Freedom Forum finds new home at The Wharf

The Freedom Forum has signed a lease for 25,000 square feet on the third floor of a new waterfront office building at 610 Water St. SW.
The Freedom Forum has signed a lease for 25,000 square feet on the third floor of a new waterfront office building at 610 Water St. SW. (Courtesy Hoffman & Associates)

The nonprofit Freedom Forum — which closed its Newseum in D.C. in 2019 and moved operations to a temporary home in D.C.’s America’s Square — has signed a lease for a permanent new home at The Wharf in Southwest D.C.

The Freedom Forum has signed a lease for 25,000 square feet on the third floor of a new waterfront office building at 610 Water St. SW. It will join news publication The Atlantic, which signed a lease for the majority of the building in 2020.

The Freedom Forum lease means the building is now fully leased nearly one year before it is completed.

The Newseum was home to the Freedom Forum from 2008 to 2019. It sold the building for more than $300 million in 2020 to Johns Hopkins University, which is currently converting the building for educational use. The Freedom Forum closed the Newseum after several years of unsustainable costs.

The Freedom Forum’s new headquarters will have office space and educational and conference center areas, as well as public spaces for discussions about First Amendment topics with digital media production technology.

“The dynamic combination of flexible work and community spaces offer a variety of opportunities, both virtual and in person, to further our First Amendment mission,” said Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum.

610 Water Street, part of Phase 2 of The Wharf development, was designed by Morris Adjmi Architects. Its rotated glass structure appears to float above its concrete base. The five-story building was designed to look like a jewel box. It includes a 10,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, one of the largest office building terraces in D.C.

The Freedom Forum was founded in 1991 by USA Today newspaper founder Al Neuharth, with a mission to promote First Amendment freedoms.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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