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WASHINGTON, DC-Construction of the 530,000-sf office building going up at 901 New York Ave. has gotten under way, with significant lease commitments already in place. Clark Construction Group Inc. is the general contractor on the $150-million Boston Properties development, and will be rewarded with $54 million for its trouble. The base building is scheduled for completion in August of 2004 with substantial completion due the following month.

“We got the contract in August of this year, and the building is going up very quickly,” Clark spokesperson Elizabeth Tuico shares with GlobeSt.com. “The whole process has been pretty straightforward.” What is expected to emerge from the construction activity will be a polished granite, Davis Carter Scott-designed, 11-story edifice with 25,000 sf of ground-level retail atop four floors of sub-level parking space. And on the subject of parking space, that is exactly what the property was when Boston Properties acquired it in 2000 for $42.6 million–$30 million of which came from joint venture partner New York State Common Retirement Fund’s $120 billion stash.

The class A structure has been a draw almost since its inception, and is currently pre-leased to 65% of its office capacity. Law firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner was the first to commit, taking 250,000 sf, and law firm Shea & Gardner pre-leased about 72,500 sf earlier this month. They are expected to move into their new spaces in the first quarter of 2005 and the last quarter of 2004, respectively.

“We’re currently talking to a few other law firms and other associations,” Cushman & Wakefield’s Scott Frankel tells GlobeSt.com. Cushman & Wakefield has the leasing assignment for the building. “And we’re talking to a lot of exciting restaurants for the ground-level space,” he adds. “There, we’re looking for two different price points–high-end for the restaurants and a sandwich or snack shop for the morning and lunch crowds.” Given the current pace of leasing activity and the District’s tight office market–Advantis/GVA’s 3rd Quarter 2002 Office Market Report marks the direct office vacancy rate in the city at 4.2%–the building could very well be fully occupied before construction is complete.

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