Capitol Crossing, Washington, DC


Capitol Crossing transforms a acres atop a freeway into a three-block, 2.2 million-square-foot complex of office and residential buildings. Its Center Block is the hub of community activities where residents, hotel guests, and office workers from adjacent buildings converge to participate.

Plaintiffs seek to assert RICO claims against Capital Crossing, TPG and SBT for conspiring to defraud Lehman Brothers under 18 U.S.C. 1962(a), as well as using racketeering income for investments into an enterprise.

The Site

Capitol Crossing was built at the intersection of E Street and Massachusetts Avenue in northwest Washington, DC, to restore its original city grid by filling seven acres elevated over the I-395 highway. Property Group Partners developed and delivered infrastructure for 2.2 million square feet of new office space and public spaces – along with the right-of-way width and profile L’Enfant originally imagined; additionally, pedestrian-friendly promenades connected neighborhoods more effectively.

Mecho provided custom designed side channels to maximize daylighting throughout the project, preventing light leakage while providing flexibility when fitting out walls for occupant use. Their shading solutions also helped mitigate unwanted solar heat gain and UV radiation – contributing to a LEED Platinum certification.

The Master Plan

Master plans are long-term documents designed to shape and guide the three-dimensional built environment. They serve as a basis for the regeneration of cities as well as future growth, providing a conceptual layout of sites as well as serving as a framework for urban renewal and future development. A master plan shows how buildings connect to their social settings and surrounding environment while outlining locations for various uses, densities, yields, and lot sizes; in turn providing flexibility as communities change housing diversity over time.

Master plans serve to set out the vision for a sustainable eco-district that spans three city blocks, featuring residential, hotel, and office components as well as retail spaces and public open spaces. Design considerations were informed by contextual factors, including topography, landscape features, waterways, and historic features to produce this design concept.

Capitol Crossing will link Capitol Hill and East End neighborhoods of Washington together once completed, restoring the urban street grid, pedestrian corridors, rights-of-way connections, and cross-city connections as envisioned in L’Enfant Plan of 1791, which served as Washington’s seminal city planning document. Furthermore, it will reestablish urban parks and greenways while reinstating viewsheds envisioned by L’Enfant Plan and reinstating urban vistas expected in it.

It will exceed LEED Platinum sustainability requirements by featuring parking garage exhaust venting through large plant-like structures known as Eco-Chimneys; 90 percent of stormwater runoff captured and reused through cisterns; heat and power generated on-site through freeway-level cogeneration plant; groundwater replaced potable water for cooling towers and landscaping to cut utility usage by 50 percent; etc.

A master plan outlines a detailed blueprint of strategic street developments designed to accommodate best pedestrians and vehicles alike, including public transportation, bicycle, telecommunications, and wetlands preservation measures as well as new waterways that capture irrigation or stormwater management needs.

Terrapin assisted the master plan development by helping prepare Holy Rosary Church (located in Capitol Crossing’s Center Block) for building by designing its future building utilities, below-grade services, structural transitions, building core and vertical transportation layouts, and complex clash detection. To do this, close collaboration between architect Skidmore Owens Merrill, structural engineer LERA, and lead civil engineering firm STV was required.

The Buildings

An impressive three-block office, residential, and 70,000 sq ft retail complex located at the core of Washington DC with air rights above I-395 to create an ecologically sound platform is home to this groundbreaking state-of-the-art complex — setting new benchmarks in urban design, infrastructure planning, and economic growth.

Capitol Crossing’s goal was to restore connectivity in downtown DC after I-395 construction caused three block-long gaps to form during its 1969 completion, reconnecting pedestrian destinations. Located on a 7-acre highway-spanning platform, it features two office buildings, six restaurants/retail spaces/cafes/bars/hotel, and rehabilitation of Holy Rosary Church and Adas Israel Synagogue that had to move due to I-395’s construction – two historic pieces which contributed to more vibrant, walkable downtown DC.

Jeffrey Sussman, CEO and developer of Capitol Crossing for Property Group Partners, wanted an office building that would quickly attract white-collar firms that often pay premium rents – while at the same time being LEED Platinum certified – and that met that criteria.

BBB assisted him in reaching this goal, helping create a design that both respected the historical surroundings of its historic neighbors while meeting modern tenants’ requirements for efficient floor layouts. Our team created an elegant jewel box-like building featuring bronze-colored grid infill with canted canted glass panels; its playful facade served as a striking counterpoint against larger scale buildings clad with taut curtain wall facades; becoming an icon in Capitol Crossing development and neighborhood.

At Capitol Crossing, we collaborated closely with architects on developing a comprehensive approach to sustainability across all buildings at Capitol Crossing. Office buildings at the complex are LEED Platinum certified, while residential towers were created to be WELL certified. In addition, several office buildings feature large exterior sunshades which combined with energy-saving mechanical systems can reduce energy usage by over 20%.

Capitol Crossing’s commercial and residential towers are connected by lush garden promenades that warmly welcome visitors at the development. We used regionally appropriate native plants in our landscape design to give it an authentic feeling and to reduce energy use with eco-chimneys embedded into each tower to regulate temperature control and air flow and reduce energy use further.

The Community

Balfour Beatty’s project earned LEED Platinum certification and received worldwide acclaim thanks to its use of innovative energy-saving features like EcoChimneys composed of large plants to filter garage exhaust, as well as a cogeneration system that generates both heat and electricity simultaneously. Furthermore, there are rooftop green areas, water recapture systems, and even a greenhouse which produces fresh food for tenants living within its walls.

Capitol Crossing will consist of a three-block platform elevated above the I-395 highway that connects DC’s East End and Capitol Hill neighborhoods, offering over one million square feet of office space, retail, and a hotel. When completed, Capitol Crossing will span nearly 3 acres.

BBB has served as Capitol Crossing’s project engineer from its conception, providing planning and PUD entitlement services, construction engineering, infrastructure design, architecture, and interior services for L’Enfant’s plan as well as infrastructure design for Capitol Crossing. BBB designed several key contributions, including redesigning the portal at 3rd and F Streets NW to improve traffic flows while creating a pedestrian-friendly environment while upholding L’Enfant’s original right-of-way width and profile; additionally they designed The Center Block: an anchor 200,000 sq ft office building connected by an elevated shared podium which anchors all aspects of Capitol Crossing development as it creates the new Central Business District within Downtown Washington Dc.

Sussman has made his mark on the District with projects like 1101 New York Avenue (which attracted Ernst & Young and sold for an unprecedented price), and 1301 Pennsylvania Ave NW, where law firm Fried Frank have their new offices. Now he is spearheading an effort to revitalize the District economy with Capitol Crossing: an office campus on an elevated platform of seven acres that will reunite long-separated downtown districts and fulfill Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for our nation’s capital city.

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