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In The Loop
Posted at 08:47 AM ET, 06/05/2013

GSA redeveloping once top-secret building


(Courtesy Forest City.)
Imagine doing yoga, sipping a pricey cocktail — or maybe just going to work — on the exact spot where some of Washington’s most highly classified business once took place. A little downward dog where there was once codebreaking?

That’s not an unlikely scenario. The General Services Administration tells the Loop that it’s in the process of preparing the building near Nationals Park that housed top-secret CIA programs for redevelopment, in partnership with real estate firm Forest City Enterprises, with whom it has a development agreement for a chunk of the Navy Yard.

“Redevelopment,” according to a Forest City spokesman, means demolition.

The building, Navy Yard Annex Building 213, has a storied history. It housed the National Geospacial Intelligence Agency and its forerunner, the National Photographic Interpretation Center, which developed intelligence from satellite images. Don’t ask exactly what they did, because then, you know, they’d have to kill you.

(Oh, and apparently, the building was once known as the “Lundahl Hilton” after CIA agent Arthur Lundahl, the National Photographic Interpretation’s founding director, a guy who located a few missiles in Cuba that turned out to be kind of a big deal.)

Fast forward to today, with the corridor around Nats Park rapidly filling up with brewpubs and condos.

A Loop fan wrote, noting that it appeared that the building, which GSA took over in 2012, was being renovated. The GSA spokesman said that’s some “environmental remediation.”

After that’s done with, Forest City spokesman Gary McManus tells us, the building will be razed. The land will be turned into a parking area or a park until Forest City figures out what to build. The answer is likely to be an office building, given the site’s proximity to the Metro.

So it’s possible that the only intel-gathering that will go on there now are gossip sessions over the water cooler.

By  |  08:47 AM ET, 06/05/2013

 
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