BREAKING: Washington Monument To Be Redeveloped Into Vibrant Mixed-Use Community
Citing a need to capitalize on its best real estate assets, the General Services Administration, on behalf of the National Parks Service, has decided to sell the Washington Monument, and the land on which it sits, to the biggest developer in the DC region, The JBG Cos.
JBG, in a joint statement with the GSA, said it plans to build a state-of-the-art mixed-use community, one in which residents of DC will be able to live, work and play on the most hallowed ground in our country.
"We have charted a path on which we can capitalize on our best real estate to return value to the taxpayers," GSA administrator Denise Turner Roth said in a statement. "And the real estate doesn't get much better than this."
The world-famous obelisk—the tallest man-made structure in the world when it was completed in 1888—will be preserved in the center of the development, and JBG plans to leverage its real estate with stunning views from 360-degree rooftop patios of the Lincoln Memorial to the west, the White House to the north and the US Capitol to the east.
JBG managing partner Michael Glosserman says JBG plans to develop about 900 units of residential, both for-sale and rental, including micro-units. The plans also include a 250-key, five-star luxury hotel to compete with the Four Seasons, the Jefferson and the other top-flight hotel offerings in the District. In addition, there could be as much as 1.3M SF of offices and 500k SF of retail, including DC's first Wegmans, already signed to a 120k SF lease.
JBG also plans to court an upscale movie theater, a distillery, a micro- or nano-brewery, and several chef-driven restaurants.
"We know that Millennials drive the economy, and Millennials want immersive experiences," Michael said. "What living experience could beat sipping sangria on the patio of a restaurant in the cradle of our democracy, or taking a dip in a rooftop pool that looks out over the reflecting pool?"
Of course, there are already strong opponents. The Washington Monument is not only our nation's largest memorial to our first president, but it's a gathering place for inaugurations, fireworks and protests. It's visited by millions of tourists a year. And the GSA acknowledged the challenges its decision faced.
"Ultimately, we had to answer the question of what's more important," Roth said. "Preserving this piece of our nation's history and cultural identity, or repurposing it into a vibrant community and earning the highest tax revenues possible?"
About 20% of the apartments in the community will be designated affordable, and JBG plans to program a one-acre park with activities like beach volleyball, outdoor movies and a beer garden.
"If Donald Trump is turning the Old Post Office tower into a Pennsylvania Avenue luxury hotel," Shalom Baranes, JBG's architect on the historic project, says, "I don't see why we can't do even better with the tallest building in our nation's capital."
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