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WASHINGTON, DC-Two retailers have taken space in the city’s East End for an aggregate 32,000-square-feet. Forever 21 is leasing 27,000 square feet in the former Woodward & Lothrop department store building at 11th and F streets, owned by Norman Jemal of Douglas Development. This will be the first Forever 21 store in the District. The second retailer, Guess, will occupy 5,000 square feet at 1155 F St., a class A building close to the Forever 21 site that is also owned by Douglas Development.

Madison Retail Group principals Michael Pratt and Eric Rubin brokered the leases with Forever 21 and Guess. They represented both sides in the Forever 21 transaction; Rubin brokered the Guess deal with the company’s national consultant Carol Rosenfeld.

The former Woodies, as it is affectionately called here, was redeveloped a few years ago. Located at 1025 F St., the roughly 500,000-square-foot, 10-story building has slotted between 140,000 square feet to 150,000 square feet to retail; the remainder has been leased to office tenants. The asking rate for the former department store site was $45 per square foot, Pratt tells GlobeSt.com–a far cry from the $100 or so per square foot that such space commanded a few years ago. Nonetheless, the Forever 21 lease takes the building to near complete occupancy, which for most retail owners has become a noteworthy achievement.

Pratt indirectly attributes the leases to the excitement in the city over President Barack Obama. “It is an intangible that is hard to put a figure on–but much about retail is about perception. There is definitely a sense of excitement and newness around Obama and that is helping the city.”

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