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CHEVY CHASE, MD-After a quiet start up phase, MRP Realty, a development firm founded last July by former Trammell Crow Co. executives Bob Murphy, Fred Rothmeijer and Ryan Wade, is shifting into high gear now that construction on its first project, a $75-million office tower in Northern Virginia, is under way.

MRP Realty is now concentrating on the next projects in its extensive pipeline, some of which were first publicly disclosed in an exclusive interview with GlobeSt.com this summer.

Wade tells GlobeSt.com that the firm is closing on land in Downtown DC between New York Avenue and Florida Avenue and is hopeful the company will begin construction on a 950,000-sf mixed-use development this year. The project will include two office buildings, a hotel and some residential housing, he says.

MRP Realty has also just announced that it will shortly begin construction of a 600,000-sf office park at the intersection of Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway in the Ashburn area of Loudoun County. The Brookdale Group and J. Donegan Co. are its partners in the $150-million project, which is called Lakeview at University Center. The development will include up to 440,000 sf of office space in four buildings, an 80,000-sf hotel, and 80,000 sf of supporting retail services including two banks and multiple restaurants.

Construction of phase one is expected to begin in November and is slated to be completed in early 2008; with the second phase in early 2009. Cassidy and Pinkard will handle the office leasing while Trammell Crow Co. has been named the retail broker. The architect is CMSS and the landscape architect is Lewis Scully Gionet.

This is the firm’s second project to break ground. There are several other projects in the pipeline as well, Wade says. “Our focus right now is DC and northern Virginia.”

All together the firm has about 1.9 million sf under development at a total estimated cost of $600 million, Wade says. Additional deals the firm is working on “would take us over a billion dollars in total development.” All of its projects thus far are being developed on spec to be delivered at various times over the next five years, he adds.

Its first project, Carlyle Overlook in the Old Town section of Alexandria, VA, is slated for completion in January 2008. Five of the 10 office floors were recently sold to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which earlier had given MRP a pre-construction commitment. MRP is currently working to lease out the remaining floors. The 250,000-sf building also has four stories of parking.

The architect for Carlyle Overlook is Davis Carter Scott Ltd. and the general contractor is Harvey-Cleary Builders. ASCO’s representative in acquiring the condominium interest was the Ezra Co.; MRP Realty was represented by Trammell Crow Co. Its capital partner in the project was Rockpoint Group LLC, a global real estate investment management firm.

ARK Realty Capital of Bethesda, MD recently closed on a $58-million non-recourse construction loan for the class A office building. Key Bank of Washington, DC provided the loan, which represents 75% of the project’s cost.

Kevin H. Smith, president of ARK Realty Capital, tells GlobeSt.com that there was a lot of competition for this loan and the financing was an “incredibly aggressive rate.” Smith declined to disclose the details but according to sources it was at sub 150 basis points.

Factors the lender weighed, he says, included strong sponsorship, the location of the development and ASCO’s involvement.

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