The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 28, 2000
February 28, 2000
VOL. 29, NO. 24


University Acquires D.C. Building

By Glenn Small
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Seeking to add needed space and consolidate some of its programs in Washington, D.C., the university has acquired control of an eight-story office building at 1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., near Dupont Circle.

"This as an excellent opportunity to offer more convenience and better facilities for our growing number of students and other activities in Washington," said James T. McGill, senior vice president for finance and administration.

Built in 1964 and once used by the former East German government as the headquarters for its diplomatic mission, the building contains more than 100,000 square feet of space and will be used immediately by the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, which has between 500 and 550 part-time graduate students and 30 full-time undergraduates currently taking courses in several locations near Dupont Circle.

The building is located across the street from the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, one block from that school's Rome Building and also near 30,000 square feet of space that the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education rents for its programs.

The 1717 Massachusetts Ave. building is located near Hopkins' other Washington properties.

The acquisition of the building is made possible through the generosity of university trustees David H. Bernstein of Baltimore and Morris W. Offit of New York, both graduates of the School of Arts and Sciences, who have supported the growth of the school's Washington programs. The building will be named for them.

At present, KSAS, which offers in Washington eight master's degree programs for working adults and one program for undergraduates interested in government, holds most of its classes in 8,300 square feet of rented space at 1776 Massachusetts Ave. But because of demand, the school has also leased classroom space at three other nearby locations.

The building will be named for university trustees David H. Bernstein and Morris W. Offit.

"The School of Arts and Sciences is ready to occupy the vacant space in 1717 Massachusetts Ave. just as soon as our renovations are completed," said Benjamin Ginsberg, a professor of political science and a special adviser to the dean of the Krieger School.

The school moved into 1776 Massachusetts Ave. just two years ago, but, Ginsberg said, "We've already outgrown it, and projections are that things will only become more difficult for space management. We scrounge whatever space we can, but obviously that is not a desirable long-term arrangement."

The 1717 Massachusetts Ave. building currently has about 22,000 square feet of unoccupied space, which the university will renovate. The renovations will be complete by the fall semester.

The building is being acquired through a lease with an option to purchase agreement, said John L. Davis, director of the university real estate office. "We entered into the lease arrangement because the owner could not sell right away," Davis said.

The purchase price is $16 million, with $6 million paid now and the rest after seven years. In the meantime, Hopkins will pay a fair market rent while acting as the building's manager, leasing space and collecting rent from other tenants in the building.

During the next seven years, as current tenants' leases expire, the university will evaluate its space needs and determine whether to extend leases or to use the space for Hopkins offices, classrooms or other needs. Ginsberg, who directs the Johns Hopkins Center for the Study of American Government in Washington, said the university will be sensitive to the needs of its tenants and provide ample time for them to find new space, should the university decide not to extend or renew leases.