DC's Department of Employment Services will go before the National Capitol Planning Commission Thursday for approval of their new five-story, mixed-use headquarters on the site adjacent to the Minnesota-Benning Metro Station. Part two of the larger Minnesota Benning Government Center development, the Deverouax & Purnell-designed 225,000 s.f. headquarters will bring 500 jobs, over 7,000 s.f. of retail space, and a four-story parking garage to the 9.2-acre site.
The government's goal in relocating the headquarters to the Benning-Minnesota Metro area was to make DOES' services more accessible to its clients while improving the developing neighborhood. According to Bill Rice, Spokesman for DC's Office of Property Management, "The new headquarters for the DC Department of Employment Services will make DOES services more centrally accessible for District residents and promote economic development in the Benning Road-Minnesota Avenue, NE, area east of the Anacostia in downtown Ward 7. It will bring new employees to the area, thereby promoting economic development and serving as a catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Ward 7."
The HQ project will not be alone by the Metro, however; Ward 7 and the Benning neighborhood have received quite a bit of development attention lately. In March, the District issued a solicitation for bidders for a five acre site adjacent to both the Metro and the DOES site; Parkside Residential LLC's senior and affordable housing project and Abe Pollin and the DC Housing Authority's 150-unit development are also in the works.
Part of the Government Centers Initiative that places civic buildings in less-developed neighborhoods, the job creating, development-promoting HQ project will complete its wholesome image by pursuing Silver LEED Certification. Located at the Northwest Corner of Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road, NE, the development will be funded by the sale of 500 C Street NW to the Newseum and general obligation bonds. It will replace current bus shelters and Metro parking and widen Minnesota Avenue.
If the final site and building plans secure NCPC approval, Rice said the District will begin the permit process with groundbreaking in September, he added that the government will not partner with another developer.
Phase three of this development thrill ride is currently on hold, but will eventually be a new office building for the Department of Homeland Security and will include 125,000 s.f. of office and retail space. Phase one was a parking garage.
The DC-based architects specialize in designing buildings for agencies and corporations and are responsible for the MCI Arena, the Convention Center, and the Pepco Headquarters.