Leases  ·  Office

FEMA Moving HQ to Larger Space in Downtown DC

Agency will leave 465K-SF Federal Center Plaza office in 2027

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be relocating its Washington, D.C.-based headquarters three blocks to a federal facility at 301 Seventh Street SW in 2027, taking additional space to accommodate the agency’s increased areas of responsibility. 

It’s unclear how much space FEMA will be taking within the 941,463-square-foot property, or how much it currently occupies. 

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The property, owned by the General Services Administration (GSA) and located across the street from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s headquarters, was already slated for a major renovation over the next four years.

The move and the building’s renovations provide FEMA the opportunity to design a space that fits the needs of emergency management, especially as the severity and frequency of disasters have increased along with FEMA’s responsibilities, a person with knowledge of the deal told Commercial Observer. 

In fact, according to a FEMA strategic report, the agency is now handling more than 300 disasters a year, almost three times what it did a decade ago.

“Moving into a federally owned building will better protect taxpayer investments into the facility infrastructure which are needed to meet FEMA’s operational needs, which includes a larger space for the National Response Coordination Center,” the person told CO. “The new space fits the unique needs of emergency management.”

FEMA is currently headquartered at Federal Center Plaza at 500 and 400 C Street SW. In August, the Donohoe Companies extended a $130 million commercial mortgage-backed securities loan on the 725,317-square-foot two-block office complex that FEMA is leaving. Commercial Observer reported earlier this year that FEMA occupies 465,000 square feet in the complex.

The 301 Seventh Street SW building was constructed as a warehouse in the 1930s and adapted for office use in the ’60s, but in recent years it became clear the property had outlived its usefulness. A GSA report criticized the building’s poor circulation and inefficient layout, and said most systems are beyond their useful life, the source told CO.  

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved a renovation prospectus in September of 2021 for $89.2 million in funding for design, construction, management and inspection, including plumbing, HVAC and exterior upgrades.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.