By Daniel J. Sernovitz on August 14, 2013.
Miller & Chevalier Chartered is close to a deal to move its downtown D.C. law offices to the Christian Science complex by 16th and Eye streets NW, where it would anchor the historic site's redevelopment into a 125,246-square-foot office building, sources with knowledge of the deal have told me.
The 92-lawyer firm, now based at 655 15th St. NW not far from where it wants to move, is in negotiations to lease about 86,000 square feet in the proposed trophy-class office building. The development at 900 16th St. NW, which is also slated to include a new 11,722-square-foot house of worship space and nearly 3,900 square feet of retail, would replace the Brutalist-style Third Church of Christ, Scientist and Christian Science Monitor buildings.
A partnership including The JBG Cos. and ICG Properties LLC submitted a planned unit development application to the District earlier this year for the property, which was caught up in an historic preservation battle that reached a settlement in November 2010. Representatives from JBG could not be reached for comment. IGC Principal David Stern said no leases have been signed for the building yet and added his firm does not, as a rule, comment on pending leases.
The deal would mark the latest in a string of major law firm leases triggering or springing from new construction in the D.C. region. Arnold & Porter LLP, Covington & Burling LLP and Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman LLP are also planning to move to new office towers in the coming years.
Lease tracking firm CompStak put Miller & Chevalier's rental rate in the low $60-per-square-foot range, which would make it one of the priciest pre-lease rental rates for new trophy-class buildings in the District. CompStak, which launched in D.C. earlier this year, draws its information from brokers and other parties involved in leasing deals. Miller & Chevalier's new lease extends for 15 years. Its current 15th Street lease is slated to expire in 2015.