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Real Estate Bisnow

Friday, September 6, 2013

Behind the Deal: Republic of India to U Street

Rock Creek Property Group wasn't sure what to do with the vacant former nightclub and post office it bought on U Street in 2011. The right move turned out to be waiting (something it probably learned at the post office). The firm's Gary Schlager (snapped with CBRE's Tina Weaver earlier this summer) tells us that after buying 1438 U Street in January 2011, the firm took over a year to evaluate the best next use for the 12k SF property. Plans included everything from condos to apartments to retail. But Gary says selling or leasing to a single-user occupant made the most sense, which culminated in India purchasing the building for $5.7M. It will be used as a cultural center, Gary says, and India, which closed all cash on 1438 U, was ultimately attracted to the open floor plan and unique historic interior not found in many properties in DC.

There was one more suitor in the running - a retailer, Gary says - but the buyer's willingness to move quick and close all cash helped set them apart. As for the upcoming cultural center, Barnes Vanze Architects principal Anthony "Ankie" Barnes, who assisted the India with due diligence on the buy, tells us the design will serve to "foster the exchange of cultural issues" between both India and US.