Carr is planning to make
1700 New York Ave. a trophy.

WASHINGTON, DC-On a misty, overcast Thursday morning Carr Properties broke ground on what is still a rarity in the Washington DC market: a new office development, in the CBD no less, that is 72% pre-leased to two tenants. While one of the tenants prefers anonymity, the other taker of space at the 120,000-square-foot 1700 New York Ave. is design firm SmithGroupJJR, president and CEO Oliver Carr tells GlobeSt.com.

With this roughly $80-million project under way, Carr Properties, a private REIT owned by JP Morgan Asset Management, is turning its attention to the other development sites it owns in the DC area. The closest to ground breaking is a 220,000-square-foot office project at 4500 East-West Highway in Bethesda.

“We’re just a few months away from getting started on that,” Carr says, adding that development costs for that building, which will also have ground-floor retail, should pencil in at less than $500 per square foot. Further out in the development pipeline are two office properties in the Arlington submarket of Courthouse. Those will be approximately 300,000 square feet.

But of all of these, the eight-story building at 1700 New York Ave., clearly stands out. It is being built to trophy specs and finishes. Carr declines to discuss asking rates but says they are in the trophy-quality office range.

Scheduled for deliver in 2014, it has been designed to LEED standards, with floor plates of 15,000 to 17,000 square feet. It will be next to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design and will have a similar look as the Beaux-Arts style of that historic structure.

SmithGroupJJR is the designer. Jones Lang LaSalle‘s Trip Howell and Amy Bowser are heading marketing operations for the building.