Metro celebrated the opening of its new headquarters in Southwest D.C. Thursday, which will help the transit agency save millions of dollars over time.
The ribbon cutting was in the works for years as part of downsizing Metro’s administrative offices.
“As part of that process Metro is downsizing from 10 current offices buildings throughout the region to four,” WMATA Board of Directors Chairman Paul Smedberg said.
Metro will house about 1,300 workers in this new facility near L’Enfant Plaza, though some of Metro’s administrative staff still telecommutes.
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Metro is leasing its old headquarters in Gallery Place to a developer who is planning a mixed office and retail development that includes adding three stories to the building.
Closing six offices and leasing the old headquarters is expected to save Metro about $130 million over the next 20 years.
“Some of those were, like, leased space for this, like, one department or one off thing over here plus some Metro buildings, so, you know, there’s a lease cost definitely going on that this will save,” Metro GM Randy Clarke said.
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“We have three great anchors, and they’re all amazing transit-oriented development locations, so here at L’Enfant Plaza, you can’t get more urban and more transit friendly, probably, anywhere in America,” he said.
While the real estate deals are expected to help Metro’s bottom line, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton warns that the transit agency still faces major economic hurdles.
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused historic – though hopefully short-termed – reductions in public transportation ridership, including WMATA,” she said. “However, if the widespread use of telework and fear of congregant settings during the pandemic continue after the pandemic ends, we may see a permanent reduction in public transportation ridership, an issue we have to address.”
For Metro customers, the new headquarters boasts an updated accessibility center aimed at helping riders with disabilities.
Metro plans to be completely moved out of the old headquarters within several months. The redevelopment of that building is expected to be completed by 2025.