September 17, 2002

New Trend in Washington, D.C. Land Use

Holland & Knight Newsletter
Christine M. Shiker

Over the past year, the Washington, D.C., Central Employment Area expanded through the development of large commercial projects.  Three projects in which Holland & Knight was involved demonstrate an increased trend by Washington, D.C., developers toward large commercial projects through the Planned Unit Development process.  The Planned Unit Development process is designed to encourage high-quality development that provides public benefits to the District.  The overall goal of the process is to permit flexibility of development, such as increased building height and density, provided that the project offers a commendable number or quality of public benefits and that it protects and advances the public health, safety, welfare and convenience. 

Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., Land Use Group was involved in this expansion by obtaining approval for the construction of three projects representing approximately 2.5 million square feet of office space.  Each of these new projects was approved by the District of Columbia Zoning Commission as Planned Unit Developments. 

The first was the approval for the second headquarters building for the International Monetary Fund.  This project is located at 1900 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., and will include in excess of 650,000 square feet of commercial office space, with retail uses on the first floor. The project was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and is one of the first new construction projects in the District to institute security measures consistent with the National Capital Planning Commission’s Urban Design and Security Plan that was  issued shortly after September 11, 2001.

The Washington, D.C., Land Use Group also worked with and obtained approval for the Louis Dreyfus Property Group’s Station Place development adjacent to Union Station.  Station Place consists of approximately 1.5 million square feet of commercial office development, and it is leased in part by the Securities and Exchange Commission as its new headquarters.  Station Place is actively marketing the remaining 650,000 square feet of office space to prospective tenants.

Finally, the third project is Bernard Gewirz’s development of a new, 12-story commercial office building with retail uses on the first floor at 1700 and 1730 K Street, N.W. The project includes approximately 370,000 square feet, and it was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.  This project represents the first time in 25 years that the Zoning Commission has granted approval for the lease of airspace under the District of Columbia Public Space Utilization Act.

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