Building Known for Harboring Watergate Burglars Trades for $68M

CIBC Bank USA provided a $42 million acquisition loan.

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University students living in Washington, D.C., could again have the chance to rent a unit once used during a stakeout by the Watergate burglars. Binoculars not included. 

A partnership between Up Campus Student Living, Palmor Capital, BridgeInvest and Sabal Investment Holdings has purchased 2601 Virginia Avenue NW, these days known as the Boathouse Apartments, from Urban Investment Partners (UIP) for $67.5 million, according to Bisnow. CIBC Bank USA provided a $42 million acquisition loan for building, which features 250 units along with 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. 

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Built in 1962 as a Howard Johnson hotel, the property played a role in the infamous Watergate scandal that rocked the Nixon Administration and famously led to the first American presidential resignation. 

A group of burglars, who in 1972 broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the neighboring Watergate complex, rented Rooms 419 and 723 at the hotel before they made their move. 

George Washington University eventually acquired the building in the decades that followed, using it as student dormitories. UIP bought the building from the university in 2016 for $36 million, later investing some $40 million on property upgrades and expansions to rebrand it as the Boathouse in 2020. 

“Our value-add repositioning plan will transform the asset with student-focused enhancements, fostering a vibrant community environment through Up Campus’s vertically integrated on-site management,” Stephen Bus, managing partner for Up Campus, said in a statement.

While 2601 Virginia Avenue has remained more or less financially stable since the Watergate scandal, the Watergate office complex has found itself on rockier ground recently.

Morningstar issued a delinquency report late last year on a $73 million CMBS loan tied to the property, Commercial Observer reported at the time. Yet payments from building owner Friedman Capital have reportedly come back on-track thanks to “robust” leasing, according to firm founder Ben Friedman.

Nick Trombola can be reached at NTrombola@commercialobserver.com.