Commercial Real Estate
Potomac River in Washington, D.C.
Overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., the Portals I & II buildings comprise more than 1 million square feet of commercial class A office space. These two properties are connected by a common courtyard with over 125,000 square feet of retail and office space lined with fabric awnings. Any time a contractor must work in a center city environment on a project that extends multiple days, they must plan carefully and execute precisely. When hundreds of office and retail tenants are expecting services on a specific date and time, property managers are not necessarily interested in why something didn’t get done as planned; they are more interested in getting it right the first time.
The Portals tenant mix created a true challenge due to the abundance of retail tenants and the awnings covering retail entrances. One area of concern was that access to each retail store during normal retail operating hours was required; common law states that contractors must barricade drop zones beneath work being done overhead. In addition, the buildings have many roofline features such as cornices, arches, and balconies that cause window cleaners additional time in the rigging of equipment and overall time in completing a vertical drop.
It is standard procedure for Valcourt to analyze our client’s tenants and the building’s complexities in order to develop a schedule that meets the tenants’ needs, but does not jeopardize our operational efficiencies and safety. Valcourt determined that the best work plan was centered on limiting the amount of time a storefront had barricades impeding traffic in and out of the store. So the Valcourt plan included placing a ground person solely dedicated to moving barricades into and out of position when necessary to protect retail customers. This tactic has proven to be a major comforting factor regarding tenants’ concerns over losing business while their windows are being cleaned. This also facilitated retail tenant and pedestrian communication before, during, and after overhead window and awning cleaning had taken place. In addition, Valcourt increased the staff at the jobsite to three work crews to reduce the overall work completion time and possible disruptions for tenants.
“Valcourt displayed a tremendous amount of expertise in analyzing the retail tenant mix at Portals I and II. Their experience was evident in their development of an operational plan that provided our retail tenants with the peace of mind that their business operations would not be disturbed during the window washing and awning cleaning services.” — GEORGE CANTRELL, VICE PRESIDENT AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PROPERTY SERVICES, REPUBLIC PROPERTIES