Management & Operations

WMATA puts downtown headquarters site on the market

Posted on April 2, 2019

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is offering its downtown DC headquarters site — home to the Jackson Graham Building — for development under a long-term ground lease.

The offering is extremely rare in the DC real estate market, both in terms of location and size, and represents a prime opportunity to re-develop the site for future high-density office, residential, hotel, or mixed-use development. The 1.1-acre (48,401 square foot) site spans an entire city block and is located in the heart of the city's Gallery Place retail and entertainment district, across the street from the Capital One Arena and the National Building Museum, and within a one-block walk to Gallery Place and Judiciary Square stations, providing convenient access to the Red, Green, and Yellow lines.

Because WMATA would retain ownership of the property under a long-term lease, any development would have the potential to generate sustained revenue for the agency to support bus and rail operations, help keep fares affordable, and contribute to the transit agency's long-term financial stability.

As announced in October, WMATA purchased an existing building near L'Enfant Plaza for its new DC headquarters. As part of a broader consolidation effort, other employees and job functions will be relocated to new regional headquarters sites in Maryland and Virginia that will be announced in the coming weeks. Overall, the consolidation is estimated to save taxpayers $130 million over the next 20 years by consolidating WMATA's current 10 office buildings to seven.

The Jackson Graham Building has served as Metro's Headquarters since 1974 and has never undergone a major renovation. Not only is the building inefficient, it does not meet current fire/life safety standards or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The cost to rehabilitate the existing building to meet these standards was evaluated and deemed prohibitive, prompting the acquisition of the new building.

In the offering, WMATA commits to vacate the Jackson Graham Building by December 2022.

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