HHMI announces the purchase of historic Hayes Manor and surrounding property.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) today announced the purchase of the historic Hayes Manor and the surrounding 9.44-acre property from the Columbia/Hayes Manor Foundation. The purchase price was $4.7 million.

The Institute plans to integrate the adjacent 18th-century brick house and property into its existing headquarters and conference center, located off Platt Ridge Drive in Chevy Chase. Acquisition of the Hayes Manor will ensure that this important property will be preserved and maintained as a structure important to the history of Montgomery County.

We are studying the best way to incorporate the property into our activities, said Thomas R. Cech, the Institutes president. It will be a superb addition to our campus, and the manor house could be a very special site for meetings or workshops involving small groups of scientists. Certainly, the architecture of the Hayes Manor is in keeping with that of our present headquarters.

The Hayes Manor, located at 4101 Manor Road, is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian colonial architecture in Montgomery County. The central portion of the house was built in 1767 for the Rev. Alexander Williamson, a considerable landowner and Anglican clergyman. He named the property after the home of William Pitt the Elder, then Prime Minister of England. The house and surrounding 700 acres were sold to James Dunlop in 1792 and it remained in the familys hands for six generations. The Foundation acquired the property in 1996. Since then, it has been used for activities associated with the Columbia Country Club.

This acquisition comes at a particularly opportune moment for the Institute because we are in the midst of planning an expansion of our headquarters. We will defer our pending land-use application while we assess how Hayes Manor affects those plans, said Cech.

HHMI had earlier this year filed an application with Montgomery County for a modification to its existing special exception to expand its headquarters and increase full-time staff. Hearings concerning the Institutes application before the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Montgomery County Board of Appeals were scheduled this fall. The original special exception, granted in 1988, placed a cap of 200 on the number of full-time staff able to work on the campus. That number no longer meets the needs of the Institute, which now houses part of its staff off site.

The HHMI campus, which includes facilities for headquarters staff and a conference center, is on a 22.5-acre site at the corner of Jones Bridge Road and Connecticut Avenue. Designed by Hillier Group of Princeton, N.J., it consists of small-scale interconnected brick and stone buildings that reflect the residential character of the surrounding neighborhood. The campus is set within a retreat-like environment intended to create a tranquil setting, and was augmented by the 1999 purchase of an adjacent 4.7-acre parcel on Platt Ridge Drive. Bowie Gridley Architects has been selected to design the headquarters expansion, and the preliminary concepts developed by the architects have been in keeping with the original architecture. As a scientific and philanthropic organization, HHMI invests more than $440 million annually in biomedical research, employing approximately 330 of the nations most innovative scientists at some 70 universities and research centers around the nation. As an adjunct to its investigator program, HHMI is also constructing a research campus on a 281-acre parcel of land in Loudoun County, Virginia. The Janelia Farm research campus is expected to open in 2006.

Through its complementary grants program, the Institute disburses more than $100 million a year for a variety of initiatives to enhance the teaching of science beginning at the earliest grade levels through doctoral fellowships, and to support career development among the most promising potential young scientists. The Institute also provides support to the Montgomery County schools for science education. Through its International Research Scholars program, HHMI supports the research of select scientists in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

For More Information

Jim Keeley 301.215.8858