D.C. agency puts its headquarters in NoMa up for redevelopment

It is one of the very few remaining unclaimed development sites in NoMa, and now it is available.

The D.C. Housing Authority, the quasi-public agency that manages the District’s 8,000-plus public housing units, announced last week that it is seeking developers interested in overhauling its headquarters at 1133 North Capitol Street NE.

Built in 1961 — decades before the moniker NoMa (for North of Massachusetts Avenue) was even coined — the building is the stopping place for low-income residents in need of housing assistance, and it has seen better days.

The area surrounding it has grown from a collection of industrial properties and nightclubs to a neighborhood flush with office and apartment buildings, one of which is built atop a Harris Teeter grocery store.

National Public Radio’s new headquarters is across the street, and developers nearby are pushing the newly sold Washington Post to join it. A mixed-use project featuring what is likely to be the District’s first Wal-Mart, barring a last minute pull-out by the retailer because of living wage legislation, is expected to open this fall three blocks south.

Signing a development partner would allow the housing agency, led by executive director Adrianne Todman, to take advantage of the increasing value of its property. In a 74-page solicitation document, the agency called its current home “inadequate for DCHA’s corporate and customer service requirements.”

The agency outlined what it hopes to get out of the deal: 80,000 square feet of new DCHA offices in the same location, 70 subsidized apartment units, 46,000 square feet elsewhere in the city where it can handle customers, and cash in the form of lease payments for the land.

In return, developers are offered the opportunity to build a mixed-use development that under current zoning could top out at 1.1 million square feet. The agency gave developers a Sept. 9 deadline to express interest.

The site is an opportunity for the NoMa neighborhood to add more amenities for apartment dwellers and office workers in the area, said Robin-Eve Jasper, president of the NoMa Business Improvement District. She said hundreds of apartments are under construction nearby and coffee shops, salons, gyms and other retailers are looking for space. “It’s a very important piece in the continued build-out of NoMa,” she said

Headquarters

The D.C. Housing Authority’s terms for potential deal with developers:

80,000

The square feet of new DCHA offices in the same location.

70

The number of subsidized apartments.

46,000

Square feet elsewhere in the city where DCHA can handle customers.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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