Children’s National Medical Center Leases Historic Takoma Theatre Building for New Mind-Brain Institute


Rock Creek Property Group leases 23,000 square foot speculative development

Rock Creek Property Group (Rock Creek) announced today that is has leased the historic Takoma Theatre building to Children’s National Medical Center for use as an outpatient clinic to house its new Mind-Brain Institute. The 23,000-square-foot building at the corner of Butternut and Fourth Streets, NW in Washington, DC has undergone a complete rehabilitation under a plan approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board.

“At Rock Creek we look to identify unique historic buildings with the potential to be reinvigorated through thoughtful renovation and repositioning. After sitting vacant for more than a decade, we were thrilled to bring new life to this beautiful building. It will serve as a fantastic resource for the community by bringing retail to the street level along with increased foot traffic from Children’s,” said Gary Schlager, Principal at Rock Creek Property Group, which owns the building. “Having a world-class tenant in this historically important building will invigorate and serve as an anchor to this important 4th Street corridor in Takoma.”

“While earlier plans had called for residential development of the old theater, Rock Creek believed that a commercial application would be a higher and better use and best capture the property’s unique attributes. The Children’s National use is a huge addition to this neighborhood and will return the historic theater to the activity and energy of its heyday,” added Schlager.

Built in the 1920s and at the vanguard of film “talkies,” which began in 1929, the Takoma Theatre was one of the earliest theaters designed by John Jacob Zink, an architect who contributed to the design of over 200 theaters including the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street, NE, the Uptown Theatre in Cleveland Park, and the National Register of Historical Places recognized Senator Theatre in Baltimore.

The renovation exposed the original steel trusses, repointed the exterior masonry, cut in dozens of new windows, added skylights to the new roof structure, and dropped in a new slab for a second floor to nearly double the building’s square footage. Flooded with natural light that is amplified by soaring 14 to 20-foot ceilings, the bright interior space will be outfitted with first class design and finishes for the new Institute. Specialists in behavioral medicine, speech and hearing, autism, and developmental medicine will provide services for pediatric patients. The ground floor will also offer 1,800 square feet of neighborhood serving retail space for the benefit of both patients and the community.

“The Takoma property is poised to become one of the most state-of-the-art outpatient facilities in the country for pediatric medical use. We’ve put a lot of thought into creating a bright space filled with optimism and warmth,” said the Institute’s head neuroscientist, Dr. Roger Packer. “In its previous existence as a theater, this building was an exciting destination with a vibrant positive energy. We want our young patients to feel that same affirmative and upbeat atmosphere as they visit with providers committed to their health, wellness, and progressive development.”

Located at 6833 4th Street, NW, the theater is in Washington’s Takoma neighborhood, just two blocks from the Red Line’s Takoma Metro station, a five-minute drive to Silver Spring, seven minutes to the Beltway, and 20 minutes to downtown Washington. It sits just a short walk away from residential properties and neighborhood amenities such as Busboys and Poets, Takoma Station, Republic, Starbucks, Vegaritos, and numerous fitness studios and parks.

The new Mind-Brain Institute is scheduled to open in 2019 and is just one of many projects Children’s Medical Center is undertaking in Northwest Washington, DC. A few miles away, it is converting 12 acres that were formerly part of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center into a research hub with room for 400 scientists, pediatricians, and support staff.

Rock Creek also recently completed a lease of a 30,000-square-foot property at 1851 9th Street NW to Howard University. With its prime location in Shaw and entirely vacant status, the entire building was perfect for a long-term lease with a quality institutional tenant.

“Rock Creek specializes in repositioning unique historic buildings. The 9th Street building was fully entitled for residential and had been approved for 27 units through the Board of Zoning Adjustment before we acquired it,” said Schlager. “But as we considered the building, we felt that this particular building was better positioned for school, university or related administrative use over the long run.”

For the Howard University lease, Rock Creek worked with Dennis Perkins, of Citivas Commercial Real Estate Services, who represented Howard University. Matt Coursen of JLL represented Children’s National Medical Center at Takoma Theatre.

Images can be found here.

Rock Creek has more than $150 million of ongoing projects in all stages of the development cycle including ground-up and repositioning projects on the H Street corridor, 14th Street corridor, Old Town, Dupont Circle and Montgomery County. The company is currently deploying Fund II, a $60 million discretionary real estate fund. Rock Creek acquires properties both directly and with joint venture partners across the Washington metro region.

About Rock Creek Property Group:

Rock Creek Property Group, founded in 2000, is a commercial real estate investment and development company based in Washington, DC. Its principals own a diverse portfolio of office, industrial, multi-family and retail properties in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Rock Creek has acquired and developed several billion dollars of commercial and residential properties and is currently deploying capital for its second real estate fund.

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