Roadside Development Hires New CIO, Kicks Off $600M Redevelopment of Fannie Mae HQ

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Washington, D.C.-based Roadside Development has hired Patricia Earnest to serve as the firm’s chief investment officer, the company announced.

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Most recently a senior managing director in Savills Studley’s capital markets group, Earnest previously held positions at Peterson Companies, Walker & Dunlop, Transwestern and Perseus Realty Capital. Over the duration of her career, Earnest has executed more than $5.2 billion of equity and debt transactions across multiple product types.

“I’ve known Patti for a long time and was always impressed with her knowledge of the financial world and creativity in deal structures,” Richard Lake, Roadside Development’s co-founder, told Commercial Observer. “We’re building our portfolio and we needed talent. We thought Patti was a great fit. She’s worked across multiple disciplines—office, retail, residential— so she has a really good sense for all of the assets that could be on the menu for us.”

One project that Earnest can put her multidisciplinary experience straight to work on is the firm’s transformation of Fannie Mae’s former headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Avenue. Roadside Development, along with its joint venture partner North America Sekisui House, purchased the 10-acre site in November 2016 and is redeveloping it into an “urban village’ that will include 700 residential units, 150 hotel rooms, 68,000 square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of retail space.

The project’s total cost will be around $600 million, Lake said, financed through a mix of debt and equity.

Wegmans is opening its first D.C. location at the site and its 80,000-square-foot store will sit below the 228,000-square foot former Fannie Mae building, which serves as the development’s centerpiece. Construction will wrap on the project’s various components throughout 2022, beginning with the opening of Wegmans.

“We’re literally holding this building up while we excavate and dig out and reset its structural foundations in order to allow Wegman’s to slide in feet first,” Lake explained.

c06 op1 0427 2 Roadside Development Hires New CIO, Kicks Off $600M Redevelopment of Fannie Mae HQ
Wegmans at the redeveloped site. Rendering: Roadside Development

Fannie Mae will continue to occupy the property until November when it moves to its new headquarters at Carr PropertiesMidtown Center building. “Once they move out we will begin our work,” Lake said. “The initial work is to do some remediation at the site. There are buildings that are not contributing [to the development] and aren’t part of the historic fabric so we’re going to be tearing those buildings down to make way for seven new buildings. The project has been fully approved by D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board so all of our entitlements are in place and we’re now in the throes of finalizing our work.”

Completely redeveloping the GSE’s former office campus into a mixed-use village presented “just a couple” of complexities, Lake said and laughed. “We knew this going in because Fannie Mae sold the property way before they were ready to move out, so doing a sale-leaseback was already baked into the transaction. We used this time to take the front building and designate its historic landmark status and we had around 30 meetings with the community surrounding it, incorporating a lot of their goals and aspirations into the plan.”

The mammoth project is high on Earnest’s priority list as she settles into her new role, and she’s hitting the ground running.

“I’m busy touring properties and getting my arms around our existing product,” Earnest said. “We want to make sure that we’re teeing up all of our assets in order to enhance the tenant experience and the value to our stakeholders. There aren’t that many companies here in D.C. who are this entrepreneurial and this creative, and have the capacity that Roadside has to execute these very large, multi-discipline complex projects. So to have the opportunity to work with a company that is continuing to add scale and yet maintain a lot of control of their own portfolio is a very exciting opportunity.”