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WASHINGTON, DC-Fourth quarter 2008 was good to at least one local company. First Potomac says it inked or renewed more than three million square feet of leases last year–with at least 210,000 square feet of new leases signed in Q4 and 426,000 square feet renewed during the same period. Of the total lease volume for the year, 1.2 million square feet were new transactions and 1.8 million square feet were renewals.

First Potomac CEO Douglas Donatelli declined to say by how much or how often the company went below its typical asking rates to achieve this, other than to comment that it happened very rarely. “In some instances we had higher TI packages, but for the most part we were very pleased with the rental rates,” he tells GlobeSt.com. The company had put in place aggressive programs at the beginning of the year to focus on leasing–specifically tenant retention. “We didn’t realize, of course, how bad things would get in Q4, but it was these programs that saw us through for the entire year.” First Potomac reports that it retained more than 80% of its tenants and signed 50% more renewal leases than it did in 2007.

The company had a goal of reaching 90% occupancy for its portfolio in 2008; Donatelli says it has come close to reaching that. The company’s portfolio was 87% occupied this time last year.

New leases First Potomac signed during the fourth quarter were with GSA for 51,000 square feet; Sutron Corporation at 27,800 square feet; IES Commercial’s 23,800 square feet contact; Allied Technologies at 25,500 square feet, and Victory Packaging at 57,500 square feet.

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