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Home arrowNews arrowSt. Elizabeths Programmatic Agreement Signed
St. Elizabeths Programmatic Agreement Signed

December 9, 2008-- The General Services Administration (GSA), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the District of Columbia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) executed a Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths West Campus, which is part of the St. Elizabeths National Historic Landmark (NHL). Section 106 consultation involved many local organizations and groups that were interested in this project, due to the historic significance of the NHL.  

GSA’s client for the St. Elizabeths development is the Department of Homeland Security, which will be utilizing the site for its new headquarters. The final negotiated proposal will cut down on some of the impact to the historic resource by moving 750,000 square feet of development to the nearby St. Elizabeths East Campus, which is owned by the District of Columbia government. This alternative will reduce the West Campus Development to 3.8 million square feet. In addition, detailed preservation guidance documents were developed to provide the necessary checks and balances for the development by preserving the important contributing elements to the NHL site (i.e., buildings and landscape) consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. 

The PA will commit GSA to retain and reuse over 90 percent of the existing historic structures, and to develop a landscape management plan to protect to the maximum extent practicable the historic campus setting. In addition, public outreach will have many components such as establishing a Citizens Advisory Panel to assist GSA in the interpretation and management of the historic site, the creation of a St. Elizabeths Museum/Visitors Education Center, and pursuing a relationship with the newly reopened vocational high school training academy (Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering Academy). The St. Elizabeths site sat vacant for close to a decade, and its viability and retention, as a federal property, was in question. This new proposal will retain this important property within federal stewardship for decades to come.

The ACHP would like to thank the federal, state, and local agencies and citizens who worked tirelessly for the past four years to arrive at this agreement. For further information on the agreement or the project in general, call Hector Abreu-Cintrón, GSA liaison at 202-606-8517 or e-mail at

Posted December 16, 2008

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