- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Justice Department is considering a new home in the building now used as the Transportation Department’s headquarters at Seventh and D streets Southwest, according to the building’s owners.

The building will be stripped to its frame when the Transportation Department moves out in June and renovated as a blast-resistant, high-tech version of its former self.

The Transportation Department is vacating as the building’s sole tenant after 37 years and relocating to the new Southeast Federal Center that is part of the Anacostia Riverfront redevelopment.

The owners, David Nassif Associates, plan to “start the day after they leave to take the building down right to the frame,” said Tim Jaroch, managing partner of the company.

The $250 million, three-year renovation is designed to meet new government standards enacted since 1970 for buildings that house government agencies.

Mr. Jaroch and his associates have met with Justice Department officials who have expressed an interest in consolidating their offices all over the Washington area into the 1.4 million-square-foot building.

The Homeland Security Department, U.S. Coast Guard, General Services Administration, Agriculture Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency also have inquired about moving into the complex, which is spread over 15 acres, Mr. Jaroch said.

“It could be that there are two or three in here because it’s such a large building,” he said.

Developers of the renovation project are using a blast consultant to help it meet the government’s Interagency Security Committee Level IV standards. In other words, the building would have controlled access and be able to withstand most car bombs without collapsing.

The architects were forced to design around the requirement of blast-resistant glass, which is so dense it normally would rule out use of cell phones and laptops.

Instead, they plan to install a multicarrier antenna that will run up and down the interior of the building.

The antenna would allow wireless transmissions to be received, “anywhere in the building, regardless of what the source was,” said David J. Varner, architect for the renovation.

The glass will be used for the entire building, replacing the narrow slits that serve as windows now.

The courtyard, which consists mostly of a concrete walkway now, is to be replaced by trees and pools of water with small fountains.

“Chilled beams” that use outdoor air and a radiator for heating or cooling would substitute for the traditional heating and cooling system. Although the new system adds $2 million to the cost of the renovation, it operates as much as 12 percent more efficiently than conventional heating and cooling, David Nassif Associates says.

In other news …

• Real estate investment trust Republic Property Trust announced this week that it is paying $61.75 million to purchase a 127,000-square-foot office building in Washington’s central business district that it plans to redevelop. The company said it would add two stories to the current eight-story building at 1129 20th St. NW. Construction is set to begin next month and be completed by mid-2008.

Mark Keller, Herndon-based Republic Property Trust’s chief executive, said acquiring a central business district building in Washington for redevelopment was a “rare opportunity.”

Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail tram [email protected]

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