New Future for Former Washington Post Site

Carr Properties broke ground last week on a $650 million mixed-use development that will house Fannie Mae's new headquarters.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Midtown Center, Washington, D.C.
Midtown Center, Washington, D.C.

Washington—Extra! Extra! In Washington, D.C., Carr Properties is ushering in a new era at the site that had been home to the Washington Post for a half-century with the groundbreaking on the $650 million Midtown Center development. Carr will replace the newspaper property on 15th St. NW. with an 862,000-square-foot trophy office and retail destination that will serve as the new headquarters of government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae.

Midtown Center has been a couple of years in the making. In 2014, Carr completed the $159 million acquisition of the 470,300-square-foot Washington Post properties—a group that includes the 12-story Washington Post newsroom tower at 1150 15th St., as well as the interconnecting buildings at 1515 L St and 1523 L St., and the ground lease on the land beneath the Carr-owned property at 1100 15th St. Located downtown just four blocks from the White House, the portfolio occupies an A+ site that is ripe for a renaissance.

“[We] believe that all of the ingredients are there for the project to transform the area surrounding 15th and L Streets into a vibrant 24/7 location,” Oliver Carr III, CEO of Carr Properties,” Oliver Carr III, CEO of Carr Properties, said in a prepared statement. “Midtown Center will be a new hub of activity in the center of the City that will offer a great work environment and a tremendous street level dining experience,”

Midtown Center, which will consist of two linked 14-story towers designed by SHoP Architects, will certainly have all the ingredients for creating a lively atmosphere. In addition to the 752,000 square feet of premier office space that Fannie Mae will call home, the property will feature 50,000 square feet of destination-oriented retail consisting of a 15,000-square-foot retail plaza between the two structures and a 10,000-square-foot retail alley. To accommodate visitor arrivals, the property will also offer three levels of below-grade parking and a 1,300-square-foot bike room.

For Fannie Mae, the relocation to Midtown Center will allow the GSE to consolidate multiple D.C.-area locations under one roof. Including its current headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Ave.—which is presently on the market, Fannie Mae occupies a total of nearly 2.2 million square feet of office space at 10 owned or leased locations in metropolitan Washington, D.C. Fannie Mae’s commitment to Midtown Center is for the long term, with the secondary mortgage company having signed a 15-year lease with options to extend.

The realization of Midtown Center is not far off. With Clark Construction aboard the project, Carr has already commenced demolition at the Washington Post site, and the office REIT expects to complete development in 2018.