WASHINGTON, DC-TIAA-CREF appears to be poised to make its first acquisition in here this year. The New York City-based retirement fund typically makes five acquisitions per year here, depending on the market and other economic and financial factors. Nearly six months into 2006, it has yet to announce its first transaction.

According to Trevor Michael, managing director of real estate acquisitions, this market is very significant to TIAA-CREF’s real estate portfolio. “If it is not number one, it is in the top three markets in our portfolio along with New York and southern California.”

This was not always the case, although the District has occupied some part of TIAA-CREF’s portfolio for the last 50 years. In the 1980s, like many institutional investors, TIAA-CREF was less than enchanted with the District proper at least, mainly for its political problems and high crime rate, according to Michael.Then the city began to turn around and its demographics shifted once more. “Washington, DC is a great comeback story,” Michael says. “You have more people migrating back to the District to live, more companies seeking to locate there and a stable political situation.” The crime rate has been steadily declining as well.

Today TIAA-CREF has Washington area office, retail and multifamily holdings. Marquee buildings in its portfolio include 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 1900 K St.; 1300 Eye St.; Market Common in Clarendon, VA; and Maza Gallery in Chevy Chase, MD.

TIAA-CREF’s strategic approach to investing varies as well, although the firm does tend to remain closer to the higher end of the spectrum, given its investor base. “We look at all property types, primarily well stabilized properties but also developments and repositioning investment opportunities,” Michael says. “Washington is a great market for the long term investor because it has historically done well and is able to provide durable income streams–something that is integral to a retirement portfolio.”

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