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Where to Build Next?; As Downtown Fills In, Only Way for Construction Is Out
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Construction; Economic development; Business growth; Commercial real estate; Office space
Author: Irwin, Neil
Date: Feb 24, 2003
Start Page: E.01

The shift is already underway to some degree, with office buildings in place or under construction north of Union Station and along the Southeast and Southwest waterfronts. But so far these efforts to expand the traditional boundaries of downtown have been piecemeal. In the years to come, however, the shortage of space downtown could spawn changes that remake the very face of Washington, said developers and others who closely follow Washington's growth.

Some argue that the logical next step for growth is NoMa, the nickname dreamed up by those who market the city for the area north of Massachusetts Avenue between Union Station and Mount Vernon Square. It is adjacent to downtown, the area's advocates say, and is already anchored by office buildings around Union Station and a cluster of development -- including the headquarters of XM Satellite Radio and future headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- at the intersection of New York and Florida avenues NE.

The big question is what happens after those price-sensitive pioneers move in, as has already happened in Southwest and will soon be happening in Southeast. In the dream scenario for landlords, those big buildings occupied by bargain-hunters would attract restaurants and hotels -- the things that in turn make an area acceptable to law firms and other top-dollar tenants.

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