(D. Chow /Courtesy of D. Chow )

North Capitol Street has long been a bastion of rather drab office buildings, many of them home to D.C. government agencies. However, that has been changing recently, particularly as nearby development in the Neighborhood North of Massachusetts Avenue (NoMa), north of Union Station, has picked up.

Many of the owners of buildings along North Capitol have decided upon the the strategy to rehab existing buildings, usually by adding glass exteriors that allow for more light into the buildings (and allow them to attract higher rents).

Something similar seems to be happening at 500 North Capitol Street, where for months a construction crew has been at work on, at the very least, a new facade to replace the dated, concrete-looking one that proceeded it. Look at all that glass being hung on the outside!

So...what’s going on with 500 North Capitol Street?

This 230,000-square-foot building dates from the 1980s and for those who remember it, wasn’t much to look at it. But it was purchased for $8.5 million in 2010 and the new owners announced plans to renovate the entire building. The work is underway now and should be complete in November of this year.

Last January the building's owners attracted the golden goose of office tenants to occupy it: a law firm. McDermott Will & Emery, currently located at 600 13th Street NW, signed a lease to move its Washington offices into 171,000 square feet there.

The move gives the firm close access to Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court and so on. Upon reaching the deal, McDermott co-partner-in-charge David E. Rogers boasted of the building’s planned, “roof-top terrace with a spectacular view of the U.S. Capitol and a 360 degree view of the D.C. landscape” in a press release.

When it is complete, the new building will be renamed, naturally, “The McDermott Building.”

Is there a project, building or property in your neighborhood that you want to learn more about? We’ve previously written about the big hole in the middle of Takoma, the Hill East development, the Arlington Funeral Home site and others. Suggestions are welcome at oconnellj@washpost.com.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz