2015 | News

Bethesda Crossing Building Has New Owners

A downtown Bethesda office building that recently underwent a name change and major renovation has new owners. The 7315 Wisconsin Avenue building at Bethesda Crossing, formerly known as the Air Rights Center, was sold to a group of investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management last week for an undisclosed price. Developer MRP Realty and private equity firm Rockpoint Group made the sale less than a year after completing a $30 million renovation on the entire three-building complex that features 715,000 square feet of Class A office space. MRP and Rockpoint bought the property in January 2013. The developer will retain ownership of the facility's office building at 4550 Montgomery Avenue and continue as the property manager at the Wisconsin Avenue building, known as the Wisconsin Towers. The Bethesda Crossing complex also includes the Hilton Garden Inn, which is sandwiched by the two office buildings. "The sale of Bethesda Crossing is another step forward in our committed strategy of acquiring well- located, urban-infill assets and renovating, repositioning and rebranding them into premier office and residential properties," said MRP Managing Principal Bob Murphy in a press release. "It's a significant enhancement in the overall tenant experience for our occupants and further drives home our commitment to creating additional investment value for our investor partners." MRP updated the buildings' lobbies, common areas and restrooms, and added a 4,000-square-foot fitness center in the Montgomery Avenue tower. It also sought out new tenants, including office share company UberOffices.  Longtime tenants in the complex include financial services companies such as Calvert Investments, life insurance company Weaver Bros. and business research firm Abt Associates. The 7315 Wisconsin Ave. building also kept its ground floor-retail — including Ruth Chris Steak House. MRP and the Rockpoint Group quickly changed the name of the office complex after they bought it for about $200 million. The "Air Rights" moniker came from how the 1960′s-era buildings were developed — as an air rights project above the former B&O Railroad right-of-way. The right-of-way, now the Capital Crescent Trail, travels in a tunnel under the buildings and under Wisconsin Avenue. The property also includes a site on Pearl Street that is approved for development of a roughly 150,000-square foot office building. MRP hasn't shown much interest in that project since taking over.