was designed by George Conte Design of Greensburg, Pa.

Urgo Management of Bethesda will manage the hotel.

The Fallsgrove development is a 257-acre master-planned community comprising Fallsgrove Village Center, which includes 150,000 square feet of retail space, residential dwellings that include single-family homes, townhomes, courtyard homes and low- to mid-rise multifamily units and more than 850,000 square feet of office space. Lerner is the developer for the retail, office and hotel components within the project.