1801 K St.

WASHINGTON, DC—South Korean companies have been active in the DC market lately and despite a recent report in the Washington Post that foreign investors appear to be scaling back their presence here, rumor has it that one such company is about to score a major asset in the city.

1801 K St. is said to be eyed for purchase by South Korean firm Mirae Asset Financial Group. This was reported in Real Estate Alert last week and a source has independently confirmed the rumor to GlobeSt.com. The discussed price for the 563, 795-square foot building, owned by Somerset Partners, is said to be $440 million or $780 per square foot. JLL, which represents Somerset and occupies space in the building, has declined to comment to GlobeSt.com.

The last time the building traded for in November 2005 for $250 million.

South Korean investors, at least anecdotally, are increasing their exposure to DC assets. Last week we reported that Republic Properties secured $255 million in refinancing for Portals III, a 509,935-squre foot, 10-story building located at 1201 Maryland Ave., SW from two lenders in South Korea. In fact, one of the lenders, Samsung SRA, approached Republic Properties about the possible refi, according to Steven Grigg, the company’s president.

Yesterday, however, the Washington Post made the case that DC is falling out of favor with foreign investors.

That, however, remains to be seen with the year only halfway complete. This year JLL predicts investment sales in the District could go as high as $22.3 billion, compared to last year’s $18 billion. It is a surprising finding, given the area’s lackluster leasing market, but then again, DC has always been viewed as a safe haven for investors, particularly foreign ones, Wes Boatwright, managing director of JLL’s Capital Markets, told GlobeSt.com last week.