Interior buildout at 425 Eye for Veterans Affairs humming along

Two years ago The Paramount Group initiated renovations to upgrade the former Chester A. Arthur Building at 425 I Street NW from Class B to Class A office space. The overhaul included a complete gut and re-skin of the building. Paramount reconfigured the ground floor from entirely office to include 28,000 SF of retail space. The changes weren’t limited to the structural – the property was also rebranded as simply 425 Eye.

Last May we learned that Veterans Affairs had signed a 10 year lease with intent to use 425 Eye as “swing space” while their current home near McPherson Square is renovated. The details accompanying that announcement suggested that Veterans Affairs would begin to occupy 425 Eye by June 2011. Progress on the interior buildout had appeared negligible until the last few months. In the last week interior walls have been sheetrocked and cubicles erected on several upper floors. Therefore it would seem the move is very likely to be on track for a June date.

Perhaps most interesting to residents of the neighborhood is the potential retail. Extra daytime office workers in the area should help raise the foot traffic on 4th and Eye Streets. The commercial broker for the retail space is Transwestern Retail which has been involved with brokering several nearby retail placements including Buddha Bar, Subway Cafe and the future Corner Bakery Cafe at 6th & H.

It has been suggested that Paramount and Transwestern are targeting a restaurant for the corner space at 4th & Eye Streets NW. With 29000 SF available there should also be ample opportunity for service related retail such as dry cleaning or a nail salon. I also wonder if it might be logistically easier for both IBG and BicycleSPACE to work out an arrangement to relocate the bike shop to this office building’s retail space rather than embed the shop in the warehouse building at 443 Eye during construction. Of course maybe more than what’s gained in logistics would be lost financially for IBG to subsidize rent to a different landlord.

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