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With major media organizations on the move, the District had a pretty good track record going when it came to landing them in the city rather than seeing them open offices in the suburbs. First, there was the Washington Post, which opted not to relocate closer to suburban readers, instead selecting an office at One Franklin Square, just down the street from its current digs. Then there was CBS Radio, which the office of Mayor Vince Gray helped lure from Lanham, Md., to the District’s Capitol Riverfront.
And so when Politico began its public search for a new headquarters, everything was on the table, including the District. Or so says Tim Helmig, president of Monday Properties, the owner of 1000 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn, where the political news outlet ultimately decided to set up shop.
“The market in general is such that there was a lot of opportunities and a lot of options for them,” says Helmig. “So on a broader level, the opportunity could’ve been the District: the ballpark area or NoMa.”
But Politico, Helmig says, decided to stay in Rossyln because of all of the Arlington neighborhood’s advantages. It’s a “fantastic multimodal transit hub,” he says, with three Metro lines and major roadways converging there. Arlington has high office vacancy, and therefore lower rents, due to the federal government’s Base Realignment and Closure that consolidated its defense real estate and opened up space in Arlington. This is most pronounced in Crystal City, but Helmig says Rosslyn’s superior transit options and greater concentration of housing and retail made it the top choice.
“When you look at all of those factors combined, Rosslyn became, aside from the fact that we have a lot of space available, a fairly compelling option for Politico,” Helmig says.
But according to Chanda Washington, spokeswoman for the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, there wasn’t really such a meritocratic competition that placed the District in contention. “Early on,” Washington says in an email, “Politico made it clear that their plan was always to remain in Rosslyn.”
A Politico spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Logo from the Politico website