WASHINGTON, DC-A 511,500-sf office complex Downtown becomes the first trophy in the coffer of a joint venture involving Morristown, NJ-based Normandy Real Estate Partners LLC and the New York office of international real estate management company Westbrook Partners. Together, the two firms have become the new owners of the class A office facility at 2401 E St. by shelling out $118 million in an off-market transaction. The deal marks not only the first acquisition for the JV, but it also signifies Normandy’s first foray into the local market.

The partnership represented itself in the transaction, while Eastdil stood in for the seller, whose identity is being kept under wraps for the time being. CDC Mortgage provided Normandy and Westbrook with the debt for the purchase.

Located near the Lincoln Memorial with views of the Potomac River, the office complex is also known as Columbia Plaza, as it is the office component of the larger mixed-use Columbia Plaza development. While the property was developed in 1974, it has since benefited from a bevy of upgrades. The detached structures are seven stories and 15 stories high, and are fully leased to the US General Services Administration through 2012 for use by offices of the US Department of State.

“We bought the property at an extremely attractive price relevant to replacement costs,” Normandy managing principal David Welsh tells GlobeSt.com. Welsh and partner Finn Wentworth own and manage the company. “The State Department has leased the space for 30 years and has in-place rents that are below market value, so when the lease rolls over in 2012, there will be potential for significant upside.” Welsh adds that the joint venture-—whose only previous history together involves Normandy’s purchase of a New York office building from Westbrook exactly two years ago–plan further acquisitions together in the future, with an eye toward the red-hot DC office market.

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