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Metro seeks developers to ground-lease and redevelop its current headquarters building

The transit agency says it is prepared to vacate the Penn Quarter property by 2023

Metro’s current headquarters, the Jackson Graham Building, at 600 Fifth St. NW
Brian Kinney/Shutterstock

Metro is making its current headquarters building at 600 Fifth Street NW, in Penn Quarter, available for redevelopment through a long-term ground lease, as it readies to relocate its headquarters to an office building it recently bought in Southwest’s L’Enfant Plaza vicinity.

On Tuesday, the transit agency announced that it was placing its centrally located Jackson Graham Building on the market, but noted that it plans to retain ownership of the property. The ground lease would allow the transit agency to pull in revenue. In a release, Metro said:

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.

The transit agency is promising to exit the Jackson Graham Building by December 2022, so the property could be cleared for redevelopment. “Maximizing the value of our downtown property is in the best interest of Metro, the District, our employees and our riders,” Metro’s general manager, Paul J. Wiedefeld, said in a statement. Metro has occupied the building for over four decades, but is now preparing to consolidate its office space at 300 Seventh St. SW.

Rendering of possible Metro headquarters redevelopment
Perkins & Hill, courtesy of Metro

That consolidation is anticipated to create $130 million in savings over the next two decades, according to Metro. Currently, the transit agency occupies 10 office buildings but will shrink to seven under the plans. Its present headquarters, which houses more than 1,300 workers, is outmoded, both missing fire sprinklers and failing to meet federal accessibility requirements.

Commercial real estate brokerage JLL is representing Metro in its marketing of the Jackson Graham Building. “The property, described in [District] land records as Square 487, is being offered for a 99-year ground lease to highly qualified investors,” the authority’s release noted.