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WASHINGTON, DC-Developer Ralph Dweck has selected CB Richard Ellis to lease out the top floors of a 10-story, 255,000-sf trophy office he is building at 300 New Jersey Ave. Peter Connolly, senior vice president at CBRE, along with senior vice president Joe Michel and vice president Scott Russi, will be handling this leasing assignment.

While the DC market is softening, the demand for trophy space is as tight as ever. Accordingly, the building is expected to fetch some of the highest rates seen in the District.

CBRE is not quoting rent rates right now, Connolly tells GlobeSt.com. “But we expect to set a new high watermark because of the building’s quality and the quality of tenant we expect to attract.” Located within view of the Capitol, the tenants are likely to be government affairs offices and high-end trade associations, Connolly adds.

Rumors put the asking rate at $100 per sf, full service, according to John Sikaitis, vice president and director of research for Jones Lang LaSalle. “From a price point it will be one of the highest per sf rental rates in the city,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Market dynamics would support such a price point, or at least come very close, he adds. “Citywide vacancies continue to be low.” In particular, Capitol Hill is very tight; the only other option a tenant would have is 25 Massachusetts Ave., where some 150,000 sf is still available, Sikaitis says.

Dweck purchased 300 New Jersey Ave., and the adjacent 51 Louisiana Ave., for $825 per sf, or $378 million, from JBG Cos. earlier this year. The first five floors of 300 New Jersey Ave., which is expected to deliver in Q2 2009, have been leased to Jones Day, which already occupies 51 Louisiana Ave. CBRE will be leasing approximately 100,000 sf on floors seven through 10. The entire three-office project–51 Louisiana Ave. consists of two buildings–will be renamed America’s Square.

Designed by London architects Richard Rogers Partnership–architects of the Pompideu Centre in Paris, Lloyds of London Corporate HQ in London, and Barajas Airport in Madrid–the building will be LEED certified. Features include floor to ceiling and wall to wall windows, and a 12,000-sf glazed atrium that will connect the new building with the two other existing buildings.

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