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WASHINGTON, DC-Venable, Baetjer, Howard & Civiletti LLP has signed a lease for 243,791 sf in the former Hecht’s department store.

The property, Square 456 at 575 Seventh Street and 650 F Street, is an office and retail development owned by CarrAmerica Urban Development LLC. It will include 438,000 sf of office space and 45,000 sf of retail space.

Insignia/ESG brokers represented the law firm in the transaction, but were not immediately available for comment.

Insignia has helped Venable, which has five offices in the region, identify new space in Northern Virginia as well.

Last month, GlobeSt.com reported Venable leased 49,539 sf at 8010 Towers Crescent, a five-story, 100,000-sf building in the Tysons Corner area.

Aaron Katz of Insignia, who represented Venable, told GlobeSt.com then that his client got a good deal. “The market has been so owner-oriented that during the process of negotiation owners did not have to give expansion opportunities to clients.”

Northern Virginia, previously saturated with technology-related companies, has seen rents drop to between $30 and $40 for class A office space.

In the District, where some firms have put vacancy rates under 5%, rents on new class A construction are as high as $60 a square foot.

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