The ubiquitous JBG Companies is working on a new and rather unorthodox $70 million project, the K Street Office Complex at 1201 K Street, NW, to eventually replace the Four Points Sheraton now on the site. The 1/2 acre site might soon be home to an eight-story, 280,000-s.f. office building designed by London-based Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architectural firm, world-renowned for their bleeding edge design (though the rendering, above, looks awfully 10 storyish to us). Unfortunately for those who long to see developments materialize sooner rather than later, JBG has vowed to delay construction until a tenant leases a "significant portion" of the future space.
According to JBG, the Sheraton is doing well financially. Yet JBG doesn't see the faded hotel as a serious competitor in the next five years, as DC gets more hotel beds and competition accelerates. The bottom-line: although JBG doesn't foresee an office complex being more lucrative than the hotel presently, they do predict it will hold up better to the coming market. Yet JBG is playing it safe both ways: Having a exit strategy in order to hedge against losses from a surge in hotel supply, and holding out for a pre-lease to avoid vacant office space.
Sheraton's replacement building is quite the anomaly; having been designed to have an offset core with removable slabs. Architects have moved the core - the load bearing portion - and elevators to one side and opened up the building to more efficient uses, leaving each floor without disjointed office space surrounding a space-stealing central elevator bank.
But one of the most innovative features of 1201 K Street is what JBG calls its "soft zone," three entire bays at the center of the floor plate which can be removed, all or in part, and replaced at a later date, to accommodate tenants who want to connect two floors with monument staircases or open trophy spaces. Managing Director at JBG, John Schlichting, broke it down: "The extraordinary advantages of the soft zone are connectivity between floor levels, delivering light into the deep portion of the floor plate, allowing flexibility in creating atria spaces within a tenant's space, and providing an animated sense of work place."
JBG's newest office building will surely stand out from the K Street crowd. "Together with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, we have designed an extraordinarily innovative building that will encourage a working environment that responds to the changing needs of corporate office space," Schlichting added. "In questioning the 'norm' we can better understand how to achieve the level of excellence to which the building aspires."
Aside from 1201 K's unique architecture and eye-pleasing asthetics, the building is being prepared for no less than silver LEED Certification. Although JBG is holding out for a nearly-full building before beginning construction, a ballpark-timeline puts the start date at January 2009. It seems likely the Sheraton won't be mourned.