Former Washington Post CEO Don Graham to move Graham Holdings to Rosslyn

Fresh off of selling The Washington Post and agreeing to sell the newspaper’s longtime headquarters, Donald E. Graham has negotiated a deal to move his new company, Graham Holdings, to Rosslyn later this year.

The company, whose properties include the Kaplan education company, television stations, Internet properties and a cable television company, plans to lease 34,000 square feet in Arlington Tower, at 1300 North 17th St. in Arlington, according to sources familiar with the deal. Some of the sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations were subject to confidentiality agreements.

Having sold the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, Don Graham is moving his company to Arlington. (Bloomberg)
Having sold the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos, Don Graham is moving his company to Arlington. (Bloomberg)

Brian Kriz, senior vice president of Hitt Contracting, said his company had been hired to build the office space and interior finishes for Graham Holdings. He said Graham’s company would occupy the 17th floor and half of the 16th floor and was working with District-based architect Smith Group.

“It’s a nice project,” Kriz said of the space. “It’s a high-end job with meeting areas, conference areas and nice finishes. They are a company that knows quality, and I think they’ve been in their old space for quite some time. This will be well-built space.”

Other sources familiar with the deal but bound by confidentiality agreements said the lease had been negotiated but was waiting on final approvals.

Graham, chief executive and chairman at Graham Holdings, declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

Though the new offices are less than a mile outside the District,  Graham’s move marks the end to a life working in D.C. during which he became a mainstay of the city’s business, civic and philanthropic circles. Graham attended St. Albans School in Northwest D.C. and became an officer in the Metropolitan Police Department before becoming a reporter at the Post, which his grandfather purchased at bankruptcy auction and where his mother was publisher. Graham walks to the company’s current offices from his home in Dupont Circle. On the same block as the Post are the offices of the Federal City Council, the non-profit group run by business executives where he is a trustee.

The new building is mostly occupied by a unit of BAE Systems, a defense contractor. BAE’s name is affixed to the top of the building.

But Graham completed the sale of the newspaper to Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos in October and inked a contract to sell the headquarters at 15th and L streets to Carr Properties the following month. He renamed the former Washington Post Co. as Graham Holdings.

Jettisoning the newspaper allowed Graham Holdings to focus on other businesses and it recently launched Trove, an app for curating personalized news and social media. Trove was named WaPo Labs before the sale to Bezos. Other Graham Holdings units include Slate, Foreign Policy magazine and the social marketing firm SocialCode.

The move could give Graham more clout with Congress, as Virginia is represented by two members of the U.S. Senate, unlike the District which has no voting members of Congress. Kaplan, the largest business unit of Graham Holdings, came under congressional scrutiny along with other for-profit education firms in 2010 for leaving students with high debt loads and dim prospects for finding jobs, and the Department of Education moved to put in place new regulations.

The newspaper is about a year into its own search for a new home, with Bezos coming to town recently to look at buildings. It leases the space it occupies from Graham Holdings and is expected to remain as a tenant of Carr Properties until its own relocation.

Staff writer Thomas Heath contributed to this article.

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