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Clark Construction Raises Arlington Gateway Complex

Wed October 29, 2003 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni



The JBG Companies, Washington, D.C., is developing Arlington Gateway, a new 1-million-sq.-ft. (93,000 sq m) urban mixed-use complex in Arlington, VA, located one block from the Ballston Metro. Located off Interstate 66 at Fairfax Drive in Ballston, the Arlington Gateway complex will include condominiums and an office and hotel tower.

Clark Construction won the contract to build the office tower, and Clark Residential is nearing completion of the condominiums, The Continental at Ballston. Clark Residential also is anticipated to be the builder of the hotel.

The Continental at Ballston was originally planned as rental apartments but has since been converted to for-sale condominiums. A 21-story building with 411 units, the 432,000-sq. ft. (40,000 sq m) project will have a penthouse-level swimming pool, street-level retail and a three-level below-grade parking structure.

Construction of the condominiums began in December 2001. Clark Concrete, the concrete subcontractor and a division of Clark Construction, arranged for a freestanding 25-story high tower crane to build the condominium tower. When constructing the L-shaped building, concrete was pumped from the street level and traveled horizontally to a level where a placing boom with two platforms would await the poured concrete. The company then would pick up the placing boom with the tower crane.

The placing boom used with the tower crane came from a regular concrete pumping truck, said Tom Noll, senior project manager of Clark.

“On the day of a concrete pour, the tower crane would lift the boom section off of a concrete pump truck and set it on a 30 inch diameter steel mast that extended down two floors,” explained Noll. “The rig would be placed vertically and braced off at each floor. A special quick-connect adapter plate was at the top of the rig. Two masts were used, one for each leg of the L-shaped building. The placing boom would be moved from one set up position to the other. Concrete was pumped from the pump truck through a 6 inch diameter slick line to the placing boom.”

Using this method, the company eliminated the need for a second tower crane. During use of the placing boom, workers could use the tower crane for other jobs like moving forms and materials.

“It is very smooth compared to 15 years ago,” said Noll. “Pump operations they have now are very smooth. When the cylinders are switching, I can barely even tell.”

The core and shell of The Continental at Ballston were completed in mid-October, which allowed the building to acquire occupancy permits and allow people to start moving into their units. Noll said at that point they will “try to turn over six a day” so that every resident does not move in on the same day.

“The whole building will be substantially complete by middle December,” said Noll. “After December we will be doing punch list work.”

Designed by Washington, D.C.-based architectural firm Weihe Design Group, the condominium tower’s foundation consists of steel reinforced concrete. The building will feature a brick veneer facade with aluminum punch windows and EIFS on the top three floors. The entrance lobby will have stone floors and hardwood millwork as well as high-speed elevators.

Clark is using a Putzmeister TeleBelt Conveying system to transport soil into planters for the outside landscaped area. According to Noll, a few weeks ago the system was used to place gravel.

“It operates very much like a concrete pump truck,” explained Noll. “There is a guy with a remote control device guiding it at the discharge point, while at the other end a skid steer loader feeds top soil into the hopper.”

The Continental at Ballston is considered a high-tech residence. The units are wired for multiple telephone lines and high-speed Internet access.

The Continental at Ballston, as well as the entire Arlington Gateway complex, is within close proximity to public transportation and amenities. The development promotes the “urban village” concept that stresses the character of the sites, and the design encourages people to live where they work, avoiding sprawl.

In addition to Clark Residential and Weihe Design Group, the project team includes the civil engineering team of VIKA Inc., McLean, VA; KCE Structural Engineers, Washington, D.C.; garage mechanical engineer GHT Limited, Arlington; mechanical design/build subcontractor Salco Mechanical, Rockville, MD; and Cherry Lane Electrical Service.

Clark Construction also is erecting the Arlington Gateway Office Tower, a 12-story, 335,000-sq.-ft. (31,000 sq m) building that includes 17,000 sq. ft. (1,800 sq m) of retail and has a delivery date of January 2005.

The office building, also designed by Weihe Design Group, will feature a new entrance to the Ballston Metro Station. Additionally, it will be equipped with fiber optic communication capability and high-speed elevators.

One organization that has signed a lease at the Arlington Gateway Office Tower is an intellectual property law firm, Nixon & Vanderhye. The company has signed a lease for the top two floors, totaling approximately 53,000 sq. ft. (4,770 sq m). Talks with other prospective tenants are ongoing; however, the JBG Companies will not comment on the details.

Construction of the office tower includes 30- by 30-ft. (9 by 9 cm) column bays and a slab height of 12-ft. 3-in. (3.75 cm) slab to slab. The building is constructed of precast concrete with a glass facade and 5-ft. (1.5 m) window mullions. The finished ceiling height will be 9 ft. (2.7 m).

The JBG Companies, pending a decision from the Arlington County Board, originally postponed the hotel portion of Arlington Gateway. Now, the 15-story, 240,000-sq.-ft. (22,000 sq m) full-service hotel has been approved. As of yet, the developer has not awarded the construction contract for the hotel, but Noll said Clark Residential is the likely choice.

Clark Construction and Clark Residential are part of The Clark Construction Group Inc., which is headquartered in Bethesda, MD.