Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Old Post Office Due for Redevelopment


The General Service Administration and the Office of Management and Budget have begun evaluating redevelopment options for the lower levels of the famed Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. After an enthusiastic response to the GSA’s Request for Information in 2005, the two federal agencies began discussing the next steps for the 375-unit building. Federal Triangle’s Old Post Office was the largest government building and the first steel-framed building in the capital when initially built as the headquarters of the Post Office Department- an attempt to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. Now, 100 years later, based on government and developers’ interest in the project, the building will either become a government office building, or the GSA will submit a Request for Qualifications and Proposals to gather ideas for making the Post Office a multi-use project.

Complete demolition is not a threat as it was after WWII, but under the National Historic Preservation Act the government space can be leased to private tenants, providing endless possible uses for the building. In the 80’s, the GSA tried to take advantage of this by creating retail space on the first two floors, a project that has since proved financially unsuccessful. Congress suggested that the use of the lower level space not be predetermined, but rather this redevelopment project to be used as an opportunity for developers to submit unique ideas for the building – with the stipulation that any changes made to the inside of the building during redevelopment be reversible. The decision to issue a Request for Qualifications and Proposals is still pending with no deadline, it may be a while before this historical building receives a modern internal revamp.

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