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Children's National Acquires 12-Acre Walter Reed Property, Plans $300M Renovation


Children's National Health System acquired almost 12 acres of land and four buildings from the US Army last week, and it's planning a campus to complement the 66-acre private development coming from Hines and Urban Atlantic next door.

Children's president/CEO Kurt Newman, right, and deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, housing and partnerships Paul Cramer signed the deal at the main Children's campus in DC.

The US Army deeded over the property, which includes the 350k SF former Armed Forces Institute of Pathology building, a conference center and auditorium, a 31k SF building most recently used as an outpatient clinic and a parking garage. Children's is planning to spend about $250M to $300M to renovate the pathology center and turn it into a facility that will be used for research and seeing patients.

"There will be a lot of internal demolition," Children's real estate director Charles Weinstein told Bisnow yesterday. "It’s a very long, rectilinear building. It’s adaptable but not easily adaptable...It was purpose-built for research, and it was started in the mid-1950s. Even if this were only research, there would be a lot of adaptation that would have to occur to meet modern standards. But we're also adding a clinical element."

Because of the building's shape, Children's will install several new elevators. Charles says planning for the new facility is underway, and he expects construction work to begin in early 2018. The labs themselves were recently redone, so the structure itself is where the majority of the work will be focused.

"By the end of 2018 or 2019," he says, "we’d like to start occupying parts, if not all, of those buildings."

Development doesn't cover all of the 11.86 acres Children's now controls, but no new buildings are planned at the moment. Charles says Children's will release an RFP to architectural and planning firms who can consult on what to do with the rest of the campus, and decide next moves thereafter.