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Site’s Location Proves Tricky for Clark Construction

Wed January 19, 2000 - Northeast Edition
David Owens

Clark Construction of Bethesda, MD, is general contractor on a $28-million project in Alexandria, VA. The site, a full city block, was for many years a single-story building, Mastercraft Interiors, and grade level parking.

Saul Centers of Chevy Chase, MD, is the developer of this project named Washington Square at Old Town. The building was designed by Shalom Baranes & Associates of Washington, D.C. This 500,000-square-foot structure will house office space, retail establishments and underground parking.

Subcontractor Goldin & Stafford of Largo, MD, began demolition and excavation Feb. 1, 1999. Clark Foundations also took part in the excavation. For this fast-track project, the demolition and excavation began even before drawings were complete. The projected completion date is July 31, 2000.

The site is bounded on the north by Wythe Street, on the south by Pendleton Street and on the west by the very busy North Washington Street, a main artery for traffic to and from Washington, D.C. Access to the job site was granted only on the eastern, Saint Asaph Street, side. This restricted access makes the tight site an even greater challenge.

Another challenge came from the site’s soil. In places its load-bearing ability was less than expected. Bob Jesson, Clark Construction’s project manager on this job, said, “The design team solved this problem by increasing the size of the footings in some areas.”

Miller & Long of Bethesda, MD, started concrete work June 4. The company is using two tower cranes to transport the concrete. One is a Peco SK400 and the other a Liebherr 316 EC-H. Trucks from Cardinal Concrete of Lorton, VA, stay lined up on Saint Asaph Street waiting to deposit their payload in a crane’s concrete bucket. The building will incorporate 21,280 cubic meters (28,000 cu. yds.) of concrete and 2,520 metric tons (2,800 short tons) of rebar.

Below grade the structure fills the entire city block as one continuous parking garage of two-and-a-half stories. Above grade the building splits into twin four-and-a-half story towers separated by a courtyard. Brian Katz of Cushman & Wakefield, the McLean, VA, company handling leasing of the 17,651 square meter (190,000 sq. ft.) of office space, said, “This courtyard, in addition to fountains and extensive landscaping, will feature outdoor seating for cafes.”

Washington Square at Old Town will incorporate 4,180 square meters (45,000 sq. ft.) of retail space at ground level in the two towers. These towers will have brick facades in keeping with the architecture of historic Old Town. The subcontractor for masonry is United Masonry of Virginia, an Alexandria, VA, company. Brick on this job will amount to 2,295 square meters (25,500 sq. ft.).

A departure from the traditional will be a full-height glass curtainwall. Galaxy Glass & Aluminum of Hookset, NH, is the subcontractor for the curtainwall.

According to Clark Construction, the north and south towers will each have an elegant three-story lobby with concierge desk and high-end finishes including stone, glass and millwork.

This project is lent an international flavor by the subcontractor for precast. That is the Canadian firm of Modern Mosaic Ltd. out of Niagara Falls, Ontario. 3,150 square meters (35,000 sq. ft.) of precast will be used.

Other subcontractors with a prominent role include: Truland Systems Corporation, electrical contractor from Arlington, VA; Colonial Mechanical out of Richmond, VA; and drywall by Maryland Applications of Beltsville, MD.

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