A good friend was sent a listing for leased office space in the NRA headquarters building by a commercial real estate broker. The broker suggested that it was the precursor to selling the building. That confused me a bit so I did some more digging.
I found the leased space listing on at least five websites serving the commercial real estate market in the Metro DC area. It was on Loopnet.com, Propertyshark.com, Cityfeet.com, and CommercialCafe.com in addition to CommercialSearch.com. The listings in all five were virtually identical.
There is currently one space available at 11250 Waples Mill Road. The building’s general use is office. The space listed for lease is described as general office. Current availability totals 8,977 square feet. Of this, minimum divisible area is 8,977 square feet. The listed lease rate is $30.00/SF/YR.
The space is on the 3rd floor. According to the FAQ, this is the only space available for lease in the NRA headquarters building. All five of the listings note that the building was updated in 2022 and emphasize its location. However, none of the listings nor any of the photos indicate that it is the NRA headquarters building. The big red NRA letters are on the other side of the building.
I reached out to a commercial real estate broker with a large firm here in North Carolina for his opinion. Lee was aware of the listings above. He took note that it was the only space available for lease in the building. Given that, he said, having a full occupancy makes a building more attractive to buyers. Or as he put it, “Lease it up first to then sell.” I mentioned the building’s condition and he said the tenants will make them fix the roof before they’d lease it. I imagine a seller would do the same or use it to really whittle down the price.
As can be seen in the photo below of the ceiling of the building’s atrium, there is still damage left from the leaking roof. While the powers that be assert they have fixed the roof, I think that is questionable. The photo below was
taken within the past month or so (update based on metadata – May 2022)
I submitted a resolution at the 2022 Meeting of Members to address the issue of the headquarters building’s condition. I was told an independent inspection would be a waste of money by director Ron Schmeits and the problem was being addressed. The resolution went down to defeat as might be expected. I asked for an independent inspection because I frankly didn’t trust the majority of the board to do more than pay lip service to it. Obviously, I was correct.
The board has authorized a search committee to explore a move to Texas. They may even vote on finalizing a move at the board meeting after the conclusion of the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. Selling the Virginia headquarters building would certainly fit into that move. However, the question remains how they can afford to fix the building, buy or lease a new one in Texas, move everything, and do it given the state of their finances. Even if they can sell the building, the monies realized would only pay off the existing over-extended line of credit. Unlike the gun control lobby, there is no sugar daddy billionaire waiting in the wings to rescue the NRA.
UPDATE: I was told by Frank Tait that the Board of Directors voted in January 2020 to
sell the Headquarters Building. If memory serves me correctly, that meeting was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit its stride and everything shut down. (Correction – the vote to sell was not the HQ building but adjacent 2-story brick office buildings located at 11244 Waples Mill Rd. They are also owned by the NRA. Their combined assessment is $2 million. Frank reports it has now been taken off the market. The HQ is 11250 Waples Mill Rd.)
The normal thing to do when trying to sell a house – or a building in this case – is to spiff it up and get it in top-notch shape in order to receive the best offer. While I grant you that the pandemic shut-down was in full force, building maintenance workers and contractors were considered essential employees. Unfortunately, maintenance of the Headquarters Building was obviously put off and damage resulted. This is mismanagement at its worst because it is letting a valuable asset erode in value.
UPDATE II: I was wrong on the date of the atrium photo. Checking the meta-data on the original, it was taken in May 2022. A friend who visited the NRA HQ on business within the last two weeks assures me that while the atrium is closed, the damage to the ceiling has been repaired. It was also noted that the roof is in much better shape.
It has been brought up that the building has had a number of outside leasees. That is not denied. However, it was the ad that in the professional opinion of a commercial real estate broker was to be considered a precursor to a sale. I confirmed this with another broker with whom I have a trusted working relationship.