Executives from D.C.-based developer Akridge, investment partner Rockwood Capital, County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Councilmembers and business representatives cut the ribbon on Tuesday at Bethesda’s first new Class A office building since 2001.
Akridge and Rockwood purchased the vacant building from the General Services Administration for $12.5 million via an online auction in 2010. The company then set about replacing everything but the concrete, Akridge President Matthew Klein said, in an effort to make the building LEED Gold certified.
“We essentially recycled an entire office building,” Klein said.
Akridge recycled 50 percent of the demolition debris and used more than more than 20 percent recycled content in the rebuild, which includes large panes of glass on the west and north sides of the 120,000-square-foot building that stands less than a block from the Bethesda Metro station.
The 10-story building was built in 1964 and was once home to offices of the National Institutes of Health. It was vacant for more than eight years before the GSA put it up for auction.
Earlier this month, an Akridge spokesperson said none of the building had yet been leased, though the developer is confident in the interest the building has received so far.
For Leggett and the County Councilmembers in attendance (Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac), Nancy Floreen (D-At large), George Leventhal (D-At large) and Hans Riemer (D-At large)) the appeal of a rare new Class A office building in downtown Bethesda was obvious.
“We see that we’ve brought more vitality back to Bethesda to add to the ambience and the atmosphere that already exists here,” Leggett said. “This is the first of what I hope to be many Class A office buildings that will continue to be in the Bethesda area.”
In November, County officials celebrated the groundbreaking for construction on a 220,000-square-foot Class A office building at 4500 East-West Highway, on the former site of a McDonald’s.
“We are proud of every aspect of what this means for our community: Class A office space, smart growth, a good urban feel. The architecture in my judgement in our county is not what I aspire for it to be and I am so grateful that we have this kind of urban feel to this spot in particular,” Berliner said. “I think obviously the sustainability aspect of your project matters. We want this to be an example of what every new building in Montgomery County ought to be.”