Chevy Chase-based JBG Cos. owns most of L’Enfant Plaza, where in June it opened a combination of underground restaurants, shops and seating areas after a 20-month, $46 million makeover. Britt A. Snider, principal at JBG, declined to comment.
Werden said the museum is still open to other locations and did not elaborate on where the spy museum would fit in L’Enfant Plaza, but its move there could boost JBG’s efforts to attract more than government employees. About 30,000 people commute to L’Enfant Plaza every weekday but the area remains bereft of the sort of nightlife or tourist attractions that have been rapidly popping up in other parts of the city and region.
JBG has been marketing L’Enfant Plaza as part of a more lively neighborhood, one envisioned as part of a 15-block eco-district by the National Capital Planning Commission. The Wharf, a $2 billion overhaul of the Southwest Waterfront, is under construction a few blocks south. The General Services Administration has proposed developing a federal enclave a few blocks west into a mix that could include offices, housing and hotels.
The spy museum provides flexibility to developers because unlike most retailers or office users, it’s comfortable occupying space underground. In its plans for the Carnegie Building, the museum would have occupied more than 40,000 square-feet in a newly developed underground space, before the plans were turned away by the Historic Preservation Review Board.
JBG owns 955 and 470-490 L’Enfant Plaza and has proposed two other buildings, 500 and 900 L’Enfant Plaza.