WASHINGTON, DC-When First Potomac acquired 500 First St., NW, last month for $68 million, the deal was notable because it was the REIT’s first core office acquisition in the District. There was also a surprise in store for Kenneth Gentzel, SVP and managing director at NorthMarq: The permanent financing of $39 million, placed by Hartford Insurance Co., took only 20 days to close after the lender’s issuance of the term sheet. Gentzel arranged the financing with colleague Gary McGlynn, also an SVP at NorthMarq.

In truth, the speed of this particular transaction’s financing is part of a larger picture that is just becoming clear to brokers such as Gentzel. Life companies, never the most transparent as to their strategies and allocations with commercial real estate, seem to be stepping up their appetite and aggressiveness.

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