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Bisnow Scoop: Post Relocating to National Airport

Washington DC Office

In a stunning development this morning, showing the power of new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos' imagination and resources, Bisnow has learned that the newspaper will relocate its headquarters later this year to Reagan National Airport's historic Terminal A.

We snapped the 1.1M SF structure this morning, during a lull in its normally high-volume traffic. Although Bezos actively considered NoMa, Capitol Riverfront, and the Southwest Waterfront, and at one time seemed determined to keep the headquarters in DC, a key factor in the decision, sources tell Bisnow, is that he wants to demonstrate the versatility of his much-touted Amazon octocopter by adapting it initially to the delivery of the Post's daily hard copy newspaper. 

Since potentially thousands of takeoffs of the drones would need to be staged within a four-hour early morning period, the only practical solution, these sources say, was concluded to be close proximity to airfields. The purchase of a portion of Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City was also considered, sources said.

Why would the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority sell the storied property? Bisnow has learned the organization was inspired by recent decisions of WMATA and VDOT to expand their real estate holdings—WMATA on top of Metro stations and VDOT with air rights over I-66. In addition, potential cost overruns for the 28-mile, $6.8B Silver Line may have forced their hand. Sources add that MWAA chose Terminal A because its resident airlines (AirTran, JetBlue, SunCounty, and AirCanada) were seen as lacking the lobbying clout to object successfully, compared to behemoths Delta, American, and United, which reside in Terminals B and C. 

As we reported yesterday, the Post last week closed on the sale to Carr Properties of its present HQ. Another factor in Bezos' decision to buy Terminal A, Bisnow has learned, is the historic status and Depression-era architecture of the terminal, which opened to the public in June 1941. Bezos is said to believe that the physical character of work environments will be a key attraction in recruiting Millennials, and the children of Millennials (known to demographers as "Chillennials") to the ranks of the 8.4M Amazon and Post employees expected to be hired in the coming 25 years. Bezos is also said to favor older plaster walls that are more effective in containing his well-known loud laughter from interfering with colleagues' work, for example when he annually reads prank stories such as this on the first day of April.