The Watergate office tower, best known for the break-in that lead to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation. (Savills LLC)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation was looking for a building with a story to it, and it found one — the Watergate.

In February, the trust — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect historical buildings — announced that it was selling its Dupont Circle headquarters, which was built in 1917 and once served as a luxury apartment building for the likes of then-Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon.

The search began for another historical building in town, and the group announced Thursday that it had settled on the Watergate office building, home to Washington’s most famous burglary.

Designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti and constructed between 1963 and 1971, the 10-acre Watergate complex is one of the first mixed-use projects in Washington and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Trust President Stephanie K. Meeks called the Watergate “an instantly recognizable historic structure in the nation’s capital.” The trust will occupy about 35,000 square feet on the top two floors.

“The selection of the Watergate demonstrates our ongoing commitment to recognizing and protecting important places from every era in American history, including the recent past,” she said in a statement. “We hope our decision to move to this iconic building will bring increased attention to landmarks of modern design.”

Penzance, a District-based developer, bought the Watergate in 2011 for $76 million and began overhauling the building’s common areas and retail.

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