New eNews, April 2004
Enews ----- April 2004 ------ Issue 19
"Every increment of construction must be made in such a way as to heal the city… it must create a continuous structure of wholes around itself."
– Christopher Alexander
To GSA’s Federal and Community Partners:
This Enews highlights activities across the country that show how GSA projects and properties can bring multiple returns to communities and our federal agency clients - when we work together. Please share your feedback and input. Your good ideas will help others.
Thanks for your support!
REGIONAL NEWS SITES & DESIGNS
New Seattle Courthouse: A Model of Neighborhood-Friendly Design
In June 2004, GSA’s Northwest/Arctic region will open a new federal courthouse in downtown Seattle’s rapidly developing mixed-use Denny Triangle neighborhood. The 615,000 SF courthouse will make the most of its neighborhood location by offering a high quality cafe with a separate public entrance, an expansive public plaza, outdoor seating, and public art. GSA also worked with local transit officials to accommodate a full block of bus stops alongside the plaza. Inside the courthouse, artwork commissioned under GSA’s Art in Architecture program is accessible to the public, outside the building’s security stations. Similarly, the building’s grand lobbies were designed for maximum flexibility to allow for easy management of after-hours public use. GSA’s newest courthouse sets an outstanding example for how the U.S. Courts program can meet security needs while creating a better place for federal agencies and their neighbors. Contact: Alan Miller, (253) 931-7142.
New Neighbors for Denver’s LoDo
On March 31st, GSA’s Rocky Mountain Region hosted an open house to invite community comment on a planned new regional office building for the EPA in downtown Denver. As part of the project, GSA would lease a new 230,000 SF building, to be built on the site of a former postal processing facility. The building would be in an exciting neighborhood at the southern end of the 16th Street Transit Mall in the vibrant LoDo district. A key feature at the building’s base: retail storefronts would bring the building closer to the street, while contributing to area amenities. Since the building would be privately owned, it will be subject to local design review. The recent open house was part of an ongoing environmental assessment. Beyond the requirements of the EA, GSA is collecting additional comments regarding neighborhood conditions, amenities, and visions via a custom web survey. GSA hopes to that the results of the survey can help to inform the EPA development and its neighbors. Meanwhile, GSA is reviewing multiple proposals for the project, with plans to award the lease by August. Contact: Janet Preisser, (303) 236-7131 x 248.
GSA Selects Developer for $800 Million Mixed Use Project
On January 30, 2004, GSA’s National Capital Region selected a private sector team to develop the 42-acre Southeast Federal Center site, located on the west bank of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. Although final details remain to be negotiated with the developers, led by Forest City Washington, Inc. of Bethesda, MD, the development is expected to accommodate 6,000 residents and more than 6,000 workers, creating a vibrant new waterfront neighborhood. It will include retail and cultural uses as well as a 5-acre riverside park. The estimated total build-out value exceeds $800 million. GSA’s unprecedented decision to pursue a mixed-use development for the federally owned site was made possible by the Southeast Federal Center Public/Private Development Act of 2000, introduced in Congress by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. For additional background information visit the NCR Southeast Federal Center web page. Contact: Thomas Otto, (202) 205-3054.
GSA Celebrates New Home for IRS in Ogden UT
On January 22nd, GSA’s Rocky Mountain Region hosted a grand opening for the IRS and their neighbors in the IRS’s new downtown Ogden home. GSA’s lease renovated the historic Scowcroft Building, which had been vacant for 50 years, and it added a beautiful new 10,000 SF street front café. The idea for building the separate public café building had come from a community workshop that GSA held for the project in 2002. The renovated Scowcroft building provides new office space for IRS while the Junction City Café provides high quality dining for an IRS complex – and the whole neighborhood. As you might have noted from a previous Enews, this was the second new IRS facility in downtown Ogden. Last year, GSA completed the adjacent Twin Rivers Complex, a leased development that renovated another 30,000 SF historic building and created a modern new 90,000 SF office building. Together, these two build-to-suit lease projects have brought more than 1,500 new workers to downtown. They are helping to revitalize downtown Ogden while providing a wonderful new neighborhood to IRS. GSA recently recognized project manager Tammy Eatough for her creative work on the project with a 2004 GSA Project Management Award. This is a project for all of us to learn from. Contact: Cara Hoevet, (303) 236-7478.
Historic Post Office Will Bring 4,000 Workers to Downtown Kansas City
In January, the IRS officially agreed to become the anchor tenant of a $370 million redevelopment of the old Main Post Office in Kansas City, MO. Although the concept of consolidating IRS operations into the post office had gained Congressional approval in April 2003, the complexity of the project required lengthy negotiations between GSA’s Heartland Region and the developer, DST Realty. The 27.5-acre project will consolidate regional IRS offices and bring 4,000 full-time and 2,000 seasonal jobs into downtown. The development will include the reuse of the historic post office and construction of three two-story office annexes, with parking for 3,800 cars. The project will be done in phases, with final completion planned for January 2007. As Senator Kit Bond notes, "This is a tremendous example of federal, state, local and private-sector people coming together." Contact: Jim Ogden, (816) 926-7217.
Adaptive Reuse of Old Post Office in St. Louis
Update - GSA’s Heartland Region anticipates transferring title of the Old Post Office in St. Louis to the Missouri Development Finance Board in FY 2004. The renovated 120-year-old National Historic Landmark will house the Missouri State Court of Appeals and a downtown campus for Webster University. The estimated cost of the redevelopment is approximately $43 million. (See the Historic Federal Buildings Database for details about the Old Post Office building). Contact: Jim Ogden, (816) 926-7217.
Albuquerque Federal Building to Become Charter School
GSA’s Greater Southwest Region is working closely with officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to facilitate the outlease of a historic federal building to the Amy Biehl Charter High School. GSA’s testimony before the City Council helped facilitate changes to a local ordinance in order to allow the use of the building location for a school. When completed, the project will preserve the historic federal building, provide low cost space for the school, and support downtown revitalization efforts. The Biehl school will be Albuquerque’s first new urban high school in 30 years. Fittingly, the school challenges all of its students to “apply and demonstrate skills and knowledge and to analyze and address community needs.” Its motto: ‘Courage, Scholarship, Community.’ Contact: Harold Hebert, (817) 978-4660.
GSA Selects Developer for Old Federal Courthouse in Kansas City
Update - Last year, GSA’s Heartland Region selected Metropolitan Enterprise Center, represented by Zimmer Real Estate Services, Inc., to redevelop the historic U.S. Courthouse located at 811 Grand Boulevard in downtown Kansas City, MO. The courthouse will be leased to the developer under Section 111 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1976, which makes proceeds available to support reinvestment in GSA historic properties. Continuing its long history of public service, the redeveloped federal building will house local economic development, cultural, and educational institutions. Contact: Jim Ogden, (816) 926-7217.
Theatre Company to Bring New Life to a Historic Facade in DC
The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC is planning to build its new 30,000 square foot home behind a historic façade given to them by GSA. The theatre is part of a large privately owned multi-use development that is being completed on the last of several GSA-administered parcels dating from the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation. GSA saved the façade from a previous demolition and put it in storage hoping for this type of opportunity. As theatre artistic director Howard Shalwitz notes, the new building is “for the artists, for the audience, for the community.” Contact: Thomas Otto, (202) 205-3054.
GSA’s Great Lakes Region Helps Preserve Historic Courthouse
In 2003, the U.S. Postal Service agreed to transfer ownership of a historic federal courthouse in Terre Haute, Indiana to Indiana State University (ISU). GSA will renovate the courthouse with $2 million in funds already appropriated to GSA for the renovation of the building. GSA will work closely with ISU during the course of the renovation to ensure that the art deco character of the building, including the stately courtroom and its murals, will be preserved. Contact: Michael Czosnyka, (312) 353-0595.
REGIONAL NEWS COLLABORATION WITH CLIENTS & COMMUNITIES
GSA Signs New BID Contracts in Southeast
On January 1, 2004, GSA’s Southeast Sunbelt region awarded one-year contracts to 10 business improvement districts (BID) under GSA's Good Neighbor Program. As elsewhere around the country, these Southeast contracts purchase BID services where the services have been determined to support the morale, health, safety, mission, and welfare of downtown federal communities. GSA renewed eight existing contracts in Memphis, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Birmingham, Tampa, Louisville, Jackson (MS), and Columbus (GA). GSA established new contracts in Jacksonville FL and Columbia SC. Contact George McGrady, (404) 331-0081.
It’s Official: Federal Courthouse in Texas is a ‘Beauty Spot’
In December, GSA’s Greater Southwest region received the Beautify Corpus Christi Association’s Beauty Spot Award for the federal courthouse there. GSA Property Manager Dana Olson accepted the award, given in recognition of exceptional landscaping. The Association called the courthouse, which was completed in early 2001, "a landmark building that represents the integrity of the United States and the Federal Court System with pride and classic style." Beautify Corpus Christi Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes enhancing the outdoor environment through clean-up and anti-litter programs and beautification projects. Contact: Dana Olson, (361) 888-3330.
GSA Teams Up With BID in Norfolk, Virginia
In November, GSA’s Mid-Atlantic Region signed a new services contract with the Downtown Norfolk Council. The contract provides cleaning services to the area around the federal building, which is in a prominent location in Norfolk’s newly revitalized Granby Street corridor. The Council has played a leading role in the improvements. GSA’s property manager, Tim Hile, found that the contract would provide services that improve the surrounding environment for client agencies at a price that is fair and reasonable. Moreover, the contract discussions between the Council and GSA also lead to enhanced coordination on broader downtown issues. As the Council’s Executive Director, Cathy Coleman, notes, “Federal building security officers and our own security personnel are working together much better now, sharing information. As valuable as our contract with GSA is, this type of coordination is just as important for keeping the neighborhood a great place to do business.” Contact: Tim Hile, (757) 641-6914.
GSA and Ft. Myers Partner to Make a Space into a Place
In Ft. Myers FL, GSA’s Southeast Region and First Street Associates, Ltd. recently signed a license agreement to promote the public use of a courtyard at the new U.S. Courthouse. The agreement enables the creation of a doorway between the courtyard and the Kress Building, a historic retail/restaurant building owned by First Street Associates. Public use of the courtyard supports local retail development goals, while bringing a regular audience to view the courtyard’s historic mural, which was commissioned under GSA’s Art-in-Architecture program. The project is expected to be completed this summer. Contact: Teressia Blair, (404) 331-7775.
REGIONAL NEWS ACTIVE PUBLIC BUILDINGS
Code Orange Doesn’t Stop the Party
Update - GSA’s popular ‘Party in the Plaza’ series at the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse took place again this past summer, despite elevated security alerts in its opening week. The Syracuse UpDowntowners have produced the concert event every Wednesday night in the summertime for the past 19 years. It has become the group’s main fundraiser for its philanthropic work and a community institution. During the Code Orange alert, close teamwork between the UpDowntowners, the Department of Homeland Security, and Syracuse Police allowed the parties to roll on. As UpDowntowners’ president Bill Cooper notes, "This makes or breaks businesses in downtown Syracuse, it's like another weekend night." This year’s Party will begin again in May. Contact: Don Kottl, (315) 448-0956.
Another Sure Sign of Summer? The Ronald Reagan Building
Update - As it has for several years, the Ronald Reagan Building’s Woodrow Wilson Plaza will soon come alive again for summer. Every weekday from late-June through mid-September, LIVE! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza brings some of the region’s best entertainment to lunchtime in Washington DC, featuring a mix of music, dance, comedy, poetry, and theatre. Visitors and area employees alike take in the entertainment, visit the Building’s bustling food court, and set up for prime people watching at (Michael) Jordan’s restaurant, which overlooks the plaza. Contact: Thomas Otto, (202) 205-3054.
Percival the Pink Punctuates Federal Building in Atlanta
A historic exhibit at the Sam Nunn Federal Center has added a large pink pig to the center’s list of tenants. Percival the Pink Pig, once part of a local children’s ride, is a beloved highlight of an exhibit that showcases the colorful history of the former Rich’s department store, now part of the federal center. GSA Southeast Sunbelt Region Associate Jeffrey Jensen spearheaded the project along with 11 other graduate students from Georgia State University’s program in heritage preservation. The National Council on Public History recently recognized the exhibit as a 2004 Student Project award winner. Contact: Teressia Blair, (404) 331-7775.
Kansas City Federal Building Hosts New Farmers Market
GSA’s Heartland Region recently welcomed the return of a weekly farmers market to the Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City. The market, which is run in conjunction with USDA-Ag Marketing Service and the Missouri State Agriculture Department, is open to the public and benefits the thousands of federal employees at the complex too. Contact: Jim Ogden, (816) 926-7217.
GSA Lands Big Catch for Boston Courthouse
Last year, GSA’s New England Region celebrated the opening of the Daily Catch Restaurant in the John J. Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston’s Seaport District. The locally owned restaurant is a great amenity for the courthouse and its open public entrance make it a great place for everyone to dine along the water. As New England Regional Administrator Dennis Smith noted at the opening, its location and public access will “invite the public to make greater use of the waterfront…to support the efforts of the Commonwealth and the National Park Service to keep the waterfront accessible.” Contact: Patrick Sclafani, (617) 428-2019.
“A hundred years after we are gone and forgotten,
those who never heard of us will be living with
the results of our actions.”
- Oliver Wendell Homes