Two local developers are competing for the rights to develop a key site in Herndon's sleepy downtown into something more vibrant.

The land, about seven acres, is mostly owned by the town and is home to a variety of things, including a car dealership, a small office building, empty lots and an abandoned electrical substation.

A team that includes Norton Scott LLC of Great Falls and Centex Homes of Dallas wants to build a project called Herndon Station there. The project would include a 141-room hotel, 120 condominiums, a three-story office building, and 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Its competitor, Clark Ventures, an affiliate of Clark Construction Group LLC of Bethesda, has proposed a project on the site that would include about 32,000 square feet of retail space and almost 300 condominiums. Clark is pitching its deal as a public-private partnership, with the developer building public amenities such as sidewalks, road improvements, parking, an amphitheater and an outdoor plaza in exchange for the development rights.

The one thing both competitors agree on is building a community arts center, something town and community leaders have requested. Herndon officials are expected to choose a developer by the end of the year.

"What we've proposed in these two projects is 180 degrees different, but it shows that Herndon is one of the few places you can come in and do a large mixed use," William H. Sawicki of Clark Ventures said. "The town is ripe for something like this."

Hotel Renovation

The Lincoln Suites Hotel at 18th and L streets NW is to undergo a $2 million renovation. RLJ Development LLC of Bethesda, a hotel company owned by Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson, recently bought the hotel. Johnson's RLJ Development, a five-year-old company, owns four other hotels in the District.

RLJ bought the Lincoln Suites Hotel from the Donohoe Cos. for $8.4 million, said Thomas J. Baltimore Jr., president of RLJ Development. The renovations are likely to start early next year.


* D.C. developer Douglas Jemal sold a building at 2131 K St. NW for $20.1 million to a New York real estate investor. The building's largest tenants include George Washington University and the American Society of Civil Engineers. The buyer, JOSS Realty Partners, also paid $34.5 million for 1776 Massachusetts Ave. NW, a building that is owned by a partnership that includes local investors.

* Joe Stettinius, 43, took over as senior vice president for the Washington area in the local office of Equity Office Properties Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns about 113 million square feet of office space in 18 states and the District. He replaces Tom Bakke, who served in the position for five years and is now doing national leasing.

* The law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP renewed its long-term lease of 290,000 square feet at 1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW, a building owned by Boston Properties Inc., one of the largest developers in the District.

* Stephen Goldberg Cos. of the District paid $22.4 million, or $191 a square foot, for the Burtonsville Office Park, a 116,000-square-foot complex at the intersection of Route 29 and Route 198 in Montgomery County. GVA Advantis represented the seller.

* Manekin LLC of Columbia started construction of the first buildings in a 400,000-square-foot project of flex office space, research and development offices and stores in Waldorf at Route 228 and Western Parkway, one block west of Route 301. The $50 million project is expected to be completed over the next decade.

* Transwestern Investment Co. of Chicago bought 801 Follin Lane, an office building of about 200,000 square feet in Vienna, for $25.4 million. Jones Lang LaSalle represented the seller.

* First Potomac Realty Trust of Bethesda said it paid $60.2 million for three Virginia properties, totaling more than 1 million square feet of space, in Sterling, Manassas and Chesapeake.

* An affiliate of RCP Development Co. of the District, with its partner Citigroup Property Investors, the real estate arm of Citigroup Inc., said it plans to invest about $100 million over the next few years to buy property in the Washington area.

* WDG Interiors of the District said it finished designs to redevelop the 152,000 square feet of space at 5107 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church for a division of the Justice Department.

Dana Hedgpeth writes about commercial real estate and economic development.

Her e-mail address is

A rendering of a plan by Clark Ventures for a project in Herndon. The diagonal running through the proposed plan is the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

Norton Scott LLC's plan for redeveloping downtown Herndon includes a hotel, retail space and housing on about seven acres owned mostly by the town.