Remember when Monument Realty was the poster child in Washington
for the over-exuberance of the real estate bubble?
When the housing and real estate markets crashed, Monument was left with a gaping hole in the ground by the Nationals’ ballpark and $500 million in loans to pay. Its partner, of all people, was Lehman Bros. The company’s principals included Michael Darby, a swashbuckling Australian who moved to United States to become a professional skier, and the brash, loud and ultra-competitive Jeff Neal.
After action by the Arlington County board last night though, there is little question now that Monument is back.
After a laborious three-hour meeting last night, the Arlington County Board approved Monument’s deal to build a six-story, 453,000-square-foot regional and international headquarters for Boeing just north of Crystal City.
There were complaints about the board approving an office building for a single business rather than a mixed-use project, but for Monument and Darby, who took the helm after Neal departed, it’s the ideal result. Darby made it happen via some complex maneuvering, including a land swap with the county and complications related to the Lehman bankruptcy. He nearly lost some of the land he needed for the deal to foreclosure; now he will likely get a major payoff when the aerospace giant buys the site outright.
The result: Monument is back in the market and its name is back on the tips of everyone’s tongues, not to be mocked but being taken seriously again.