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.