New Arlington Building Will Have a Lot Upstairs

New Arlington Building Will Have a Lot Upstairs

By Gail Repsher, Staff Writer

Commercial property developers in the Washington region soon will have a new standard to measure their projects against in Virginia's Arlington County ? a measure of intelligence, that is.

Late last month, county officials and the developers of 1801 N. Lynn St. in Arlington's Rosslyn neighborhood symbolically broke ground on a "smart building" they say will be one of the nation's most technologically advanced when it opens in early 2002.

"If Rosslyn were a chromosome, the 1801 building would be the gene for smarts," Cecilia Cassidy, executive director of Rosslyn Renaissance, said at the June 27 groundbreaking. Rosslyn Renaissance, a public-private partnership, was created in 1991 to promote the neighborhood.

The new structure, on the site of a former 90,000-square-foot office building, is one component of Arlington County's Smart People, Smart Place economic development strategy. It will be equipped to accommodate almost any tenant's technology need upon moving in, its developers said.

County officials said they hope the 350,000-square-foot, 24-story tower will be the start of a new Rosslyn, one that attracts major high-technology companies.

"Our intentions were to try to position Arlington as a smart-building capital, to increase the technology embedded in the buildings," said Terry Holzheimer, director of the Office of Business Investment in the county's Department of Economic Development.

The North Lynn Street structure will be the only office building in the Washington area built from the ground up with its technology infrastructure built in and accessible to tenants for free, said W. Michael Ellis, senior vice president of leasing agent Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc. in Vienna, Va.

Property developers are Steuart Investment Co. of Chevy Chase, Md., and The JBG Companies of Washington. The architect is Washington's RTKL Associates Inc.

Defining the smart-building standard was not easy, Holzheimer said. "A lot of people didn't know what that would mean," he said.

The standard came to include redundant power, fiber-optic cabling, Internet and communication systems as base building features.

"It has all the gizmos that a 21st century office would want, and it's wired for bells and whistles that people haven't yet thought of but might someday need," said Barbara Favola, chairwoman of the Arlington County Board.

Developers said the smart-building technologies will allow tenants to:

• Begin working immediately, no matter what systems they require.

• Save thousands annually on Internet connectivity charges.

• Conduct more transactions and business than ever before.

• Incur almost no technology-related costs at move-in.

• Save thousands on heating and cooling costs with more flexible and efficient systems.

The building also will feature a top-floor conference center with Washington views, videoconference facilities and high-bandwidth capacity. The lobby will host a video wall and desks where visitors can access the Internet.

"We keep learning about what is smart every day," said Guy Steuart, vice president of Steuart Investment. "We hope we're being forward thinking."

Steuart said he believes the technology embedded in 1801 N. Lynn St. will become commonplace in other projects, and that the investment will pay off without charging high rental fees.

"We're not trying to charge a premium," said Steuart, who added that tenants will pay about $35 per square foot. "We think that having this technology in the building will pay off in spades as we can attract and retain tenants."

Steuart and Ellis confirmed they are negotiating with a tenant for about 100,000 square feet. The Washington Business Journal reported in May that consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP had a letter of intent to lease space there.

"We hope to announce a deal soon," Steuart said.

To encourage redevelopment projects like
1801 N. Lynn St., the Arlington County Board created a new zoning category in 1996 that allows greater floor-to-area ratios in exchange for community benefits. At the Lynn Street address, benefits will include some reduced-price parking, wider sidewalks and a four-story wind sculpture outside. In January, the county board approved a tax reduction and exemption package designed to make it more attractive for businesses to move to Arlington.

"This is just the beginning" of the redevelopment, said Arlington County's Favola.

The developers of 1801 N. Lynn St. have competition, however, in setting the smart-building standard. Rosslyn's building was modeled in part after 55 Broad St. in New York City, Holzheimer said.

Rudin Management Co. jump-started the city's Silicon Alley in 1996 with its renovation. Called the New York Information Technology Center, 55 Broad St. hosts up to 4,000 employees on 30 floors who work for companies such as Ernst & Young LLP, Nokia Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Among that building's features are a choice of more than 15 Internet service providers and the Global Community Sandbox, a high-tech videoconferencing, distance learning, corporate training and exhibition space.

Since the opening of 55 Broad St., Rudin has expanded its smart-building efforts to include other New York properties such as 110 Wall St., 32 Sixth Ave. and the Long Island Technology Center.

Three Times Square, the future home of Reuters, will be the crown jewel of Rudin's smart buildings, said John Gilbert, Rudin's chief operating officer, chief technical officer and executive vice president.

"Nobody is going to be able to outdo this one," Gilbert said.

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