200 I Street, SE

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: November 2013
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exterior view of the Stonebridge office building

*2013 Sustainable Development Award Winner*

Fast Facts

Address: Washington, D.C.
Company/Developer: StonebridgeCarras
Project Specs: Retrofit/Major Renovation
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 405,000

Project History: The 200 I Street building went from a windowless eyesore to a state of the art, efficient, sustainable Class A office building, which is viewed from both a major commuter thoroughfare, Interstate 395, as well as the main street of the new Capital Riverfront neighborhood, M Street SE. The building had been unoccupied since its last use in 1998 by the Washington Post and prior to StonebridgeCarras, others had attempted to revitalize it before. Its many different types of structural systems, lack of mechanical systems and large floor plate made creative reuse difficult. The District’s long term lease on the existing building was also very unattractive.

StonebridgeCarras worked with the District’s Department of General Services to create a plan that would allow the District to acquire the existing warehouse and re-develop the building into an office building while saving the District significant money. In 2010, planning for the renovation by StonebridgeCarras and District of Columbia began in earnest with the creation of a public/private partnership to acquire, renovate and operate the building. Construction commenced in late 2010. In 2012 both the base building re-development and tenant interior construction were complete.

The $101 million project has resulted in a working environment that:

  • Achieved LEED Platinum for both Core & Shell and Interiors – the largest project in Washington to achieve both designations;
  • Creates a beautiful northern anchor to the newly opened Canal Park in one of the District’s “new” neighborhoods: the Capital Riverfront.
  • Is the home to the District’s Office of Chief Technology Officer, Office of Child and Family Services, Arts & Humanities and the Office of Motion Pictures;
  • Uses its lobby to showcase the District’s tremendous art collection; and
  • Saves the District significant funds over the prior lease structure and results in the District’s long term ownership of this re-developed asset.

Commitment to Sustainability

200 I Street is just one of many LEED Platinum projects in the StonebridgeCarras portfolio. Their firm has committed itself for many years to sustainable development. Sustainability starts by virtue of their core business: urban mixed-use developments. They then reach to achieve the highest sustainable environments possible with their product. The vast majority of their existing portfolio is LEED Platinum, including at 200 I Street. The 405,000-square-foot building has achieved both LEED Platinum C&S as well as LEED Platinum Interiors.

In StonebridgeCarras’ Constitution Square project in the NoMa area of Washington, D.C., all three core and shell office buildings, totaling 1.2 million square feet are LEED Platinum. Additionally, Constitution Square was awarded LEED pilot project for LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) and was one of the first projects in the country to be awarded LEED ND GOLD.

Beyond their LEED Platinum portfolio, StonebridgeCarras’ portfolio also includes LEED Certified, LEED Silver and LEED Gold projects. They strive to have every project in our portfolio reach its highest potential sustainability rating.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

The District had entered into a long-term lease for the building with the original vision of a new police headquarters. As this use was ultimately determined not to be feasible, the District was faced with annual rent in excess of $6.5 million for the building with no vision for a renovation, no funds for a renovation or tenant improvements and significant debt constraints, all during the financial crisis of 2008/2009. StonebridgeCarras created a vision for the re-development into the highest level of sustainable building inside and out, in addition to finding a solution to the more challenging issue of a financial plan to meet the very specific needs of the District. StonebridgeCarras was able to demonstrate to the District that during a period of significant budget cuts it was economically viable and advantageous to:

  • Exercise its purchase option of $85 million;
  • Enter into a lease-leaseback with StonebridgeCarras to ensure long term ownership of the building would revert to the District; and
  • Secure $101 million of bond type financing to complete the renovation of the building and build-out the space; Consolidate leases from third party leased space to support the costs of the leaseback.

All of which was accomplished without creating additional negative fiscal impact or debt ceiling limitations on the District’s budget. In essence, the District was able to eliminate the leasing costs for an empty industrial building into a long term asset all of which was accomplished without creating a negative fiscal impact or debt ceiling limitations – an extraordinarily important and challenging requirement during the time of the financial crisis and huge budget issues.

a tenant floor in the Stonebridge office building

Interior tenant floor

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • The project retained an incredible 76 percent of the building’s structural elements. The base building and tenant design expresses a sense of the original structure within its creative design due to the fact that the design used existing materials or matched existing materials to fully develop the design sense of the building. Being an industrial building in its first life, the floor to ceiling height for most of the building was about 13’, which is very high in the District of Columbia office market. The tenant design kept large areas of the office area with exposed ceilings, and exposed columns but also as noted in other sections allowed natural light to bleed much further into the building. Effectively, the design not only reused structure and materials, but the design highlighted and celebrated such use.
  • The project was also able to reuse/renovate systems in the building. The project renovated the two original elevators, reused the generator and maintained the majority of the existing roof system. Instead of removing and replacing the roof, the manufacturer agreed to extend the roof warranty. The contractor placed a new thin mil layer on top, to be used as both a reflective layer and the new mil layer under the green roof. This helped extend the warranty of the roof and achieve LEED points.
  • Main Lobby: As stated above the main lobby of 200 I Street replaced the former loading dock. The original loading dock for the printing facility had multiple levels to accommodate both the train spur and truck unloading. The multiple floor levels and linear effect of the facility were maintained while the area was transformed into the main lobby which serves as a public art exhibit area. Much of the original area and floor level variation was maintained in the renovation and actually accented in the art display area of the Lobby. The rhythm of the loading doors and vents were maintained, but replaced with storefront glass. The “industrial” feel of the lobby includes concrete floors, exposed ductwork, columns, ceiling beams and custom “industrial” lights.
  • Waste Diversion: Nearly 94 percent (or approximately 11,135 tons) of the construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfills to recycling and reclamation centers.
  • Recycled Content: The project achieved Exemplary Performance in the Recycled Content category with over 31 percent of the building materials and furniture made of recycled content. In addition, nearly 43 percent of the materials used on the project were regionally manufactured and over 16 percent were regionally harvested or extracted, helping promote local economies and businesses.
  • Harvested Tree: While the majority of existing street trees were protected during construction, one tree deemed by the project arborist to be removed was successfully harvested and made into wood planks for the office buildings interior café flooring.

Energy Efficiency

  • The building infrastructure was completely overhauled with new mechanical systems and electrical distribution. As the building had virtually no mechanical systems and lacked appropriate lighting, the design team had the ability to install energy efficient systems in the renovation. All the systems were installed with the goal of LEED Platinum rating, so very highly efficient systems were installed in the building. The new MPE systems are calculated to result in a greater than 15 percent cost savings for the building.
  • The HVAC systems were installed to comply with the efficiency requirements outlined in the Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide and they have been configured to heat and cool the building in zones. With the particularly large floor plate, the project installed three zones per floor for maximum efficiency as well as occupant comfort.
  • Light Transference: The façade fenestration responds to the need to extend light into the large footprint. For much of the façade the window system includes a standard ribbon window system and a “clerestory” layer of windows above. This clerestory design allowed for an economical and aesthetically pleasing solution to filter light farther in the floor plate.
  • Tenant Layout: The tenant layouts for the project kept energy efficiency in mind. Work stations are located on the exterior of the building layout, allowing for the greatest amount of light to be used for work as well as transferring the most light into the interior of the building. The design also create a “main street” spine in the center of the large 65,000 square foot floor plate where the central functions like conference rooms/break rooms/training and storage rooms are located. Given these rooms require different lighting or solid walls, they were placed along the main street in the center as opposed to being located on the exterior of the building.
  • Lighting Power Reduction: The building achieved over 23 percent lighting power reduction. This reduces the buildings overall energy consumption and reduces the strain on the HVAC systems during the Washington area hot summer months.
  • Energy Star: 100 percent of all appliances and new equipment purchased for the tenant are energy star rated.
  • The team also pursued enhanced commissioning to ensure the systems worked properly, and to the best of their ability before the tenants occupied the building. Our commissioning agent was on-site, working with the mechanical subcontractor through system startups, functional testing and owner’s training. While advanced commissioning is becoming more prevalent, the team felt it was especially important at 200 I given the focus on obtaining LEED Platinum status for both base building and tenant interiors. 
the main lobby of Stonebridge office building

Main lobby.

Water Efficiency

  • Water efficiency is critical in the District of Columbia, particularly due to the combined sanitary/sewer system and overflow issues current in the City’s water system. As it is now, the majority of both sanitary and storm water collect in a single distribution system and are treated at Blue Plains. In excess rains, overflow pipes send water/sewage combined out to the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. While the District implements plans to change this situation, they also encourage water efficient design with new projects.
  • A creative solution implemented for 200 I Street was the capture and “reuse” opportunity for excess storm water. While 200 I was under construction, a new park, called Canal Park was in the planning stages. Canal Park is the new “pocket park” for the Capital Riverfront area. It includes green space, hard scape areas, a restaurant kiosk and an ice skating rink. In the end, the 200 I Street project includes a diversion pipe for the excess rain water not captured by the green roof. The diverted water enters into an 80,000 gallon cistern at Canal Park for their use towards irrigation, fountains and the ice rink. The water not only assists in reducing water needs of the Canal Park, but also assists in reduction of water going into the storm water system in D.C.
  • Large Green Roof: The large, 65,000-square-foot floor plate allowed the rooftop to incorporate a green roof of over 32,000 square feet. This is the largest green roof on a District of Columbia building.
  • Water Reuse: The building utilizes a system for capturing condensate from the air conditioning system and uses it in flush fixtures in the restrooms which projects to save 325,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Low Flow Fixtures: Dual flush toilets, low flow faucets and low flow shower heads have all been installed to help reach an impressive 66.1 percent water savings.


  • The concept of reversing the loading dock and main entrance to the building provides the tenants and guests of 200 I Street with improved accessibility to the building. The main entrance moved to I Street so it is now immediately across from the new Canal Park and in closer proximity to the METRO rail station and the surrounding bus networks.
  • 200 I Street is within walking distance to several restaurants, the Washington Nationals Ball Park, Eastern Market, and service retailers, all of which promote community connectivity. This would not have been the case had the original lobby location been maintained. The real focus and “development” of the Capital Riverfront area is to the south of 200 I Street, therefore all the accessibility corridors and development are also focused in that direction.
  • One of the occupants of 200 I Street is the Child and Family Services Division (CFSA). This Agency works with and protects our most valued residents of D.C., our children. Given the sensitive nature of the work with this Agency, a separate, discrete and secure entrance was added to the building.
  • A notable design feature in the building is the large scale graphics incorporated to create both a visual impact and way-finding in this large building. The way-finding features are designed after Pierre L’Enfants master plan layout of D.C. – the building was divided into quadrants by NW, SW, NE and SE. This improves the movement through the building by the occupants.


  • The objective was simple but extremely challenging – create an outstanding work environment for the 21st Century on a cost effective basis. Specific challenges ranged from a full façade replacement, making 65,000 square foot floor plates an attractive workplace, replacing all building systems, being sustainable and creating a beautiful anchor for the development of Canal Park at a reasonable cost.
  • One of the greatest innovations in the building was to actually flip flop the loading dock and the main entrance to the building. As the previous printing plant the main entrance was small and faced an elevated highway to the north of the building. The previous loading dock area actually faced the newly constructed Canal Park and was only 2 ½ blocks from a Washington, D.C. METRO system station. In addition, the loading dock had architectural interest in its high ceilings and large openings for the former rail cars/trucks. In flipping the uses, the building maintained much of the character of the original loading dock and created an art museum for the wonderful collection of artwork owned by the District. The switch also provided better access to subway/bus systems in the neighborhood and oriented the building to correctly “face” the new neighborhood of Capital Riverfront/Ball Park.
  • The company set goals and found creative solutions with water efficiency, knowing that D.C. has existing infrastructure issues. They also established reuse opportunities for key materials and worked on the more general sustainability items such as recycling construction waste and recyclable material use. The team worked to diligently pursue innovative and efficient systems along with layout plans that maximized the choices and reduced operating expenses. Doing so ensured that the sustainable choices, whether highly innovative or just smart design lived on within the building for years to come in a cleaner, efficient and cost effective environment.