May 9, 2016 (Washington, D.C.) – A national trade association representing the U.S. floral industry has a new Alexandria home, the result of two extremely favorable transactions executed by West, Lane & Schlager Realty Advisors, LLC, which took advantage of the strong real estate submarket in Old Town.
WLS, a leading Washington, D.C.-based commercial real estate brokerage firm that exclusively represents tenants, announced today that it has completed the $4.75 million sale of 1601 Duke St., and the $2.35 million purchase of 1001 N. Fairfax St., for the Society of American Florists (SAF).
WLS Principal Matt Levin, SIOR, LEED AP, as well as Assistant Vice Presidents Andrew Genova and Clark Turner, negotiated on behalf of SAF, which has 6,000 members across the country and was established in 1884.
The nonprofit organization had owned its 1601 Duke St. headquarters for more than three decades, Genova explained. “As our client’s business changed in recent years, so had the useful life of this building, as well as the greater Alexandria submarket,” he said.
That led Genova and his colleagues to develop an analysis of SAF’s real estate situation, in comparison to its peers and the larger market. The WLS team wanted to determine the viability of their client remaining at 1601 Duke St., versus relocating. The brokers discovered numerous challenges, including an inefficient and outdated layout, as well as 40,000 square feet of additional density underutilized by their client.
Apparent that staying at 1601 Duke St. did not make economic sense when compared to a number of alternative scenarios, WLS negotiated the sale of this 11,000-square-foot property to the Vinci School. In conjunction, WLS represented SAF in its acquisition of a nearby, right-sized condominium at 1001 N. Fairfax St., which contains 9,385 square feet.
The ensuing benefits secured by WLS for their client are considerable. For the 1601 Duke St. transaction, the WLS team achieved one of the highest per-square-foot sales prices for a property of that location, quality type and size in Old Town Alexandria, Genova pointed out. He also noted that various developers showed a lot of interest in 1601 Duke St., however, given the changing political landscape in Alexandria, an acquisition by a developer would have required many contingencies, making the deal much more difficult to finalize in a timeframe acceptable to SAF.
Relying on their relationships and market knowledge, the WLS team secured a more “traditional” purchaser in the Vinci School, “which best aligned with SAF’s exit strategy and allowed the transaction to close quickly,” Genova said, adding that the two deals took roughly six months to complete.
As for its acquisition of 1001 N. Fairfax St., SAF significantly reduced its overall average annual occupancy expenses – a major achievement, since its yearly occupancy costs at 1601 Duke St. were already extremely low.
“Our client had an opportunity to improve its real estate position, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so,” Genova said.
Peter Moran, SAF’s CEO, said he is “elated that the transaction as outlined during the strategy and planning phase was able to reach fruition in a very timely manner.”
Despite its new office’s slightly smaller size, 1001 N. Fairfax St. is a more modern building with a more efficient design. “A key factor is that our client now occupies office space on one floor, which allows for improved collaboration among employees,” Genova said.
“SAF is now well positioned with its new office space to meet the needs of the organization for the next decade and beyond,” Moran added.
About West, Lane & Schlager Realty Advisors, LLC:
Washington, D.C.-based West, Lane & Schlager Realty Advisors, LLC is a leading commercial real estate brokerage firm that exclusively represents tenants in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Clients of West, Lane & Schlager include professional services companies such as law firms, as well as nonprofit organizations and trade associations. Services provided by West, Lane & Schlager are tenant representation, investments, construction management, strategic planning, and operating-expense reviews.
For more information on West, Lane & Schlager, please visit www.wlsrealty.com.
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