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1801 Pennsylvania Avenue Repositioning

1801 Pennsylvania Avenue Repositioning | Washington D.C.

Savvy Detective Work, Problem-Solving Approach Key to Successful Repositioning of Decades-Old D.C. Highrise to Class A+ Office Building

Investigate, deconstruct, problem-solve, collaborate. Those were key components of DPR’s approach to repositioning and transforming a 30-plus-year-old, 13-story, 200,000-sq.-ft. building in Washington, D.C. into a Class A commercial office building for Pembroke Real Estate, Inc.

The repositioning and refresh of 1801 Penn Ave. included a high-end lobby renovation and new elevator cab interiors, management office, restrooms, and roof amenity space. In addition, replacement of the exterior skin and selective re-glazing and window enlargement delivered an updated exterior look for the 1980s structure. The goal: turn an aging, dated facility into desirable office space that would attract marquee tenants, all while keeping the owner’s budget and constructability issues at the forefront.

The Challenges

Among the biggest challenges that the team overcame on the repositioning project, one stood out: working on a building that had shifted one to two inches in either direction. That discrepancy made the planned modifications to the exterior precast curtainwall section particularly tricky. The non-alignment was discovered after demolition had occurred but during the beginning stages of curtainwall installation.

During the roofing replacement, crews also discovered that the pergola on the top of the building was leaking. Because it was not included in the refresh work, DPR needed to find a quick, economical solution that did not require replacing or completely rebuilding the pergola, which would be costly.

Woman sitting in lounge area on computer and looking out window
The Solutions

The project team took a collaborative approach with the owner to achieve the design intent while remaining mindful of the owner’s budget needs and constructability issues every step of the way.

Collaboration with key subcontractors and other project members was also integral to the success. To address the leaking pergola, DPR worked with the structural engineer to devise a fix that ultimately repaired it with caulking and structural patching, avoiding a costly replacement. For the curtainwall alignment issue, DPR worked closely with its glazing subcontractor to formulate a solution that entailed modifying several pieces of glass in the curtainwall section.

DPR’s self-perform crews also played a critical role on the project. SPW crews self-performed drywall work, ceiling and other interior scopes. They helped keep “back of the house” items in order and interior renovation work moving forward by protecting interiors from exposure to the elements as the exterior façade work was underway. The self-perform crews played a pivotal role in restoring existing conditions after various renovation components were completed.

The Result

DPR successfully delivered a top-quality project, within budget, in October of 2019, meeting or exceeding the owner’s expectations despite myriad issues along the way.

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