Intelsat Building for Sale

Steve Pearlstein had an interesting column in Friday’s Washington Post regarding the changing fortunes of Intelsat and its famous headquarters in Washington, D.C.:

Time was when Intelsat was something of a metaphor for business in Washington, a government-backed enterprise that put the city at the center of the global satellite industry. Its futuristic office building on Connecticut Avenue was meant to symbolize Intelsat’s technological prowess and financial reliability.

Today, Intelsat is still something of a metaphor, but for a very different business environment. Its official headquarters is in Bermuda, its building is for sale, some operations are moving to Atlanta, and its debt is rated as junk. Intelsat’s prospects are now tied up as much with financial engineering as with the other kind.

All this is the result of transactions by private equity firms that took Intelsat from a government enterprise to a private company and merged it with Comsat, PanAmSat and parts of Loral, among others. But in the process, they have also loaded Intelsat with more than $11 billion in debt and drained much of the company’s equity value.

More information on Intelsat’s financial woes can be found here and here. Yet regardless of Intelsat’s financial outlook, the future in Washington won’t quite be the same if the Intelsat building — long a Connecticut Avenue landmark and a must-see for futurists touring the nation’s capital– gets renamed.

Unless, of course, you purchase it in our honor and rename it, say, the Sebadoh Building. (This might be the company with the listing.)

More photos: Check out this arial photo as well as this "blast from the past" photo of John Andrews with a model of the proposed building back in 1980.


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