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Would you pay $55 million for two acres in Alexandria? USAA did

Monday - 5/5/2014, 5:42pm  ET

The National Science Foundation's planned headquarters in Alexandria is expected to generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue, bring tens of thousands of visitors to the area annually, and spark the redevelopment of several other surrounding properties. What's the land for the agency's new home worth? The answer: $55 million.

That's about $27.5 million an acre, and that's how much an affiliate of USAA Real Estate Co. paid an affiliate of the Hoffman Co. LLC for the two-acre property in a deal that closed April 15, according to Alexandria land records. The land, as of January, was assessed at a little less than $17 million.

USAA announced its acquisition of the project last month but did not disclose its sale price. It has retained Lowe Enterprises to help develop the two-building headquarters at 2401 Eisenhower Ave., part of the Hoffman Town Center. Hoffman Co. LLC wasn't actively marketing the property for sale, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Brendan Owen later told me, but was approached by USAA and others as part of a related development site in the center that's on the market.

The General Services Administration awarded a lease to Hoffman last June for a little less than 660,900 square feet for the NSF, which will be relocating from two buildings in Ballston once its new headquarters is built in 2017.

Meanwhile, as I reported earlier Monday, brokerage JLL has decided to appeal a federal court judge's ruling that it cannot collect $6.6 million in commissions for helping Hoffman land the agency lease because one of its brokers did not have a license to practice real estate in Virginia. JLL claims the broker, Art Turowski, was acting as a real estate consultant, not as a broker.

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