Corcoran board picks CBRE to assess museum building, consider relocation

Article written by Jonathan O’Connell with contributions by David Montgomery, for
The Washington Post.

The board of trustees at the Corcoran Gallery of Art voted Tuesday to hire the real estate services firm CBRE to evaluate the value of the Corcoran’s Beaux-Arts building and possibly help the museum secure a new home elsewhere in the region.

The board chose CBRE through a competitive process and the museum expects to finalize an agreement with the firm shortly, according to Gallery spokeswoman Mimi Carter. The action follows the board’s June decision to test the market for the building.

“The plan remains to assess the value of the building as one among several critical components, in order to implement a strategy to ensure the long term stability of the Corcoran,” she said in a written statement. “To move toward a robust and successful future, the Trustees are evaluating all options including partnerships, relocation, and renovating the existing building. The Corcoran has moved before and one option is to consider relocating to a purpose-built, technologically advanced, facility that is cost effective to maintain.”

Constructed in 1897 with a wing added 30 years later, the 129,000-square-foot museum is one of the closest buildings to the White House but does not lend itself to redevelopment for other uses because of its historical significance and design as a museum.

The Corcoran’s board is considering the building’s sale to address chronic funding shortages. It posted a $7.2 million deficit for the fiscal year ended last June and is considering moving because it would cost an estimated $130 million to bring its landmark home up to modern museum standards. Many artists, however, oppose a sale of the building.

A spokeswoman for CBRE declined to say who at the firm would lead the Corcoran work.

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