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WMATA seeks lease for DC headquarters

The Jackson Graham Building has served as WMATA’s headquarters since 1974 and has never undergone a major renovation.
Photo – WMATA


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is offering its more than 48,000-square-foot headquarters in Washington, D.C., for development under a long-term ground lease. 

WMATA will retain ownership of the property, which it will vacate by December 2022, and move its headquarters to a building the transit authority purchased last year near L’Enfant Plaza, WMATA officials said in a press release.

The Jackson Graham Building has served as WMATA’s headquarters since 1974 and has never undergone a major renovation.

Officials said the building is inefficient and does not meet current fire and life safety standards or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The cost to rehabilitate the existing building to meet these standards was evaluated and deemed prohibitive.

A development at the downtown building would have the potential to generate revenue for the transit authority to support rail and bus operations, WMATA officials said. 

"Maximizing the value of our downtown property is in the best interest of [WMATA], the district, our employees and our riders," said WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "While the Jackson Graham Building has been our home for more than 40 years, the revenue that will be generated by the redevelopment of this property is an investment in [WMATA's] future."

The build spans a city block and is located across the street from the Capital One Arena and the National Building Museum, and within a one-block walk to Gallery Place and Judiciary Square stations, providing access to the Red, Green and Yellow lines.

The offering is rare in the Washington real estate market, both in terms of location and size and represents a prime opportunity to re-develop the site for future high-density office, residential, hotel or mixed-use development, according to WMATA. 

As part of a broader effort to consolidate WMATA’s office buildings from 10 to seven over the next 20 years, some employees and job functions will be relocated to other regional headquarter sites in Maryland and Virginia. Those changes will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/3/2019