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Smithsonian Institution Pays $254M for New Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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The Smithsonian Institution's new office headquarters is located at 600 Maryland Ave. S.W. in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Boston Properties Inc.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Smithsonian Institution has acquired the 318,557-square-foot West Tower of the Capital Gallery office property in Washington, D.C. for $254 million. The U.S. government entity, which operates 19 museums and nine research centers, will use the building as its new headquarters.

Located at 600 Maryland Ave. S.W., the 10-story glass building makes up just over half of the two-building property, which totals 631,029 square feet of Class A office space. Smithsonian also acquired four floors of the eight-story East Tower.

Smithsonian already leases office space within the building, and the acquisition is part of a plan to consolidate five office spaces in the Washington, D.C. area into a single location. The financial and administrative offices, currently located in Crystal City at 2011 Crystal Drive, in Arlington, Virginia, are the largest offices to move to the new administrative headquarters. Other offices to be consolidated include spaces at 955 L’Enfant Plaza S.W.; 425 Third St. S.W.; and 901 D St. S.W. The move is scheduled to begin early next year.

“The reason for purchasing an office building near the National Mall is twofold — it is more efficient to have staff together in a central location and it is less expensive than leasing over the long term,” the museum operator said in a statement.

The seller, Boston Properties Inc., developed the Capital Gallery in 1981. The property offers direct access to the L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station and Virginia Railway Express commuter platform, as well as Interstate 395.  It is located near Reagan National Airport and the National Mall.

Boston Properties, a Boston-based REIT, retained ownership and management of the remainder of the building, including the 468-space parking garage, ground-floor retail space and common areas

— Alex Patton

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