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Land Use: District of Columbia

Development in the District of Columbia calls for a legal team that has the ability to successfully navigate the intricacies of local and federal land use approval processes, managing an often adversarial process in a cooperative, constructive, and fruitful manner. ArentFox Schiff’s attorneys are well positioned to do just that.

Our Focus

Our team has a particularly deep knowledge of the federal officials responsible for approving new development in the District.

Appeals and Litigation

ArentFox Schiff attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in administrative appeals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. This level of experience can prove essential because of the complex nature of appeals involving the land use and historic preservation processes.

Federal Land Disposition

One of the most significant actions in real estate for the District of Columbia in decades has been the transfer and/or redevelopment of large sections of federal land. ArentFox Schiff attorneys were actively involved on the federal side and on the local side, working on the Congressional legislation that transferred areas such as the Southeast Federal Center, Reservation 13/Hill East/the DC General Hospital complex, Poplar Point, and various other smaller parcels that are part of the massive redevelopment of the District’s Anacostia Waterfront. In addition, we have been involved in the redevelopment of the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the East Campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

Historic Preservation

Our team has experience in the historic preservation arena, including knowledge of the bodies charged with preservation oversight in the District of Columbia, including the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board, the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation, and the United States Commission of Fine Arts. Additionally, our team members have served on the Committee of 100 for the Federal City and work closely with the DC Preservation League, two private organizations that monitor and actively participate in development and preservation matters. Our experience working with and for community and preservation groups provides us with a unique perspective in representing developers of historic properties.


Our team regularly works with developers on feasibility studies and consults at each phase of the project to ensure that sound planning principles are addressed as a project moves and evolves.

Our Work

  • The Trump Organization with respect to the redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office into a luxury hotel.
  • EastBanc with respect to the redevelopment of the historic Georgetown Post Office & Customs House for expanded commercial use and the redevelopment of a former telephone switch property for luxury multi-family residential and retail use.
  • The JBG Companies with respect to the repositioning of L’Enfant Plaza and the historic Wardman Park Hotel.