Work starts on converting part of historic DC church to office building

Renovations at 1401 Massachusetts Ave. NW will include a two-story addition and a new plaza in front of the building. (Courtesy JLL)

Renovations began this week at 1401 Massachusetts Ave. NW, a building annex behind the historic National City Christian Church on Thomas Circle.

The church originally sold the 1950s-era annex, known as the Campbell Building, to D.C.-based Rock Creek Property in 2017. Swiss developer Akelius acquired it from Rock Creek in May 2019.

The building had previously been used by the church as classrooms.

The building’s restoration and conversion will include a two-story addition and a new plaza in front of the building. When complete, the Class A property will have 52,000 square feet of office space available for leasing.

JLL will lead leasing. Akelius will be among tenants.

The Campbell Building is one of two annexes on the north side of the church. The church sold the building because it was only partially used, had major maintenance issues and would have cost millions to bring into usable condition.

National City Christian Church, completed in 1930, was designed by architect John Russell Pope, who was also lead designer of the Jefferson Memorial.

When completed in summer 2021, 1401 Mass will preserve the building’s historic landmark exterior. It will also include a rooftop conference center and deck, an outdoor courtyard, fitness center and 14-foot ceiling heights.

Design will also include COVID-era features, such as 6-foot operable windows on three sides on each floor, high-tech HVAC, and touchless doors and fixtures.

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