WASHINGTON, DC-Qatar Airways is finalizing plans for the build-out of the office condo it recently acquired in Downtown DC. The company, which is the country’s national carrier, acquired 12,652 sf at 1430 K St., which will serve as its headquarters for North America and as a base to establish a larger real estate presence in the US. CB Richard Ellis represented Qatar Airways in the office condo acquisition and will also be facilitating the national real estate roll.

According to an industry source, the build out–which is a higher end development than normal–will likely average around $60 per sf. Construction should begin by the end of the year with the space ready for occupancy at some point in Q1 2008.

The move will be timely for the airline, says Ryan Miller, senior associate at CBRE who is coordinating its national rollout. “Qatar Airways just introduced its first flights to North America in June with four services a week between Doha and Newark,” he tells GlobeSt.com. In July it launched its daily non-stop schedule to Washington, DC.

The company has established offices in Houston and Chicago and plans to open offices in Los Angeles and New York City next. Miller says the Houston and Chicago offices were lease transactions, but the company may acquire a presence–either an office condo or outright building purchase–in New York City. There are more options for office condos in New York City than in the District, he observes, adding that the firm is not wedded to the concept. “Qatar Airlines wasn’t necessarily looking for an office condo in the District. What they were looking for was upper floor office space and a retail component for the ticketing office–so this building was a good fit.”

The downside of DC’s limited supply of office condo options, Miller says, is that it makes it difficult to develop comparables for a client, especially stacked up against a lease scenario. “As a general statement, though, I would say there is growing demand for office condos in the District.”

Certainly more projects are entering the pipeline, although whether they will satisfy pent-up demand remains to be seen. In July, Potomac Development Partners and Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group-East announced plans to redevelop a recent $24.3-million acquisition of the NFL Players Association headquarters, a 53,925-sf building located at 2021 L St., into office condos that will deliver in August 2008, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

Also in the pipeline is 20 F St. NW, now a parking lot in Capitol Hill, according to Tonya Ginter, director of research and marketing for GVA Advantis. Ginter tells GlobeSt.com that the American College of Surgeons is under contract with Boston Properties to buy the site for an undisclosed amount. The association plans to develop a 10-story, 165,000-sf office building in which it will occupy part of the building and offer the additional space as office condominiums. Completion is slated for late 2009.

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