Balfour Beatty Tapped to Build 330,000-SF NPR Headquarters in D.C.

The new NPR headquarters will be located at 1111 North Capitol St., N.E., in the city's burgeoning NoMa neighborhood, on a site that was home to a 165,000-square-foot warehouse when the company acquired the property in 2008.

May 24, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user James Cridland

National Public Radio takes a big leap forward with development of its new 330,000-square-foot Washington, D.C., headquarters building now that the global broadcast and digital media organization has selected Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction to handle preconstruction services and construction management responsibilities for the project.

The new NPR headquarters will be located at 1111 North Capitol St., N.E., in the city’s burgeoning NoMa neighborhood, on a site that was home to a 165,000-square-foot warehouse when the company acquired the property in 2008. Balfour Beatty will be responsible for transforming the 1920s-era warehouse into a Class A office facility through a selective demolition and restoration process that will also involve the addition of a new structure containing seven levels of office and studio space, and three levels of parking accommodations. Ultimately, the headquarters will include a 100,000-square-foot newsroom, a 10,000-square-foot data center, a theater and production venue, as well as meeting and training rooms and a fitness center. Designed by Hickok Cole Architects, the project is being developed to adhere to LEED Gold certification standards.

Construction should get underway this fall, allowing for the employment of hundreds of workers. Serving as development manager is Boston Properties, which purchased NPR’s current headquarters at 635 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. for approximately $119.5 million in a sale-leaseback deal as part of its development contract bid with NPR. For Balfour Beatty and Boston Properties, the project marks a continuation of a longstanding partnership, as Balfour Beatty has erected over 3.8 million square feet for Boston Properties over the last 12 years.

Balfour Beatty is on schedule to complete construction of NPR’s home in 2012, paving the way for the media organization to set up shop in its new digs in 2013.

A longtime leader in the U.S. construction industry, Balfour Beatty has continued to win its share of the downsized pool of commercial real estate projects that possessed the financing to move forward during the debilitating credit crunch and economic downturn.

But the troubled times are not quite over yet. “Most developers are waiting for the economy to improve before they seek services for new projects,” John Tarpey, CEO of Balfour Beatty’s North Region, told CPE. “Our industry tends to lag a few years behind overall economic trends, and, typically, we won’t see industry activity increase until two to three years after the economy starts to recover.”