Washington, DC

The JBG Companies

Service Type

Project Type

960,000 sf

Phase One, South Tower:
Phase Two, North Tower:

2006 MD/DC NAIOP Award of Merit, Best Urban Renovation
2006 Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship Award
2005 Mid-Atlantic Construction,Renovation
Project of the Year
2005 DC Marketing Center Award, Best Office Renovation
2004 NAIOP Award of Excellence, Best Renovation

The JBG Companies, a local Washington, DC developer commissioned Hickok Cole Architects (HCA) to renovate and expand an existing aging, 560,000 sf, 1960s vintage office building into a Class A office complex comprised of two office buildings totaling 1,000,000 sf. Phase One of the project at 550 12th Street (the South Tower) was completed in 2003; Phase Two at 500 12th Street (the North Tower) was completely in 2005 and recently received its LEED Core and Shell Pilot Certification, Silver level.

HCA has also provided interior design services, including a 20,000 sf auditorium space, for the government tenants that currently occupy Potomac Center:

  • U.S. Department of Education: 300,000 sf
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: 113,000 sf
  • Confidential GSA Tenant: 496,000 sf

Base Building Features

The building was separated at the center to create two structurally independent buildings. It was necessary to reorganize the circulation pattern of the garage to allow for the reinforcing of the foundations and structural separation to proceed under the south half of the garage while maintaining safe access to the north half. In the design of the expansion, it was also necessary to replace the existing exterior skin as well as the mechanical system. The existing concrete structure and foundations were reinforced to accept the load of the additional three floors, while the garage remained in operation during the project.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

For the South Tower, the Owner had originally secured the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the prime tenant of the building. With this tenant also came substantial new security requirements including the blast protection of the exterior skin and DOJ Level 4 Facility. The new exterior skin was designed with pre-cast concrete panels of sufficient thickness and reinforcing to satisfy blast requirements and new reinforced window framing system with laminated glass. Due to the events of 9/11/01 and heightened security in the nation’s Capital, FEMA opted to not relocate to Potomac Center. However, prior to this decision, Hickok Cole provided interior design services for FEMA through Construction Documentation. It was FEMA’s desire to move from a hard wall office environment to an open office environment. HCA facilitated the change by conducting a three-day series of “open forums” to address FEMA employee concerns.

LEED and Sustainable Building Accomplishments

The North Tower of Potomac Center (500 12th Street, SW) received its LEED Core and Shell Pilot certification, Silver Level. The building includes preferred parking for hybrid and carpool vehicles; an Energy Star roof; native planting; construction waste management; recycled content and local building materials; FSC certified wood; and Low-E interior materials.