Vast Majority of New Office in Region Near Metro

Approximately 86% of the region’s new office construction is occurring within one-quarter mile of Metrorail stations, 93% within the half-mile walk sheds.

A Washington Post article from October 2013 made a staggering assertion:  That 84% of new office construction in the region is occurring within one quarter mile of a Metrorail station, according to Jones Lang LaSalle and other data sources.  As we continue to dig into walk sheds and the land-use/transportation connection, we thought we would revisit this assertion and update it for 2015.

Since the Post article was written, we have begun to plan for near-term capacity constraints that might result from increased ridership caused by new households and jobs near Metro.  And part of this planning is gaining insight as to where and when new housing units and office space may come online through real estate industry data sources.   Through this research, we are able to update the statistic above:

86% of new office construction in the Washington region is occurring within one-quarter mile of a Metrorail station. 

UnderConstructionMap-01

New office currently under construction in the Washington region. All but four projects are within a half-mile of Metrorail.  Data from Jones, Lang, LaSalle.

If you expand that distance out to the perimeter of our walk sheds, the number grows to 93%.  In fact, only four office projects currently under construction are outside of Metrorail walk distance:  two in Rockville, one in Frederick and one in Leesburg.  See the map above.

Office construction is only half of the equation:  offices do no good if they’re not occupied.  The Post recently reported — using data from JLL as well — that 92% of large office leases in the region are within a half  mile of existing or planned Metrorail stations, while office buildings far from Metro are declining in value.  According to the data used for this assessment, over 52% of the office space under construction near Metro is already preleased.

Despite recent trends, the region is forecast to continue to grow, mostly near Metrorail!  Over 4.5 million square feet of office space are currently under construction near Metrorail stations across the region.  Metro needs to continue capacity expansion through Metro 2025 improvements — including the 8-Car Train program and core station improvements — in order to meet the needs of our growing region.

 

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  1. tondo
    April 23rd, 2015 at 09:31 | #1

    Off the top of my head, the map does not show any of the projects along NY Ave, nor the Walmart near Ft Totten. I am sure there are more. The NY Ave and Ft Totten areas include several large projects, and I think they are above the “large” threshold. But unfortunately they are not within the 1/2 mile walkshed.

    So I think your conclusion is inaccurate.

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  2. Michael
    April 23rd, 2015 at 09:33 | #2

    @tondo
    Thanks for your comment. This is a look at only office construction, not retail, residential or other non-office uses. Do you believe the NY Ave and Ft Totten projects are office buildings?

    This post includes assessment of all development between now and 2020 and includes the projects you mention.

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