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WASHINGTON, DC-Louis Dreyfus Property Group’s Lafayette Tower at 801 17th St., NW has received Platinum Level certification from the USGBC. The company delivered the building at the beginning of the year, after tearing down the old building at that address and rebuilding it from the ground up.

The 11-story, 237,000-square-foot office used to be home to the FDIC and before that, the RTC. The company decided to tear down and rebuild because the building specs for the original 1970s-era building would not meet Louis Dreyfus’s goals for green design, Sean Cahill, VP of development, tells GlobeSt.com. This is the first building to be certified Platinum Core & Shell in the District, he adds. Louis Dreyfus also won one of the first Gold designations in the city in 2006, with 1101 New York Ave. NW.

Green building advocates, such as Louis Dreyfus, are seeing their theories about sustainability tested in the recession–namely that these investments pay for themselves over the long-run in building operations and also can attract more tenants. So far, 801 17th St. is about 12% to 15% leased with three tenants. Cahill says there are other tenants interested as well.

“The building has been getting more looks because of its LEED design and now official rating,” says Cahill. “But other market constraints are obviously weighing–which is that there is just not a lot of velocity out there.” Still, though, he says, the traction the building has gotten has been because of the level of sustainability associated with it, which in Cahill’s book is a good sign. “Right now let’s face it: most tenants are just renewing, they aren’t looking for new space,” he points out.

Asking rates change depending on the floor. Starting on the sixth floor tenants have a view of the White House. Asking rates for the top floors are north of high $60s per square foot, NNN. The lower floors are low $50s per square foot, NNN. The construction contract for the building was $48 million. Total development costs, including the demolition of the old building, equaled about $600 per square foot, Cahill says.

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