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This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts from November 2010.

According to a good source, GSA and WMATA are working on a new policy to allow GSA to modify its rent caps for sites that meet certain transit oriented development criteria (i.e. sites within a certain proximity to Metro stations, etc.).  As many of our readers know, GSA caps its rents as a result of negotiations with OMB per rules created to implement the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. OMB (through Circular A-11) created a set of rules which are used to determine whether a federal lease is an "Operating" or "Capital" Lease. To make a long story short, GSA and OMB have agreed to rent caps to make it easy to stay within "Operating Lease" guidelines. The current Operating Lease rent caps are $34/SF in Maryland, $38/SF in Virginia, and $49/SF in the District of Columbia.  With vacancies finally falling and rental rates starting to rise, the natural effect of these caps will be to push federal office space development away from mass transit locations, which yield the highest rental rates.  Currently, big chunks of space for federal agencies just aren't normally available below these price caps where there are mass transit services available.

Have you heard the DC Zoning Commission is looking into adopting a new set of GAR requirements?  No, we're not talking about the kind of fish that eats every other kind of fish it can fit in its mouth, we're talking about Green Area Ratio ("GAR") requirements.  According to the report prepared by DC zoning staff, the GAR concept is not a new concept, but is a Low Impact Development best management practices tool used in major cities in Europe such as Berlin and Malmo.

Part I of this post focused on basic provisions found in commercial real estate leases such as assignment and subletting, use restrictions and the determination of the commencement date. Here in Part II, below, we will address other important issues from the tenant’s perspective including insurance, mutual waivers and defaults.

This is the second posting in my station by station land use analysis of Northern Virginia's new Silver Line.  The first station (at the Silver Line's eastern terminus) is the East Falls Church Metro Station, which will serve as the transfer station from the Silver Line to the Orange Line.

 

With the FFW holding behind us, I thought it would be an opportune time to spend some time focusing on how the planned Silver Line Metro Station areas are planned to build out, so that we can provide a comprehensive guide to Northern Virginia's new transit corridor, station by station.  This first post is a macro-analysis of the system as a whole, which will be followed by a station by station land use, transportation and density analysis, and then probably an end-cap article summarizing the capacity of the corridor as a whole.

November 12, 2010
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Topics Green

I ran across a recent TED presentation by Eben Bayer, co-inventor of MycoBond.  MycoBond is an adhesive based on mycelium, a living organism.   In essence, the process uses fungi to transform agriwaste and convert it into a foam-like material that can be used for packaging and insulation.

Styrofoam is ubiquitous in transport and packaging.  Styrofoam takes up 25-30% of landfill area by volume.  Polystyrene manufacturing was recognized by the EPA as the 5th largest creator of hazardous waste all the way back in 1986.  In addition to not being particularly degradable, Styrofoam uses significant amounts of petroleum.

November 9, 2010
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Topics Green
Tags Green

The second draft version of the International Green Construction Code being prepared by the International Code Council (Public Version 2.0) was released last week as anticipated, which incorporates the actions taken at the hearings this past August.  If you have any suggestions on how to improve on Public Version 2.0, Code Change Submittals are now being accepted and the forms are available on the ICC's website.  The final action to adopt the IGCC is a year away, and the public review process will continue until then.  The schedule can be found on their website here, and we'll endeavor to keep you updated as it continues to evolve.

November 4, 2010
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Topics Taxes
Tags Taxes

Did you hear that whooshing sound?  That was the collective sigh of relief from localities embraced by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority who have levied a special transportation tax against commercial property owners while exempting residential property owners from that same tax.  The Supreme Court released its opinion this morning that commercial and industrial property owners may be taxed for transportation improvements (such as the Dulles Metro extension) while multifamily and other residential properties may be exempted from the tax.  Here's a copy of the opinion.  The Supreme Court had granted the appeal back in April and heard the arguments in mid-September.

As I was discussing some of Arlington's Community Energy Plan goals with an architect friend of mine the other day, it was apparent to both of us that a number of the County's stated goals for energy efficiency (such as the 30% increase in efficiency) in its plan track the time line for the incorporation of the the International Code Council's Green Construction Code in one form or another by Virginia.  After spending some time reviewing the Synopsis of the International Green Construction Code currently in process to be adopted by November of next year by the ICC, it was clear that what has been contemplated and encouraged by USGBC's third party rating system was adopted by the proposed ICC Green Construction Code.  In fact, the requirements set out for election by jurisdictions should sound pretty familiar to you, such as Site Development and Land Use, Material Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Energy Conservation and Earth Atmospheric Quality, Water Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Commissioning, Operation and Maintenance, etc.  There's even a handy checklist to use, just like the one the USGBC provides.