Navy Annex Set to Be Torn Down This Summer

by ARLnow.com April 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm 12,707 65 Comments


Update on 10/23/12 — Demolition is now set to begin in November or December.

The 70-year-old Navy Annex complex, on the eastern end of Columbia Pike next to the Air Force Memorial, is set to be torn down starting next month.

Demolition on the complex will begin in late May, according to Rep. Jim Moran’s office. The demolition process is expected to last a couple of months.

Until recently, the Navy Annex was home to administrative offices for the Marine Corps. It was originally built as a warehouse in 1941 and has 1 million square feet of office space for up to 6,000 workers, according to GlobalSecurity.org.

The 37-acre site, along with other surrounding land, will be used to expand Arlington National Cemetery.

  • novasteve

    Are there any other historic buildings we could tear down while we’re at it? Arlington House is still standing,maybe that can get torn down too?

    • nom de guerre

      That project is slated to be started after the completion of the destruction of Sam’s Corner. Please communicate this to karzai as he hates to be left out of the loop.

    • Quoth the Raven

      The Annex is a dump. With all the asbestos, etc., in there, it would cost WAY more to renovate than it would to get rid of it.

      • nom de guerre

        It is a dump, but I believe they will still have to perform asbestos abatement prior to destroying it.

        • Quoth the Raven

          True, but demolishing with asbestos is easier and cheaper than renovating with asbestos, I believe.

    • really?

      Maybe it’s just me, but I think the National Cemetery has more historical value to it than an old warehouse that was converted to office simply because the USMC doesn’t have the overflow office space needed… I’m not trying to get you all riled up, and I work for the government and come from a military family. I can appreciate the historical value of the military buildings and bases, etc. but this building isn’t some honorable site of anything exceptional and though expanding for newer graves, the Cemetery is a huge part of our military history. Also with the condition of these buildings, I can’t imagine any of the employees are terribly upset if their offices are moving (unless they live very close).

      • Josh S

        It’s too late – he’s already riled up. He wakes up riled up. He goes to sleep riled up. I’ve never encountered anyone as riled as novasteve.

      • Michael H.


        There’s nothing special about the Navy Annex. It’s old. So what? No one is going to miss it.

      • Arlingtonian

        The employees are probably moving to some facility outside of Arlington that the BRAC expanded. They are probably not overjoyed about this, unless they happen to live near the new location.

        There is no need to expand Arlington Cemetery to accomodate new gravesites. People can choose to be cremated instead of being buried.

        They or their families can ask that their ashes be stored in urns within columbaria on the grounds of the Cemetery. This would be far more honorable than selfishly choosing to occupy land that can be used for many things that are more useful than permanent storage of the dead.

    • Arlington, Northside

      This building was only designed to last five years or to the end of WWII. There is nothing of architectural significance there, and it Was mostly just general office space for the last.65 years. It is well past time to knock them down? ANC needs the space and it will provide great green space for the area.

    • WeiQiang

      Save the warehouses on S. Fern St.! They’ve held more DoD activities than Las Vegas strip club during Tailhook.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Ain’t that a fact!

    • YTK

      The Navy Annex is Historic? NOTHING historic about that Dump.

  • Our apologies, everybody. A technical glitch caused us to lose a bunch of comments on this article. If you said something profound, however, we can go back and find it.

    • drax

      This is the best comment I’ve ever seen on ARLnow.

  • Test

    I said something profoundly mind-numbing, does that count?

  • Realist

    The cemetery will fill up at some point, expansion or not. A new major military cemetery is needed, may as well do it now. This is prime real estate, close to two metros, on a major road. It is really bad land use that it will not be developed as a mixed use site. This is not disrespectful of the dead, so please don’t drop that red herring: the dead can be – in fact, *are* – honored in other military cemeteries around the country. A County with courageous leaders would have negotiated to take over this site for the needs of the community.

    • Dave in SA

      Shame on you. Where would you like us Vietnam Vets to be interred – South or North Dakota or perhaps a sea bottom off of Guam ?

      • drax

        Read it again and get that chip off your shoulder, Dave.

  • I agree the Annex is pretty unattractive – I also think it’s somewhat sad to see something so old disappear. But I do like that the Cemetery will get the land – it will be beautiful, I suspect.

    Don’t agree with Realist at all . . . Arlington has plenty of land for mixed use sites.

    • esmith69

      While I don’t necessarily agree with what Realist said, I think many on here would argue against your claim that “Arlington has plenty of land for mixed use sites”.

      • Zoning Victim

        Yeah, I don’t know how anybody can argue that Arlington, the smallest self-governed county in America, has “plenty of land” for anything.

    • Sam

      70 years is “so old”?

      • OldTimer

        70 is most certainly not “so old”.

        • sunflower

          agree wholeheartedly!

      • WeiQiang

        For a building, it is old.

        • Josh S

          For a building in Arlington, it’s old.

  • southarlington

    It is about time nice land is not being taken up by a high rise buiding like everywhere esle is Arlington. It is good to see Arlington not destroying the land with a buiding.or more condos I like the idea of green space ….may it be a part of Arlington Cementary is great .

    • Condos Everywhere

      Actually, they’re building suspended condos above the new addition to the National Cemetery (where the Annex is now). I think that’s what they call “mixed use.”

  • Bender

    It is long past time that Arlington started to line Lee Highway and Glebe north of I-66 and Washington Blvd. west of Clarendon and Old Dominion Drive and countless other places in north Arlington with high-density 25-story buildings.

    How about urbanizing some of that One-Percent property instead of packing everybody like sardines in places further south that used to be affordable housing, but no longer is?

    • Sam

      Haven’t they started to do this already? Look at the development in Cherrydale that has been going on.

  • DeportEmAll

    There’s a basic have/have-not divide between north Arlington and south Arlington, with Route 50 being the dividing line. I’m all in favor of making life better in south Arlington where warranted (although the Columbia Pike streetcar is insane), but I see no need to invade leafy N. Arlington with big projects.

  • Ashton Heights

    I worked in the Navy Annex 40+ years ago, and it was a dump then. It must be way overdue for demolition now.

    I think the Arlington National Cemetery is a national treasure, and I’m very glad the Navy Annex land is to be used for expanding the cemetery.

    However I think there is some kind of three way land swap involving the cemetery, the Navy Annex land, and Arlington County. I don’t remember who gets what.

    • Michael H.

      I believe Columbia Pike will be realigned, removing the north bend (when traveling east). The road will be on a straighter alignment. I don’t remember what will happen to the large parking lot.

    • 5555624

      The land around/under two western “wings” of the annex building (4.28 acres) will go to Arlington County. Arlington National Cemetery gets South Gate Road (4.26 acres). There is a map detailing the swap at

  • Alex

    So in 200 years the whole of Arlington will be a cemetary?

  • CMG

    Is this where HQ USMC was before its current location just north of here?

    • WeiQiang

      Navy Annex contained the Bureau Of Naval Personnel in the late 80’s, early 90s. Missile Defense Agency after that. Wiki says that HQMC was housed in Navy Annex after 1943.

  • One bit the article does not mention is that the fourth floor of the Annex housed the headquarters of the Missile Defense Agency. These were nice digs indeed and definitely not asbestos-laden. (I can vouch for that, since I worked there two years and am still breathing). Originally, the building was to have been razed in 2010, so there was a 2 year schedule slippage.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Originally the building was to be razed in 1947.

  • Steve

    This place was a dump when I left the area in 82, its probably worse now. We cant save every building that might be historic…or we will end up like some european cities so hamstrung by history they cant move forward.

    • drax

      You mean all those beautiful, precious European towns Americans visit to get away from our dumpy towns that “moved forward?”

      • Arlington, Northside

        So many of those historical towns only exist because the historical cities in Europe are post-1945 reconstructions. The Navy Annex is older than much of that which appears historical in Germany, France, and Italy.

        • drax

          Yeah, good point – so much for being “hamstrung by history.”

        • drax

          FYI I wasn’t endorsing the preservation of the Annex. Tear that crap down.

    • Josh S


  • Jim

    How are they going to tear it down? Wrecking ball? Implosion?

    • drax

      Air strike.

    • Zimmie

      how? turn it over to Artisphere and it will fail on its own.

    • nom de guerre

      Elderly drivers in Toyota Camrys with automatic transmissions will crash into the structure with synchronized precision.

      • Yorktown


      • YTK

        Hold on to your Ice Cream Cones!!!!!

      • Asian Lady Driver

        I take so much offense to this.

        • nom de guerre


  • Joe

    As the son of a career naval officer, and someone who has had many occasions in his life to visit the Navy Annex for one reason or another (especially the Navy Bureau of Personnel) the sentimentalist in me hates to see something that I’ve grown used to seeing be torn down, but I cannot think of a better reason for it. Arlington National Cemetery is a treasure, and any sensible way to expand it is perfectly fine with me. No, the Marine’s Henderson Hall and the Army’s Fort Meyer aren’t going anywhere, nor should they. Yes, the annex was built to be “temporary” while the Pentagon was being built, but as is typical within the armed services, the little “fiefdoms” once established, are difficult to give up.

    My dad is buried at ANC, and one sight which I will never forget is visiting his grave on 09/16/01 and driving over to the far western end of the cemetery to view the damage to the Pentagon, and seeing all of the people on the hillside just below the Navy Annex, taking in the enormity of the situation. It was very moving. especially the patriotic signs that dotted that hillside.

    Hate to see it go, but I’m also excited to see just how beautiful that entire area will become once the project is completed. I think it will do our country, and Arlington County, proud.

    • Arlingtonian

      To repeat part of my message above in response to Joe:

      There is no need to expand Arlington Cemetery to accomodate new gravesites. People can choose to be cremated instead of being buried.

      They or their families can ask that their ashes be stored in urns within columbaria on the grounds of the Cemetery. This would be far more honorable than selfishly choosing to occupy land that can be used for many things that are more useful than permanent storage of the dead.

      • Arlington, Northside

        That land being used for “permanent storage of the dead” is green space that is very tough to get back once it is built upon. We don’t need any highrises on that knoll and that is all that would provide you the productive use that you propose.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    I thought this land was to be a park not a cemetery.

  • YTK

    GOOOD RIDDANCE!! That was a NASTY place to work in– roaches, rats and MANY of the humans as well.

  • Jack Herman (Sgt)

    2 cents worth:

    Stationed at Henderson Hall late 67, discharged mid 69. Had many memorable moments at the NA. The building is Not a structural masterpiece.

    Unfortunately, the building/s that should have remained for posterity were at Henderson Hall. So much for the New Corps, anodised, corfam, polyester…….

  • Francine Anderson

    I worked in that bldg, 1943 to 1949. I was in the Navy and it was called BuPers. It was mostly Navy with last two wings for Marine Hdqtrs. Also lived in barracks right behind the Bldg, called Quarters K. Marine women lived right across the street.Henderson Hall.

  • Francine Anderson

    Worked in that Bldg.,1943 to 1949. It was mostly Navy with last two wings Marine Hdq. I was in the Navy and my barracks, Ouarters K was directly behind. Marine women were across the street in Henderson Hall. Wonderful exciting years.

  • jsclms

    This demolition hasn’t occurred. Anyone know what’s happening?

  • Lawrence

    Just ‘visited’ the annex yesterday on trying to get to ANC to visit my grandfathers grave. Thanks google navigation! *grrr* The civilian security guards at the gate gave me much better directions. I’m no math wiz but based on what I saw yesterday (vs 3 yrs prior) there’s no reason to panic about ANC getting full until the baby boomers who went to ‘Nam have completely passed on. I do question whether my cousins currently serving will have a place in Arlington. But converting the annex into cemetary space will likely ensure them a spot.


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