WASHINGTON, DC-National Public Radio is under contract to buy a key NoMa office asset–1111 N. Capitol St.–from J Street Development for an undisclosed price. The deal, unveiled by NoMa BID president Liz Price, Mayor Adrian Fenty, NPR, J Street and Studley, which brokered the transaction, is seen as a coup for the NoMa submarket and the District itself.

“The great news is that NPR is staying in the District,” Price tells GlobeSt.com. The media company had shortlisted the Ballpark District, NoMa and Silver Spring, MD during its search. To remain competitive during the search, the District offered NPR a 20-year tax abatement and new streetscape improvements around the nearby New York Avenue Metrorail station. Studley’s Art Greenberg, Vernon Knarr, David Perlstein, Julie Rayfield represented NPR. “NPR being a media company found it a challenge to find space that could accommodate its operations, including a large newsroom,” Greenberg tells GlobeSt.com. “It looked at over 100 sites.

On the market for a few short months, the building is one of NoMa’s more interesting assets. Now a 174,058-sf flex-industrial building currently leased to the Smithsonian Institution through September, 1111 N. Capitol St. was built in 1927 as a warehouse for the C&P Telephone Co. Today the Smithsonian uses it to build exhibits for the Mall.

NPR plans to build convert the building into a 10-story office building that is more than 400,000 sf, while preserving some 78,000 sf of the original historic structure, including frontages on North Capitol and Pierce streets, according to Studley. NPR will also retain the façade and portions of the structure, and integrate those with its to-be-developed 10-story office tower.

Price says the sale pushes NoMa ever closer to the work-live-play vision the submarket has had of itself since its inception. “A major media company is moving from Downtown to NoMa. We already have CNN and XM Radio. We are showing strength not only as a government destination but also one for media and nonprofits.”

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