Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Office Buildings Unite! (Raise Hands in Ecstasy)

Unbeknownst to the naked eye, interior demolitions have recently begun on two neighboring buildings in Golden Triangle: 1000 Connecticut Avenue (pictured) and the adjacent Thompson Publishing Group building (also pictured...if you look really closely). Once demolition crews are finished removing the interior remnants, the buildings will be demolished to pave the way for their replacement: a 12-story building which will be home to 356,000 s.f. of office space and 14,000 s.f. of ground floor retail. Both owners of the existing structures will share proprietary rights of the future building under the harmonious name: 1000 Connecticut Avenue Associates and PNC Bank, a title which was decided on only after numerous months of creative brainstorming.

The task for architects Pei Cobb Freed & Partners has been relatively demanding; the structure must accommodate mixed-uses while maintaining "sensitive [design] to compliment the surrounding large scale commercial buildings" according to an urban design order from the Zoning Commission. In addition to fulfilling aesthetic mandates, the developers have successfully petitioned the Zoning Commission for an increase in allowable gross floor area. In exchange, Connecticut Ave Associates and PNC Bank will offer a number of benefits and amenities to the District, most notably a $841,000 contribution to the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. The donation, which is roughly $150,000 more than required by housing linkage requirements, will be used toward constructing low-income housing at 4th and Mississippi Streets, SE.

The interior design firm, WDG Architecture, has worked closely with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in an attempt to create an eco-friendly design plan. Although the final LEED certification level will not be determined until completion, the owners will seek LEED status and, according to Zoning, the office building will "incorporate such LEED-level elements as reduced water usage, energy performance systems and materials, ozone protection, use of recycled or salvaged construction materials, carbon dioxide monitoring, a high-efficiency ventilation system and low-VOC finish materials." A green roof is also proposed to cover 53% of the rooftop area.

Exterior demolition is set to begin by the end of November, putting the start of construction on the calendar for Spring of 2008. Delivery is expected late in 2009.


IMGoph on Nov 14, 2007, 10:43:00 PM said...

it would be interesting to see a list of all the buildings downtown that are being gutted and redone. i noticed barricades going up on the northwest corner of 19th and M, and wonder if the same thing is happening there. a lot of 30+ year old office buildings down near K street appear to be ready for a mid-life redo.

Ken on Nov 15, 2007, 10:18:00 AM said...

You want us to put together a list of all commercial properties too?? Do you know what a pain in the arse it is just to track every condo in the city?

Not only are the office buildings downtown going through a mid-life crisis now, rents are rising fast and vacancy is low, putting a premium on high-end office space, and the older buildings are often sadly outdated and unwelcoming inside, and they are going green as well, another bonus.

IMGoph on Nov 15, 2007, 10:46:00 AM said...

hey, it's your blog, do whatever you want. it would be interesting to see a map of some of the construction downtown, showing year of completion for buildings, of year of massive make-over. in the end, it would be a huge project, yes. oh well.

Chris Loos on Nov 15, 2007, 11:24:00 AM said...

If I can ever find the time to get my blog off the ground again, I was planning on doing an entry called "The Great DC Facelift", on this topic.

I think Ken is right; with all this new Class A office space, the older buildings need to play catch up to stay competitive.

There's a building on K (K and 22nd maybe) that's been extended by several stories and is now getting treated with sleek silver paneling over the old brick facade. There's a similar building getting a facelift at 12th and H...that one with faux wood grain paneling (similar to House of Sweden's) over the old brick. Another facelift that finished up last year is a building on Vermont between L and Thomas Circle. They threw up glass over the old concrete facade, and built a LED light installation in the lobby that extends out onto the sidewalk.

Seriously, between all the facelifts going on and the new construction, its like a new city every month. I plan on trying out a new city when I finish grad school, but its almost tempting to stay here just to see how it all turns out.

Ken on Nov 17, 2007, 9:23:00 AM said...


Sorry, didn't mean to come across as snarly, but I think I was overly dramatic. It would be great to catalog the city's buildings in that way, but I don't think we're up for the challenge yet; we're still trying to figure out how to make this service pay. I would be happy to cooperate with anyone that wants to give it a shot. And thanks for the thought.

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