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GSA Finalizes Award To Move CIS To Peter Schwartz's Branch Avenue Site

A rendering of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office at the Branch Avenue Metro

Developer Peter Schwartz has just secured a major federal lease to anchor a mixed-use town center he is building on a 100-acre site around the Branch Avenue Metro station in Prince George's County

The General Services Administration finalized a lease award Thursday to move U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services into a 575K SF office building on the site in Camp Springs, Maryland.

The 15-year, $257M deal will consolidate the agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, from five leased offices into one, reducing its footprint by 128K SF. A JLL leasing team led by Brian Sullivan represented the landlord in the deal, and JLL's Jae Lee and William Ruppe represented the federal government. 

The agency's 3,200 employees will work at the southern terminus of the Green Line, where Peter N.G. Schwartz Management Co. is building the second phase of the major mixed-use development on the site it acquired in 2001. 

A rendering of Peter Schwartz' Aspire Apollo and adjacent Restaurant Row

The first phase, a 417-unit apartment building, delivered in August 2015. Schwartz secured $100M in financing in April and broke ground the following month on Phase 2, a 384-unit apartment building next door. Schwartz partnered with Hensel Phelps on the first two phases. 

The project will soon have a 40K SF retail center branded as Restaurant Row, where Schwartz has signed letters of intent with several fast-casual chains and coffee shops. He plans to deliver the retail portion in 2019, around the time CIS is expected to move in. Schwartz has not unveiled plans for the later phases, but he owns the full 100-acre site and has said he wants to create an expansive, mixed-use town center.

The GSA had selected the site in September for the CIS lease before finalizing the deal nearly a year later. The award follows the GSA's selection last week of Boston Properties' Springfield site for the Transportation Security Administration, a sign activity has picked up since new Public Buildings Commissioner Dan Mathews was sworn in on Aug. 3

The deal also represents a big win for Prince George's County, which has a much smaller footprint of federal office tenants than other D.C. suburbs like Montgomery County and Arlington County. The county had hoped for an even bigger win this year though, with two of its sites among the three finalists in the search for a $2B FBI HQ. But that search was canceled in July, and the GSA has started from scratch on its plans to move the FBI.