WASHINGTON, DC-The Washington, DC area saw some $5 billion incommercial real estate sales close in 2010, according to newfigures from Jones Lang LaSalle. This equates to more than doublethat of 2009 and $1 billion more than 2008. Indeed the year was apivotal one for the area’s commercial real estate markets, whichsaw three trades breach the $800 per square foot sales price, outof a total of seven all together. These top three were 1225 ConnecticutAve., NW; 1899Pennsylvania Ave., NW; and Evening StarBuilding. In fact, 1225 Connecticut became thefirst building in DC ever to eclipse the $900 per square footmark.

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In short, by both transaction volume and pricing, 2010 greatlyexceeded Jones Lang LaSalle’s expectations, Scott Homa, researchdirector for JLL tells GlobeSt.com. “To have three of thehighest-priced deals of all time occur this year, especially giventhe continued distress across most markets nationally, reallyhighlights the durability and desirability of assets in Washington,DC,” he says. “The speed and magnitude of the economic recovery inWashington, DC has been astonishing.”

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In general, 2010 is finishing the year with pricing havingreturned to relatively high levels, JLL concluded, pointing to One& Two Potomac Yard’s trade at $386 per square foot, and 3190Fairview Park in Virginia, which went for $320 per square foot.Even quality properties in outer-lying suburbs such as Herndon,which saw 2303 Dulles Station trade for $363 per square foot, aredoing well.

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Suburban Virginia registered a huge uptick in sales, at 23transactions for over $1.3 billion. In 2009, those figures were 14transactions for $600 million. Suburban Maryland, by contrast,posted a fairly low volume of sales for the year, with only fivedeals for $220 million.

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JLL notes that buyers were mainly focused on core and core-plusproduct this year, but there was a noticeable move to value-add andopportunistic plays as well, especially in the suburbs. This is areflection of the growing willingness on the part of some investorsto take on more risk. As illustration, JLL points to the trade ofeight vacant properties in the area in 2010, the most recent being3120 Fairview Park in Merrifield, VA, which sold for $235 persquare foot, despite the leasing risk assumed by the buyer.

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