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CHESAPEAKE, VA-First Potomac Realty Trust has renewed two long-term tenants in its Southern Virginia portfolio that total approximately 97,400 square feet. Corinthian Colleges, a tenant at Greenbrier Circle Corporate Center renewed its 26,900 square foot lease. It also plans to expand into an additional 12,300 square feet this August. Verizon Virginia also renewed its two leases totaling 58,200 square feet at Norfolk Commerce Park II and Norfolk Business Center in Norfolk. Tony Beck, First Potomac’s Regional Vice President for Southern Virginia, did not return a call to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

Greenbrier Circle Corporate Center consists of two buildings totaling 229,163 square feet of office space. Norfolk Commerce Park II and Norfolk Business Center include two business park buildings totaling 218,945 square feet in the Norfolk Commerce Park submarket.

Like just about every other landlord in this environment, First Potomac has been focusing on keeping existing tenants, as well as snag new ones where possible. According to the company’s recent earnings report, in Q1 it completed 657,000 square feet of leases–144,000 square feet of which are new tenants. Of that activity, 98,000 square feet of newly filled space had been vacant for more than a year. It renewed 34 clients last quarter, or 513,000 square feet–an 80% retention rate, according to comments made by COO Skip Dawson during the earnings call. The average base rent or renewals increased 1% on the cash basis and 15% on the GAAP basis, he also said.

“We will continue to focus on maintaining a strong retention rate throughout 2009, as this is the most cost-effective leasing we can do from a capital and overall cash flow perspective,” he said. “We have taken care of our largest exposures in 2009 and 2010. Because of this, we do anticipate that our renewal rate will slow slightly, as the year progresses, since we have pulled forward some renewals on future expirations.”

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