Construction of Potomac Yard Entering Final Phases

Tue November 21, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni

In October 2004, The Meridian Group Inc. acquired the last 15 acres (6 ha) of development at Potomac Yard in Arlington, Va.

This vast development includes 2.85 million sq. ft. (265,000 sq m) of office, retail, hotel and residential space. Construction presently is under way on various buildings at the project, which is located near Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

National Gateway will be the centerpiece of Potomac Yard with its mixed-use plan of office space, retail shops and residential complexes. According to Tim Eden, Bethesda, Md.-based Meridian Group’s managing director, “We rebranded the office portion ’National Gateway.’”

In the end, up to 1.9 million sq. ft. (176,500 sq m) of office space will be added to Potomac Yard, the construction of which will be completed in several phases.

The National Gateway office portion of the development includes six buildings. The first two, named National Gateway I and II, will be nine stories each and cover approximately 210,000 sq. ft. (19,500 sq m) apiece. They are situated at the main entrance to National Gateway with access and visibility to Route 1/Jefferson Davis Highway.

National Gateway III to VI will have a total of 1.2 million sq. ft. (111,000 sq m) of office space and will have views that look over Reagan National Airport, the Potomac River, and Washington, D.C. These four dedicated stand-alone buildings will be located at the north end of the development.

National Gateway III will have nine stories and will include 270,000 sq. ft. (25,000 sq m) of office space and 7,000 sq. ft. (650 sq m) of retail space. National Gateway IV and V will each be 11 stories and have a total of 290,400 sq. ft. (27,000 sq m) of office space. The 11-story National Gateway VI will contain 304,000 sq. ft. (28,000 sq m) of office space and 7,000 sq. ft. (650 sq m) of retail space.

Additionally, in the National Gateway development, two 12-story office buildings, named One and Two Potomac Yard, have recently been completed by Charlotte, N.C.-based Crescent Resources LLC and general contractor James G. Davis Construction Corporation, which is headquartered in Rockville, Md.

One and Two Potomac Yard contain approximately 300,000 sq. ft. (28,000 sq m) of space each.

The towers share a three-story above-grade parking garage. After 23 months of construction, One and Two Potomac Yard were completed in March 2006. In May, the Environmental Protection Agency moved into all 12 floors of the south tower and is occupying three floors of the north tower too.

National Gateway will include more than 200,000 sq. ft. (18,500 sq m) of shops, restaurants and services on the ground floor of nearly all of the office and residential buildings. The ground-floor retail is an important aspect in the design of the project.

“A big part of the story is the retail program,” said Eden. “It will really help make the place.”

Furthermore, an area dubbed Center Park will provide a street scene where much of the retail will be centered and will encourage an outdoor urban lifestyle.

National Gateway has approval to build 880,000 sq. ft. (82,000 sq m) for residential and hotel uses. Some of the residential buildings are currently under construction, but most of the buildings are still in the design phase.

One of the residential projects, a $94-million, 465-unit condominium, is currently under construction and being developed by Comstock Potomac Yard. The general contractor, Centex Construction, headquartered in Washington, D.C., began working on this project in November 2004 and is due to complete it in early 2007. Davis Carter Scott in McLean, Va., is the architect for the project, which the owner/developer is marketing as “The Eclipse on Center Park.”

This condominium project consists of two 11-story towers and four six-story wings over top of two-and-a-half levels of below-grade parking for 935 vehicles.

Alison Carney, Centex’s director of marketing, stated, “They are mirror images of each other.”

The company is making use of a Peiner SK 575 hammerhead tower crane and two 70-ton (63 t) hydraulic cranes to build the condominiums.

Additional residential buildings in the development that are planned for construction are Brittany East and West, two 12-story residential buildings with retail. According to Eden, “We have not selected a contractor yet.”

Camden Potomac Yard, a 12-story multi-family residential and retail complex located at the intersection of South Glebe Road and Potomac Ave., has been under construction since April 2005 and is due for completion in May or June 2007. This part of the National Gateway project is being built by Washington, D.C.-based Donohoe Construction Company, while Rockville, Md.-based Warner Construction Consultants acts as the scheduling consultant. This building will contain 378 residential units, 4,120 sq. ft. (380 sq m) of retail on the first floor, and three levels of below-grade parking.

According to Fred Tate, Donohoe’s senior project manager, “Quite a bit has been done.” In the beginning, the company excavated approximately 100,000 cu. yds. (76,500 cu m) from the site. So far, Donohoe has topped out the building and completed the structural concrete. Concrete work was performed by a subcontractor, Bethesda-based Miller and Long Concrete Construction, which supplied two tower cranes for the job.

A 14-story residential unit is planned for the project as well, but it is in the preliminary phase.

Arlington is a popular location for office space, which is primarily leased to government agencies and government contractors, because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., the Pentagon and the airport.

The entire development should be finished by 2012, but that “depends on market conditions,” Eden said. CEG

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