The U.S. Department of Homeland Security facility in Brooklyn Heights, Ohio is a three-story office building consisting of 61,384 rentable square feet that is fully leased to three tenants. The property is anchored by the U.S. General Services Administration at 81% of building square footage, occupied by three divisions within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The remainder of the building is occupied by a private-sector tenant, VNA Health Group, on a long-term lease.
The subject property houses essential DHS and NWS functions that are critical to the mission of each tenant. Three divisions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement are located within this facility, including Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. The size of this DHS lease and structure with three ICE divisions provides evidence of the importance of this location within Homeland Security’s national network. This facility is highly secure and specialized, designated as Facility Security Level III, with improvements for ICE that include secured entry and parking, a sally port, detention area, and fitness and locker rooms. Similarly, the building serves as the new, long-term home of the Cleveland Weather Forecast Office for NWS and has several features which are unique to this requirement, including telecommunications systems and outside storage to accommodate chemical containers.
Originally constructed in 1981, the subject property was extensively renovated-to-suit for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2016 per the tenant’s specific requirements as part of a new, first-generation lease with the U.S. Federal Government for a 15-year term. Since occupancy in 2016, DHS has expanded into additional space and continued to invest in tenant improvements, with new expansion projects completed in 2020 and 2021. DHS now occupies a total of 40,502 rentable square feet, comprising 66% of the building. In 2020, the National Weather Service (NWS) began occupancy for a new 20-year lease term, consisting of 9,480 rentable square feet and representing 15% of the building. VNA Health Group (Visiting Nurse Association Health & Hospice), a leading nonprofit community health care organization that provides coordinated, innovative in-home care, leased 11,402 square feet commencing in 2019, equating to 19% of the facility. In 2020, VNA Health Group extended their lease to a total of 10 years of term and waived a previously existing lease termination option.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has invested significant funds to this facility, totaling over $6.5 million in improvements for DHS and NWS. Additionally, GSA removed their existing lease termination rights for the DHS lease, further demonstrating their ongoing commitment to this location. The GSA leases are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, which has a credit rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investor Services and offers unrivaled income security. The GSA has a long-standing reputation as a tenant with one of the highest possible renewal probabilities in the commercial real estate industry. Historical data published by the GSA regarding their portfolio of over 8,000 leases nationwide reflects a retention rate which typically exceeds 95%.