After undertaking a multi-year, regionally competitive process, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced today that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will move its headquarters to Alexandria. The agency’s new offices will be located at the Victory Center, an existing vacant office building owned by an investment fund managed by Prudential Real Estate Investors. With the move, TSA will become the anchor of the west end of the Eisenhower Avenue corridor, a commercial mixed-use neighborhood served by the Van Dorn Metrorail Station. The move is scheduled for 2017, when all new headquarters renovation and construction is completed. Approximately 3,400 employees work at TSA headquarters.
The neighborhoods along Eisenhower Avenue have experienced significant transit-oriented growth over the last decade, due to their proximity to three Metrorail stations. The corridor is increasingly becoming a desirable home for government and private sector headquarters. The TSA will join the National Science Foundation headquarters, currently under construction, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office complex, both located to the east on Eisenhower Avenue in the Carlyle neighborhood.
“GSA’s decision to locate the TSA headquarters at Victory Center is a huge economic boost for Alexandria as a whole, and for the West End in particular,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “The City is working on a small area plan for Eisenhower West that encourages new investment, redevelopment and business activity. TSA will serve as a catalyst, and will add a daytime office population and on-site retail activity to this developing market.”
Given the economic benefit of the TSA to Alexandria and the catalyst-effect of the agency’s location in the Eisenhower West market, and in order to provide an incentive to make the Victory Center site bid as price-competitive as possible for GSA, the City plans to create an Eisenhower West Victory Center Redevelopment District. Real estate improvements made for TSA would receive up to $1.5 million in annual partial real estate tax abatement, projected to be a $23 million tax savings value over the initial 15-year lease. The Victory Center land and existing building, which has been vacant for the last 10 years, would remain fully taxable. The City estimates the net new tax revenue over the same 15-year period at $25 million, even after the partial tax abatement. The creation of the new tax district is subject to public hearing and approval by City Council.
GSA selected Alexandria after a competitive bidding process between Northern Virginia localities and developers. Mayor Euille emphasized the combined efforts that led to GSA’s decision on behalf of the TSA. “The Alexandria City Council, City staff, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, and Prudential Real Estate Investors and their team of brokers and consultants all contributed to the effort that made today’s exciting news possible,” he said.
The selected site will result in the occupancy of approximately 500,000 square feet of the existing Victory Center office building, located at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, and the adjacent construction of a new 140,000 square feet, LEED Gold-certified technology and meeting center. The federal government will lease the space for an initial term of 15 years. The owner will construct a new, above-ground parking garage on-site, which will also provide the facility with 7,000 square feet of retail space along Eisenhower Avenue.
TSA’s new Alexandria location offers superior accessibility on mass transit and via car, to and from areas throughout the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region. The Victory Center sits within the quarter-mile walkshed of the Van Dorn Metro Station on Metrorail’s Blue Line. Major commuting pathways, including I-495/I-95, Route 1 and I-395, are also in close proximity to the property.
TSA has an annual budget of about $7.36 billion. Economic projections show that in addition to the permanent jobs moving to Alexandria, the headquarters relocation will spur more than 640 temporary jobs to construct the new facility. The 3,400 new jobs represent a 4.0% increase in Alexandria’s overall workforce. Over the initial 15-year lease, the headquarters is expected to generate close to $16 million each year for Alexandria’s economy. The economic impact includes new salaries and wages for Alexandria residents, and spending by TSA employees and visitors at local businesses. Occupancy of the existing Victory Center building will result in a 3.0% decrease of the City’s overall office vacancy rate (from 16.5% to 13.5%), making it one of the lowest in the Washington, DC region.
The GSA estimates that the new TSA location in Alexandria will also save federal taxpayers more than $95 million over the initial 15-year lease period, and will use considerably less energy and water than typical office buildings.