With hopes of finding a potential buyer, WMATA has requested a zoning change for its D.C. headquarters at 600 5th Street NW. UrbanTurf reports that the potential zoning change would swap the site from D-2, which allows for high-density housing up to 90 feet high with a limited amount of ground-floor commercial space, to D-5-R, which allows for high-density residential development up to 130 feet high. If the zoning change is approved by the Zoning Commission, WMATA’s next step would be to apply to have the zoning order that approved a planned-unit development for that site extinguished.
In the zoning application, it reads, “The requested map amendment will support WMATA’s efforts to generate the resources necessary to relocate its headquarters to a newer, more modern facility that meets current programmatic needs, thereby allowing WMATA to continue to meet the region’s demand for reliable public transportation.”
This is not the first time WMATA has made moves to sell its headquarters. In 2016, WMATA announced that a valuation analysis of the property, known as the Jackson Graham Building, was completed, valued between $56 million and $132 million.
A statement published at the time by Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld stated, ”The choices facing Metro about its headquarters building are clear: either expend millions to retrofit the existing building to bring it up to modern fire and life safety standards, or sell the building at the top of its potential value range and use those proceeds to fund a relocation.”
The building was completed in 1972 and was named after the Army Corps of Engineers general who oversaw the planning of Metro’s lines.