Georgetown now has a new financial corporate headwuarters that combines a sensitive restoration with new construction on a acre-plus site where 139 rental apartments also will be built under the "air rights" lease concept.
The $9 million, low-rise, contemporary headquarters of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. at 1115 30th St. NW. was dedicated last week. If reflects what visitors have seen to be an imaginative rebirth of a site on which a 20-year-old office building and an adjacent 50-year-old warehouse of the Washington Gas Light Co. stood.
CFX purchased the site in 1975 for $3.125 million, or more than $50 a square foot, a figure than was considered high at the time. "It was a ghastly thing, like the old torpedo plant in OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA," SAID ARTHUR COTTON MOORE. HIS ARCHITECTURAL FIRM DESIGNED THE RENOVATION OF THE NORTH OFFICE BUILDING, THE REDEVELOPMENT AND RECONFIGURATION OF THE OLD WAREHOUSE INTO NEW OFFICE SPACE, PLUS CONSTRUCTION OF TWO LEVELS FO PARKING UNDER AN INNER COURTYARD AND THE IDEA FOR APARTMENTS TO BE BUILT ABOVE THE PARKING AREA IN BACK OF THE BUILDINGS.
J.K. SMITHS, VETERAN GOVERNOR OF THE CFC (as the rural electric financing firms calls itself), said the he chose the site as a headquarters becuase he could be see "potential" in it.
It Smith is tickled about the redevelopment, it's not merely because the new building, with 100,000 square feet, was dedicated to him and bears a plaque with his likeness. A member of the staff sand the CFC board of directors named the building after Smith "because J.K. HAS BEEN IN THE RURAL ELECTRICAL COOPERATIVE PROGRAM SINCE HE WAS WORKING AS A LABORER, LAYING OUT NEW LINES, AS A YOUTH IN KENTUCKY."
CFC now occupies all of the 25,000 square feet in the redone north building. An atrium provides light and a contemporary mood in a basically stody building. CFC also is using some of the space in the new Smith structure, where other space is being leased at $10 to $13 a square foot.
The idea is that CFC will have its own space to grow into as the years roll along. CFC was organized and set up in Washington in 1969 and now has a staff of 964 persons.
A driveway between the two CFC buildings leads to a center court, space to park of turn around and entrances to the buildings. But it also will provide access to the 139 rental apartments that architect Moore has designed to be built by a group headed by attorney-developer Ben Jacobs.
Those Georgetown Mews apartments will be joined to the Smith building on 29th Street NW.