WASHINGTON, DC-A new 20,000-square-foot lease signed in one of the Capitol Riverfront’s recently developed office buildings is providing the submarket a boost in confidence. Developer Monument Realty inked a lease with Sayres, a government services contractor, at 55 M St., SE–a 275,000-square-foot building above the Navy Yard Metro at Half and M streets. Bob Shue and Steve Burman of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant, which is consolidating offices it maintains at Navy Yard and in Crystal City, VA.

An emerging part of the District, the Capitol Riverfront has experienced a significant build-out in the past few years–much of which, unfortunately, delivered in time for the recession. Vacancies have been rising in this submarket for the past year, despite the lure of the nearby Nationals Ballpark–in the case of 55 M St., literally down the block.

This lease, plus another signed earlier this summer, is inspiring cautious hope that activity is returning to the area. In August, the Bureau of Land Management took 94,435 square feet at 20 M St. SE, a 190,600-square-foot office building in the heart of the Capitol Riverfront submarket owned by Lerner Enterprises–also the developer who build the National’s baseball stadium several yards away.

For Monument Realty, its new tenant at 55 M will provide the momentum to complete leasing the remainder of the building and continue with other phases of Half Street, according to principal Michael Darby. A LEED Gold certified office building, 55 M is the first phase of Monument’s Half Street project, a mixed-use development that also includes 320 residential units, 50,000 square feet of retail and a 200-room boutique hotel.