WASHINGTON - Hopes are high that the opening of a new building described as "beautiful" will set off a domino effect of revitalization in part of the District.
"We've never had a permanent home for the Coast Guard in our 223 years," said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp at Monday's ribbon cutting for the new headquarters building on the campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast.
It's also the first federal agency to locate east of the Anacostia River, and Coast Guard employees will begin working there in a week.
"This is the branch of the armed forces that protects so many of us at home, and deserves a home of its own. And what a home it is," said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who secured $1.4 billion in funding for the building.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says other DHS agencies are expected to follow.
"When this consolidated campus is complete, it will reduce our physical footprint from more than 50 locations around the National Capital region, to fewer than 15."
The high-tech headquarters is built into a hillside, and features a massive 400,000 square foot green roof covered with plants.
"As the kids in the neighborhood will say, this place is 'da bomb' isn't it?" said Mayor Vince Gray.
"The development of St. Elizabeths is part of my administration's larger vision to foster a renaissance right here in Ward 8. The area around the Congress Heights Metro station will one day be the flagship entrance to St. Elizabeths," Gray said.
More details about the building can be found on the Clark Construction website.
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