Smithsonian Institution Acquires New DC HQ


The Smithsonian Institution has acquired part of Capital Gallery, a two-building office campus in Washington, D.C., from Boston Properties, in a deal first reported by the Washington Business Journal.

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The sale of the property, located at 600 Maryland Avenue SW, includes its entire 10-story west tower and four stories of its eight-story east tower. The Smithsonian already leases more than 230,000 square feet in the buildings.

The sales price was not disclosed, but public records list it at $253.7 million.

“We are thrilled that the Smithsonian Institution will continue to make Capital Gallery their home, now as an owner,” Jake Stroman, Boston Properties’ senior vice president, leasing, told Commercial Observer. “With easy access to their campus of world leading museums and research facilities, their space at Capital Gallery will allow the Smithsonian long term certainty and flexibility to allocate space according to their needs. We will continue to provide our industry leading property management services and look forward to working with the Smithsonian for years to come.”

The Smithsonian will use the space as its new headquarters, bringing in people from the Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall and employees from 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City, Va., among others.

“The reason for purchasing an office building near the National Mall is twofold—it is more efficient to have staff together in a central location and it is less expensive than leasing over the long term,” the museum said in a prepared statement.   

In November, Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III discussed the possible purchase during a House Oversight Committee meeting, looking at the cultural institution’s space needs. The institution operates as a federal trust, meaning its budget is funded substantially with federal appropriations and Congress must approve the acquisition. 

Boston Properties will continue managing the rest of the campus, including its garage, ground-floor retail and common areas.