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WASHINGTON, DC-The National Association of Realtors has decided to construct a $45 million building to serve as its national headquarters. NAR’s new home will be within viewing distance of the Capitol at 500 New Jersey Avenue, a 5,341-sf former site of a service station. The organization claims that owning its own headquarters will save it an annual sum of more than $500,000.

NAR, which currently leases 26,000 sf of space at 700 11th Street for approximately $36-per-sf, has plans for a 12-story, environmentally sensitive structure that will offer 93,000-sf of Class A office space. The real estate organization will occupy only 33,000-sf on the building’s top four floors and the remaining space would be made available for lease.

NAR officials are hopeful they will be able to break ground on the building sometime this fall. “Going ahead on this is contingent on approval of the DC Board of Zoning and Adjustment,” NAR’s Lucien Salvant tells GlobeSt.com. Given the go-ahead from the zoning commission, NAR would plan for a completion date of fall 2004. “We hope it’s going to raise the bar on construction in the area,” Salvant says of the state-of-the-art, “green” structure. “We hope it will be a pacesetter.”

The financial savings that will come with owning its space is just one benefit of the decision to build. Speaking about the building’s proximity to the Capitol, he says the site provides much more than just great views of the nation’s political center at work.

The $45 million figure quoted for developing NAR’s new home includes the acquisition of the land, which was purchased at the close of 2001 for $1.625 million according to District property records. Digging into its five-year old special reserve fund–created when NAR sold its one-time headquarters at 777 14th Street–the organization has $15 million of the money necessary to create its new digs. The remaining funds will be acquired by one of two means.

“It could be done in cash or we could finance it,” Salvant explains. CarrAmerica will provide construction management services and Lawrence N. Brandt Inc. is the project developer.

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