Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crystal City Office Project Gets Started Thursday Morning


Lowe Enterprises will host a "groundbreaking ceremony" Thursday on a $70 million office redevelopment project at 1400 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. Fox Architects designed the new building.

The company will seek LEED Gold certification for the project to convert an existing 300,000 square-foot office building in Jefferson Plaza into "Class A" office space complete with a glass facade and roof top terrace. The lobby will be moved to Crystal Drive.

Demolition will bring the building back to its concrete frame before new construction begins, keeping a quick turnaround time and earning LEED points as a retrofit.

"When we acquired the building, we new knew it had good bones," said Harmar Thompson, Vice President of Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group. "So we knew it had a good structure, that we could work with that structure, and not have to do ... ground-up development."

Thompson said the 30-by-30 column grid is solid and lends itself to flexible configuration of the new building, compared to the 20-by-20 grid common in the area that makes renovation more difficult.

Other elements incorporated to achieve LEED Gold certification include using high-efficiency glass the facade and upgrading HVAC to a dedicated outdoor air system that brings cold water to many units throughout the building instead of having it in a centralized basement location.

The new building is scheduled to open in early 2013, with 30,000 square feet more space than the old building, creating more corner offices and pushing it out into the view corridor. "The views out of this building are spectacular," Thompson said.

Lowe acquired the building in 2008. Thompson said the company had the opportunity to initiate the rebuilding project because the National Guard Bureau vacated, leaving it empty. Rebuilding on top of the existing frame allowed the company to create an essentially new building in a short period of time and open it to tenants earlier than other projects in the area. Lincoln Property Company will handle leasing.

The groundbreaking ceremony is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Arlington, VA real estate development news

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