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WASHINGTON, DC-The Watergate, one of Washington’s most notorious buildings, is undergoing a facelift under its new owner, Los Angeles-based BentleyForbes. BentleyForbes retained CB Richard Ellis to handle retail and office leasing at the 261,084-sf mixed-use tower. John Filipos, a broker in the company’s Retail Brokerage Services here, tells GlobeSt.com he is unsure what the estimated renovations will ultimately cost. “It is very much a work in progress.” New amenities will include signage and lightning upgrades, he says.

BentleyForbes purchased the Watergate in October 2005 from Trizec Properties. It says in a statement it plans a major renovation of the retail and office common areas.

Filipos says some 10,000 sf of retail space will become available over the next year, out of a total 62,000 sf. Currently some of the retail tenants are paying slightly below market rates, he says. CBRE plans to raise rents to meet current rates, which hover in the mid 40s for a class A property in this part of town.

The Watergate is located in a primarily residential neighborhood next to George Washington University, which generates a heavy flow of student shoppers. Because it is bordered by the Potomac River, the nearest convenient shopping destination is Georgetown, unreachable by metro and located 20 minutes away on foot or bus.

Safeway and CVS are the current retail anchors of the Watergate. Filipos says they are looking for complementary retailers or restaurants to fill the space that will become available.

CBRE brokers John Filipos and Lance Marine are handling the retail leasing while Ernie Drew Jarvis, Andrew Felber and Doug Mueller are handling the office leasing.

As part of the company’s revitalization efforts, for the first time in many years, according to a statement by Andrew Felber of CB Richard Ellis, one of the larger suites from the original break-in of the former Democratic National Committee office is back on the market.

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