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Are Associations Leaving DC?

Washington, D.C.

One of the DC office market's mainstay tenant pools may be looking across the Potomac. (For DC, the grass isn't always greener on the other side, but there's a better chance of finding a Civil War battlefield.) JM Zell CEO Jeff Zell (snapped at Bisnow’s recent association exec lunch in DC) says national associations aren't as concerned with proximity to Capitol Hill and are checking out suburbs like Alexandria and Arlington for better lease rates, sales prices and taxes. That's especially true as the mayor has turned to building an entrepreneurial and tech startup community, Jeff says. 


National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors CEO Dr. Susan Waters says her organization moved several years ago to Falls Church after 40 years at 1922 F St NW. Falls Church is more affordable, freeing up funds for its mission, she says. The commute has also been easier for its 60 employees and gives them access to some of the new restaurants there. Still, NAIFA maintains a smaller Capitol Hill office for its government relations team.


The National Association of Chain Drug Stores considered several sites in Tysons, DC and Crystal City before moving to 1776 Wilson Blvd in Arlington in December 2012 from Old Town, Alexandria. HR VP Dawn Worthington says the organization chose the 21K SF space for its proximity to DC and the better financial deal. It considered setting up a smaller office near the Hill but decided to stick with one location. Jeff says more than 600 national associations call Alexandria home, over 100 are in Arlington and more than 50 are in Fairfax.