by Rebecca Cooper, Staff Reporter
Washington Business Journal
The National Conference Center is about to get an infusion of capital after a California-based real estate investment company purchased an unpaid loan balance of $36.9 million for the Leesburg property. PCCP LLC purchased the debt from Trimont Real Estate Advisors in a deal brokered by NGKF Capital Markets. The loan had been nonperforming for about 18 months, according to Lisa Benjamin, a senior managing director with NGKF. PCCP, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Sacramento, Calif., intends to invest millions of dollars in the Loudoun County conference center to increase its occupancy, Benjamin said. That capital will finance cosmetic and infrastructure improvements, as well as efforts to diversify the conference center’s customer base.
Occupancy has decreased in recent years as a result of sequestration and a lack of government meetings. Former General Manager Kurt Krause told the Washington Business Journal last year that government gatherings represented about 60 percent of the facility’s business. Krause left in September.
“Its biggest users were federal agencies, especially for training,” Benjamin said. “And over the past few years, occupancy has suffered largely as an impact of sequestration and movement away from that kind of training.”
The conference center has been working to bring in more corporate clients in recent months. “Over the next couple of years, I don’t think there will really be pricing changes on the packages they offer, but there will be a concerted effort to broaden the base of groups using the center,” Benjamin said.
Two particular areas of potential growth will be in bookings for the National Ballroom, which at 16,000 square feet is one of the largest in the region, as well as in nonovernight training sessions for corporate and other clients.
The center, originally built as a training center for Xerox Corp., has 250,000 square feet of meeting space and 546 guest rooms.
PCCP intends to work with the facility’s existing operator, Aramark Conference Centers, according to Benjamin. Neither PCCP nor the conference center’s owner, Chicago-based Oxford Capital Group LLC, responded to requests for comment.
Rebecca Cooper covers retail, restaurants, tourism and the arts.