The Washington Post

Anacostia office building likely to be first to open near Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths

The view of Washington’s waterfront from the soon-to-be renovated warehouse at 2235 Shannon Place SE. (Jeffrey MacMillan/For Capital Business)

One of the selling points of 2235 Shannon Place SE, an office building being planned for Anacostia in Southeast D.C., is its views of downtown Washington. Not only is the Washington Monument visible from the property, but it can be viewed from the first floor. Go up to the fifth floor and the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Potomac River all come into view.

The office project is the first step in a long-term, transformational overhaul of downtown Anacostia being planned by a partnership between District-based Curtis Properties — which owns large chunks of land there — and Four Points, a D.C. developer that is making its name on projects in emerging neighborhoods.

With construction of a headquarters for the U.S. Coast Guard well under way at the former campus of St. Elizabeths hospital a mile to the south, Curtis and Four Points are finalizing plans to transform the existing industrial building at 2235 Shannon Place, currently an evidence storage facility for the Metropolitan Police Department, into an 87,000-square-foot office building that will be one of the few options available to government contractors looking to have a presence in the area.

The delays and budget cuts facing construction of the Department of Homeland Security’s campus at St. Elizabeths are well-documented, but the government has the money on hand to complete construction of the Coast Guard headquarters, which will bring an estimated 3,800 workers to the area.

Located near Anacostia’s downtown area and its Metrorail station, the Shannon Place building overlooks Interstate 295, Anacostia Park and the Anacostia River. Shortly after the police department’s lease expires in September and the police move elsewhere, Curtis and Four Points plan a $25 million makeover that will turn the warehouse into a glass-and-steel-encased, LEED-certified four-story office building with a fifth-story penthouse.

A rendering of the warehouse tranformed into a four-story office building. (Courtesy of Four Points)

Four Points, which is developing the mixed-use Progression Place project in the Northwest neighborhood of Shaw, began marketing the Anacostia building through Jones Lang LaSalle earlier this summer, said Stan Voudrie, a principal at Four Points.

The developers ultimately plan 1.4 million square feet of development in the area, but until then, Voudrie said, there are few buildings for lease in the area for companies that want to be near St. Elizabeths. Given the lack of available space in two of the other nearby Curtis buildings — the Anacostia Professional Building and the headquarters building for the D.C. Lottery — he pegged the area’s office vacancy rate at “close to zero.”

“There’s not a lot of other space for groups that are going to want to be near the Coast Guard,” he said. “The Coast Guard doesn’t have the contractor base that maybe the Navy Yard does, but they have a contractor base.”

The Curtis-Four Points partnership isn’t the only one proposing new office space to piggyback on the DHS headquarters, but it is likely to be the first to arrive. A partnership between Sanford Capital and City Partners plans a 250,000-square-foot office building atop the Congress Heights Metrorail station south of St. Elizabeths, but is more than a year away from construction.

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



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