Housing Complex

City Could See Big Bucks in Reeves Center Swap

This is worth more than $8 million.

A key component of the deal to bring a D.C. United soccer stadium to Buzzard Point involves a major land swap with developer Akridge. The proposal is that Akridge would give D.C. a parcel of land it owns on the future stadium site, and in exchange D.C. would give Akridge the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center—an outdated District government building on the increasingly valuable corner of 14th and U streets NW—which would then relocate to Anacostia.

So far, so good. Until you compare the values of the two properties.

According to D.C. property records, the Akridge-owned parcel on Buzzard Point was assessed this year at $8,042,590. The Reeves Center was assessed this year at $108,548,500. There are disagreements about how much the Reeves Center property is really worth. But no matter how you slice it, a parcel spanning a block along D.C.'s hottest corridor is worth quite a bit more than one in an undeveloped section of town. (Plus, the Reeves Center is slightly larger at 97,600 square feet, compared to 89,251 for the Akridge parcel.)

Tony Robinson, spokesman for the Office of the City Administrator, which brokered the deal, says that independent valuations need to occur before any discussion of dollars and cents comes into play. But he confirms that if there's a difference in valuation, a cash payment might accompany the swap. That could mean big bucks for the swap—perhaps even more than $100 million going into the city's coffers if the current assessments hold up.

The value of the Reeves Center site has led some observers to argue that this is a bad deal for the city. And it may be a bad deal for all sorts of other reasons. But if tens of millions of dollars come the city's way as part of the swap, it suddenly doesn't look so shabby from a bottom-line standpoint.

  • Chris hauser

    I don't think the reeves center sits on that much land.

    Maybe I should look......

  • Will

    100 million doesn't look like much when you think about the agency relocations that are required for this deal. DC's traffic management center (TMC) is based in this building, with hundreds of secure CCTV lines from cameras around the city running into it. Relocating CCTV alone is tremendously costly because, by their nature, you can't just use existing telecom infrastructure to carry those signals, you need to have a dedicated line. It was for this reason that DC kept the TMC there even after DDOT moved out of the building.

    This is just one example, there are a lot of other issues for each agency that would be moved.

    Not to say it's not a good land swap idea, but I don't see any short term profit for the city, just lots of costs. In the long run, maybe we get enough economic development juice from tax revenue on the stadium and new building at 14th and U to justify it, but we're at least at a 20 year time horizon.

    That said, most the people who work at Reeves probably won't shed any tears seeing it go, it's a terrible building to work in.

  • Purify

    I'm betting the city really drops the ball on this and gives the site to Akridge for less than .50 cents on the dollar.

  • http://westnorth.com Payton

    @Chris Hauser: just measured it off on a map, and 97,600 sq. ft. looks right. It's a square site, with as much frontage on U/V as on 14th.

    Keep in mind that the building has 500,000 square feet, and Class A apartments down the street have recently sold for $600/foot; ground floor retail could trade closer to $1000/foot given the area's rental rates and the unheard-of floorplates possible. Even at ".50 cents on the dollar" to account for major renovations, that's still $150M.

  • Okeydokey

    The building is useless. Any developer would demo it as it is unsalvagable. Poor core ratios, poor circulation efficiencies and a strange layout, on top of it being built poorly to begin with and a maintenance nightmare. It is half empty as it is, DC has moved out a majority of what used to be there. It would be a boon for ther District to sell that and get it back on the tax rolls

    Reeves sits on a two acre parcel of some of the most expensive real estate in the nation. Some residential retail mixture would be a great addition to the area.

  • Green Eyeshade

    There is absolutely no operational or financial connection between the Reeves Center and soccer or a soccer stadium or tax writeoffs for soccer or any other element of the soccer "deal," which is all vaporware anyway. The "soccer deal" is the thinnest fig leaf I have ever seen for a straight payoff to Akridge, giving him publicly-owned real estate worth several multiples of $100 million (per Payton @ #4) in a "swap" for Akridge's piece of sh*t corner of Buzzard Point.

    It is so obvious that Akridge will get the NW corner of 14th & U regardless of whether soccer ever closes on a stadium deal with anybody, anywhere. You can bank on it.

  • UStreeter

    It is a major parcel in our neighborhood. Whatever mixed use goes there should have office space. The neighborhood needs daytime traffic. The Post Office just relocated there from a spot at 14th and Wallach (which is being developed into apartments), and that corner hosts our Saturday Farmer's Market. The Reeves Center may be a horrible building, but whatever goes there needs to house the neighborhood amenties that are there now. It also provides parking on weekend nights when it is almost impossible to finding parking for residents and visitors.

  • Corky

    The building is not half empty. It is FULL. Several of the largest District agencies are headquartered there--DGS, FEMS, Corrections. Several smaller agencies are also there. Despite what the pols and pundits are telling us, moving these operations to the other side of town will NOT BE CHEAP. And then there's that whole thing about the government being accessible to the public, which was one of the reasons city operations were moved "uptown" in the first place.

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  • Cavan

    The media is doing a terrible job of covering this issue. This article doesn't mention that part of the swap includes Akridge building the city new state-of-the-art facilities in Anacostia. Debonis at the Post didn't either.

    Allen Lew is no fool and he's been tasked to make sure that D.C. gets new police/fire/whatever is left in the Reeves Center facilities while expanding the tax base at 14/U and Buzzard Point while at (almost) no cost to D.C.

    -DC United gets land to lease to construct a stadium on their own dime
    -Akridge gets rid of low-value land in exchange for valuable land, pays to construct new modern govt facilities in Anacostia
    -D.C. gets a new modern facility that replaces crumbling facilities for almost free, gets new taxes from development at 14 and U, Buzzard Point, Anacostia. They use a small piece of the new taxes to improve the sewers and electrical system at Buzzard Point. After updating infrastructure, keep new taxes in perpetuity.

    The only party who spends money in net is DC United, which is an investment in their future.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    "big bucks for the swamp"

    what swamp? did i miss something here?

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/ Aaron Wiener

    Fixed, thanks.

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