Metro will seek to sell its downtown Jackson Graham headquarters and decamp to smaller office spaces in the District, Maryland and Virginia, according to a proposal released Thursday in advance of a Metro board meeting.
Transit agency officials believe the process would save more than $130 million in operating and capital expenses over the next two decades. The Jackson Graham building is in urgent need of costly plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical repairs. The building is also no longer in compliance with current fire codes and Americans With Disabilities Act standards.
Metro’s real estate staff has determined that the building, on the corner of Fifth and G streets NW, near Capital One Arena, could be a high-value sale for the cash-strapped transit agency, and the sale could help cover a large part of the cost of moving headquarters.
The plan is expected to be approved by the Metro board at its meeting on Thursday.
“Metro can reduce its office space footprint by approximately 100,000 square feet by consolidating the staff housed in the leased facilities, and save an estimated $38.9 million in operating costs over 20 years due to lower space occupancy and more energy efficient building systems,” Metro said in its proposal to the board.
It’s not a new idea: Metro has floated the prospect of selling the hulking downtown building since 2002.
In 2008, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty pushed Metro to sell its headquarters and move the agency to Anacostia, freeing up space in downtown Washington and also encouraging development in Southeast D.C. But the plan stalled. Years later, former Fenty aide Neil Albert said, “It didn’t happen because we couldn’t get consensus from the board members.”
It remains unclear where Metro will move if and when it sells its downtown building. Metro has appointed a commercial real estate brokerage firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, to conduct the hunt for new office space.
“JLL has initiated the search for office space in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, where Metro anticipates acquiring a building in each state to best serve the region,” Metro said in its proposal.