There is an engineering feat underway on Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest D.C. right now.
Developers converting the former Fannie Mae headquarters into a Wegmans-anchored mixed-use development called City Ridge are in the process of replacing the entire foundation underneath the existing 60-plus-year-old building to make way for the Wegmans grocery store.
“We are holding the building up while we are doing it,” Roadside Development’s Richard Lake told WTOP.
“We are really jacking it up just millimeters so we can basically take the old columns off the old pile caps, and then we pour new pile caps and columns and we load the building back on to the new foundation,” Lake said. “It sounds easy. It’s not.”
Despite its recognizable brick, the building is actually steel structure with a concrete foundation and a brick facade, making the engineering maneuver possible, but Roadside still had four separate engineering firms sign off on the plan before the work started.
Roadside is co-developing the property with partner North American Sekisui House LLC.
Wegmans will be on the back side of the renovated main building, where the existing lower level opens, not facing Wisconsin Avenue. That is by design.
“It allows us now to use Wegmans as our walk-out basement, so to speak, and it will face into a whole new town square,” Lake said.
“That allows us to activate, energize and attract other retailers, office users and residential.”
Wegmans plans to open in spring 2022. The entire, $640 million mixed-use development will open between spring and fall of 2022.
As of now, the 10-acre property is expected to include hundreds of residential units and office space in an additional seven new buildings being built around the main square.
It is still unclear how Roadside will ultimately repurpose the redeveloped main building, other than Wegmans.
“We’ve been looking at multiple different uses, a hotel, residential, office. We hope that we’ll be announcing the user soon for that building, but we’re not quite ready yet,” Lake said.