The Reeves Center brought city office jobs to the U Street corridor when then-Mayor Marion Barry opened it in 1985, but the building’s deterioration and the rapid growth of the surrounding neighborhood has rendered it increasingly obsolete. Allowing a private company to develop it would bring the city new tax revenue.
For all its inefficiencies, however, the building remains a point of pride for Barry, whose name remains on the facade. Lew has proposed relocating the city agencies in the Reeves Center to Anacostia, an area that Barry (D-Ward 8) represents on the D.C. Council. The agencies would occupy the second phase of the Anacostia Gateway office complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, where the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development relocated in 2009.
Matthew J. Klein, president of Akridge, said if the company acquired the property it would plot a mixed-use project that would include new housing. A 2011 report by the District’s chief financial officer suggested the 533,329-square-foot building could sell for as much as $186 million on the open market, but private-sector analysts said it would probably fetch closer to $100 million because of its inefficient design and dated condition.
“We are in the process of determining how that value would be established,” Klein said.
Although it now holds the worst record in Major League Soccer, United is one of the 17-year-old league’s original and most successful franchises, winning MLS Cup championships in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004, and twice capturing the U.S. Open Cup.
But its inability to make money has brought constant pressure on management to find a way out of 52-year-old RFK Stadium, which is cavernous for the typical United crowd and considered obsolete by modern standards.
In 2007, majority investor Victor A. MacFarlane, a real estate magnate, pushed for a deal to build on Poplar Point, across the Anacostia from Nationals Park. After then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) walked from the idea, MacFarlane attempted to move the team to Prince George’s County but was turned away there and sold his stake in the team in 2009.
In the meantime, other MLS clubs built new stadiums, and more than half now play in newer venues built to accommodate crowds of 20,000 to 30,000.
Levien, a lawyer and former player agent who is also chief executive of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, said United’s new investors were done looking at other jurisdictions: “We’re completely committed to the District.”