Revival on Pennsylvania Avenue

October 01, 2002 |

Utilizing its original frame, a 12-story Washington, D.C., office building constructed in the 1960s to the maximum height then allowed by zoning regulations has been renovated to take advantage of revised zoning regulations. It is one of a number of buildings in the nation's capitol that have been redeveloped to take advantage of changes in the city's zoning regulations.

The height restriction for Pennsylvania Avenue was increased in the late 1970s, and bays that project over property lines were disallowed. This provided an opportunity to add two floors to 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, and to increase its floor area ratio (FAR) from the original 10:1 to the current 11:1. The additional two floors are set back from the building line, which will provide a 13th floor terrace with views of the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall — a major selling point to the anchor tenant.

Because it was grandfathered in, the new structure is able to retain the portion of the original building, totaling approximately 25,000 sq. ft. on 10 floors, that extends beyond the building line. Under current zoning regulations, such overhangs are not permitted for new commercial buildings. Earlier zoning ordinances allowed for projecting bays over the property or setback line in some instances.

Infill addition

An addition to the building comprising 14 floors infills a previously unused portion of the lot between the building and its neighbors, the Evening Star Building and Hotel Harrington.

The original building was stripped to its concrete frame, which was determined to have sufficient capacity to accommodate the additional steel-framed floors. This fact, along with the zoning benefits available for renovation, provided the incentive to retain the existing structure rather than to demolish it. As a result of all these factors, the reconstructed building will have an area of about 330,000 sq. ft., or 90,000 sq. ft. more than the original building.

The original building was clad with a bland precast concrete façade typical of its period. The renovated structure was clad with granite at its base and precast panels that resemble limestone on the upper floors.

Originally, the ground floor retail space along Pennsylvania Avenue was deeply recessed, and therefore shadowed. The ground floor was reconfigured, moving the exterior wall of the retail spaces outward to the street's setback line. To provide a greater street presence, the building entrance was reoriented to Pennsylvania Avenue from 12thStreet.

Westwood Management Corp., Bethesda, Md., is the property manager. The project team includes two Washington-based firms: architect Shalom Baranes Associates and general contractor Donahoe Construction Co.

The building was occupied in January. All of its office space has been leased.

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