Wednesday, March 05, 2008

NPR Announces New Home in Noma

Today, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the newest resident of NoMa, NPR, which is now making preparations to dispose of its old site. The District's favorite nonprofit will add to the list of NoMa's growing family, XM Satellite Radio, CNN, the Department of Education and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. According to the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID), an organization created by the City Council to support development in NoMa, private developers have invested over $1 billion and broke ground on over three million s.f. of space within the area north of Massachusetts Avenue since the initiative began.

J Street Development
, which had other plans for the site at 1111 North Capitol Street, NE, before deciding to sell to NPR, will develop the 10 story, 400,000-s.f. office building and the massive, 60,000-s.f. newsroom bullpen inside. The building will take the place of the old Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies warehouse, which is currently leased by the Smithsonian. Shalom Baranes Associates will design NPR's new global headquarters with space for more than 20,000 s.f. of retail while maintaining a number of facades from CPT's historic building. To begin the move, NPR will begin marketing their old digs at 635 Massachusetts Avenue for sale within the next two weeks. The organization will then leaseback the property until their move-in date, expected by the end of 2011.

"There are businesses within this city's boundaries that are important to the fabric of our communities. NPR is one of those businesses. We started working months ago to find NPR a new headquarters...This project will be an impetus for many things to come over the years," announced Fenty proudly.

"The new headquarters will be the physical manifestation of our broader thinking about NPR for the future...This translates to a setting that offers our staff the most creative, collaborative and interactive atmosphere to do their best work," boasted Ken Stern, CEO of NPR. With this openness in mind, Stern then discussed the vast amounts of public space that the development will include in the new campus, to be used for live broadcasts, lectures and for the community at-large.

Studley represented NPR in the deal, searching for a place that was close to the metro to serve commuting NPR employees, while at the same time attempting to remain within the District. According to Vernon Knarr of Studley, "For NPR to move outside of DC would have been a big change."

As part of the development, the city will help fund the project with a dual phase, 20-year tax abatement which translates to roughly $40 million dollars, a factor that Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert said was "critical to the economics of this deal." Alongside those tax abatements will come a slew of streetscape improvements to make the project "feasible and aesthetically pleasing," added Fenty.

NPR was founded in 1970, and opened up shop on M Street, only to move to Penn quarter more than a decade later, in what many called a pioneering move. Stern likened their current move to that same pioneering mentality from the '80s.


Chris L on Mar 5, 2008, 8:02:00 PM said...

I was wondering what NPR was going to do; I had heard Silver Spring was courting them in an effort to solidify their reputation as the "media center of DC". I'm glad they decided to stay in the District in the end.

So NPR gets new digs in NoMa, and a developer will have a chance to redevelop their old spot and contribute something to Mt. Vernon Square. This city keeps on getting better and better!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know of any plans for their current building?

anderlank said...

You can see renderings for the building on NoMa's website: There is an interactive map with construction schedules and renderings for almost every street corner in the neighborhood. Very exciting stuff for someone like me who works on the southern end of NoMa.

Anonymous said...

The current building is for sale. As an extra incentive for NPR to stay in DC, the DC government is freezing real estate taxes on the current building for ten years.


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