Boeing deal caps Monument Realty’s comeback


Monument Realty is building a six-story, 453,000-square-foot headquarters for Boeing north of Crystal City. (SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

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.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.

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