St. Elizabeths and the Old Post Office
Acting GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini inherited the two massive projects, and now he must see them to some end. Tangherlini says it’s been smooth sailing dealing with the Trumps who plan to turn the Old Post Office Pavilion into a hotel. But the $3.4 billion consolidation of Department of Homeland Security facilities at the former St. Elizabeths hospital in Southeast D.C. needs to be re-worked due to lack of funding. Where does the agency go from here?
The DHS project became a victim of congressional disagreement over whether to continue to fund construction there, but there are some new players involved. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is the new head of the committee overseeing transportation and public buildings, while Tangherlini’s future at the GSA is unknown. Their visions for the future of the agency and the property will have to coincide for St. Elizabeths to move forward much this year.
For Prince George’s County, a possible move by the FBI is the white whale — a major headquarters consolidation pegged for 55 acres or more near a Metro station. A chance to land the FBI could mean the start of a major, transit-oriented project and commercial tax base boost that County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and other leaders have been pushing for since Metro first opened its doors.
Pulling it off, however, will require winning a regional competition likely to bring out the most politicking and financial one-upmanship in the region since Northrop Grumman decided to relocate its corporate headquarters here. Fairfax County hauled in Northrop and with the Silver Line arriving in Tysons, the FBI could be next.
The world’s largest retailer has been quietly making progress on its six planned stores in the District, albeit on a much slower time frame than it had hoped. The company says it will open for business in D.C. in 2013, but it’s likely to be first at a mixed-use project at First and H streets NW, rather than the more traditional stores it plans on Georgia Avenue NW and New York Avenue NE. If that store and the new Costco-anchored shopping center in Northeast succeed, the District’s tax base will be a big winner.
Progress in the suburbs, meanwhile, has been mixed, as the retailer shelved plans to open on Rockville Pike in Montgomery County, but is plowing ahead with construction in Tysons Corner.