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August 2, 2016
Sinclair makes decision on WJLA headquarters
Washington Biz Journal
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. has decided to remain in Rosslyn, concluding a search that included the prospect of moving across the Potomac River to the District or Maryland. The broadcaster's Sinclair Television Group Inc. subsidiary, which includes ABC affiliate WJLA Channel 7 and NewsChannel 8, has signed on with Monday Properties for another 15 years at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd., a 1.1 million-square-foot complex near the Rosslyn Metro has been rebranded as The Towers. Sinclair Broadcast Group's television subsidiary has renewed its lease at The Towers with Monday Properties in Rosslyn. The roughly 110,000-square-foot renewal removes a major flight risk for Monday and Arlington County, which has been grappling with high vacancy rates in recent years. Baltimore-based Sinclair (NASDAQ: SBGI) in January inked a short-term lease renewal through mid-2018 while it continued to evaluate a host of alternatives across the D.C. region, including new construction. Sinclair General Manager Dan Mellon said Rosslyn's central location was an important factor providing its news teams the ability to cover stories quickly from across the D.C. region. The mix of retailers, employers and residential options were also a plus for its employees. Monday President Tim Helmig said the lease validates the developer's commitment to improving the condition of the iconic Rosslyn office buildings. Monday has invested roughly $70 million in improvements there over the past six or seven years, including adding rooftops to both towers. The landlord has signed more than 345,000 square feet in new leases or renewals over the past year, including Eastern Foundry, Grant Thornton LLP and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. Helmig said new retail and restaurant options have increased interest from existing tenants such as Sinclair and new ones like Grant Thornton. "Without question, the investment we made into The Towers creates an enriched environment of completely curated collaboration space," he told me. "The buildings themselves were positioned well when matched up against the competing product, and obviously, Rosslyn really stood up well against the multiple jurisdictions that Sinclair was considering." The state and Arlington have been competing heavily for economic prospects like The Advisory Board Co., Blackboard and Opower, but Sinclair's decision was not based on state or local incentives. Arlington County Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins said the county was ready to support Monday even though direct assistance was not needed. Sinclair plans to invest more than $20 million to upgrade its space, including expanding its studios, and is increasing its footprint by about 10,000 square feet. The broadcaster is also working with Monday to update the building's exterior signage, which had included a television screen and news ticker at the corner of North Lynn Street and Wilson Boulevard, though those details are still being worked out. The prospect that Sinclair might leave surfaced after it completed its $985 million acquisition of WJLA, NewsChannel8 and six other stations from Allbritton Communications in 2014. Sinclair had been exploring several options for its D.C.-area operations, including the Capitol Riverfront. D.C. attempted to entice Sinclair with a legislative change passed in June that would have granted some tech incentives to broadcasters. Sinclair is part of what Monday sees as an emerging "media hub" in Rosslyn that also includes Graham Holdings, New Media Strategies, Politico, Salem Communications and the Washington Free Beacon. JLL brokers Joe Judge and Robb Johnston represented Sinclair, while Monday's Deniz Yener and John Wharton represented the landlord.

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