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Let's settle this: The tallest building in Greater Washington will be Capital One's tower

Wednesday - 3/26/2014, 4:02pm  ET

Whether it’s for bragging rights or architectural accuracy, the issue of building height is terribly important to developers in the Washington area. 

Last week, I wrote that  the planned Capital One headquarters in Tysons would be the tallest building in the region, at 470 feet from ground to penthouse.

On Tuesday, a representative for Monday Properties, developer of 1812 N. Moore St. in Rosslyn, asked for a clarification — that building, too, would be 470 feet, as will the JBG Cos.’ Central Place tower planned for Rosslyn.

Um, no.

We went through this same hullabaloo in 2008, in what former Washington Business Journal reporter Melissa Castro  termed “the war of 1812.”

At that time, the dispute keyed on which would be taller — 1812 N. Moore or Central Place. Tim Helmig, Monday’s co-president, said then 1812 N. Moore sits on a hill and will rise to 470 feet above sea level, the same altitude as Central Place. He cited the number of floors: "“We count stories as every level in the building. We have levels below-grade too.”

Altitude does not equal building height. To claim such, you would have to agree that a single story home in Damascus, elevation 866 feet, is at least 400 feet taller than them all.

There is actually an international body that decides these things, the  Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. And the world's landlords take the classification very seriously. 

Monday Properties has since capitulated, and now deems 1812 N. Moore a 390-foot skyscraper. Not too shabby — and, indeed, currently the tallest building in Greater Washington.

But to clarify: When built, Capital One’s headquarters will be the tallest building in the D.C. region, roughly 85 feet shorter than the Washington Monument, but at least 80 feet taller than either 1812 N. Moore or Central Place. 

© 2014 American City Business Journals, Inc.