expertise > Repositioning
Eaton House a repositioned historic building


The repositioning of an existing building is an increasingly popular strategic approach to adding significant value to a given property - whether the intention is to retain or attract new tenants or accommodate different uses. According to the 2022 AIA Firm Survey Report, 48% of the profession’s current design work involves the reconstruction of existing buildings, reflecting a substantial increase from 34% in 2005. Compared to new construction, the repositioning of existing projects can be more attractive to building owners and developers for not only their potential to achieve sustainable decarbonization goals but also for offering shorter permitting and project delivery times as well as minimizing disruption to the neighborhood. In reimaging an existing building, potential considerations can include engaging an expanded audience, modernization of its design and infrastructure, and providing alternative uses for currently inactive spaces.

As post-pandemic city centers evolve and begin to redefine themselves, existing assets can be repositioned to ideally be more suited to the specific urban fabric of their neighborhood. Expanding the uses or amenities of a building or creating adjacencies that complement each other are potential opportunities to create dynamic and active urban environments. For example, incorporating a healthcare center with a healthy-focused juice bar, wellness studio or gym creates a well-rounded destination. This diversity of uses fosters an animated and lively community and expands the site’s social activity level throughout the entire day and week.

Built campus allows for mobility and recreation

Buildings designed 50 or 100 years ago, while still sound, are often unable to meet the demands of the technological expectations of the modern tenant. Personal mobility and seamless access to technology are priorities in creating a modernized building to work, live and play. Design that encourages wellness and movement through open stairs, integrated greenspace and access to daylight are key interventions to providing healthy and inviting interior environments. The efficient modernization of infrastructure, mechanical systems and enclosure can augment indoor air quality and user comfort while assuring the building’s resilience and financial viability for generations.

The recent efforts to augment access to public transit, secure bike lanes, pedestrian-only streets and urban densification has begun to alleviate car traffic in cities across the country. With this cultural shift, parking areas within buildings have become underutilized spaces that can be optimally repurposed for modern uses. For owners and developers, the innovative repurposing of these parking areas can potentially accommodate immersive media spaces, data centers or new tenant amenities. Bike hubs, commuter lockers, concierge services, or ride-share drop-offs can be integrated into the arrival and departure experiences of these refreshed buildings to support the expectations of the next-generation of commuters.

Biker commutes in Kendall Square
Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

The joint venture of Rockefeller Group and Stonebridge today joined Clark Construction and their building crews to celebrate the topping out of 600 Fifth Street NW, the only new office building under construction in Washington, D.C. that is set to deliver over the next two years.

The 400,000-square-foot building, which is 50 percent pre-leased, is taking shape on the site of the former eight-story Metro headquarters. Stonebridge and Rockefeller Group completed a 99-year ground lease with Metro in June 2023, and immediately broke ground on the $375 million project. 

The redesign was planned by the international design architect Pickard Chilton.

“600 Fifth Street delivers a compelling next-generation workplace while contributing to the vitality of this great city,” added Jon Pickard, FAIA, Principal at Pickard Chilton.

Read more at Morningstar 

Northwestern Mutual’s $500 million renovation of the North Office building has surpassed local business and resident contracting goals, according to a quarterly report written in April.

Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt are leading interior and exterior renovations for the 540,000-square-foot North Office to mirror the Tower and Commons. Both buildings are on the insurance company’s campus in downtown Milwaukee. The project includes new connecting structures and a pedestrian plaza on Cass Street.

Read more at DailyReporter 

Proposed entry to 1633 Broadway, a multi-family development

While fully remote work has declined from its pandemic high, millions of Americans are still working where they live and vice-versa. So, how does this affect the strategies and designs for new product?

Today, it’s an open secret that all new multifamily developments incorporate, in some form or another, a remote work-focused arrangement. In fact, some developers in space-starved markets where it is not possible to build large common areas have gone as far as including dedicated glass-paneled office spaces within units themselves.

As developers contemplate office-to-multifamily conversions in markets, architects are presented with unique design opportunities. These include the design of larger, multifunctional units and the incorporation of dedicated studies within the apartment design. This approach not only optimizes the use of space but also enhances the overall architectural design, making each unit more functional and aesthetically pleasing.

“If you are working with some of these older buildings, there are these extra pockets of space that give you the opportunity to incorporate a study type space or something else that could be used to work from home,” explained Michael Hensley, a principal at Pickard Chilton.

Read more at Multi-Housing News 

Since October, Gilbane Building Co. and CG Schmidt crews have demolished and recycled office fixtures floor after floor of Northwestern Mutual’s 18-story North Office in downtown Milwaukee. They set the groundwork for outside renovations, a step in the $500 million transformation slated to open in 2027.

With a massive project comes a long list of partners; Connecticut-based Pickard Chilton, which designed the Tower and Commons, is the design architect for the North Office. Kendall/Heaton Associates is the architect of record.

Read more at Daily Reporter 

Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

The Washington, D.C., office market has continued to slow down throughout last year, as construction starts slightly decreased when compared to 2022. However, developers completed significantly more projects in 2023.

The largest project to commence construction in 2023 is the redevelopment of 600 Fifth, a 400,000-square-foot office building. A joint venture between Rockefeller Group and Stonebridge began the development process in June.

Read more at Commercial Search 

Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

In the largest new lease of the year, international law firm Crowell & Moring inked a 15-year, 198,877-square-foot lease to anchor half of 600 Fifth Street NW, a $300 million redevelopment of the former headquarters of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The redevelopment is a joint venture between the Rockefeller Group and Stonebridge.

Designed by Pickard Chilton, the redevelopment will add three stories to the current property to make it an 11-story, 399,617-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail. 

Read more at Commercial Observer 

Northwestern Mutual today held a kickoff celebration with the Milwaukee community for its $500 million North Office Building Modernization project. The North Office Building, located at 818 East Mason Street in downtown Milwaukee, will be transformed to expand the company's world-class workplace and employee experience.  

Read more at Northwestern Mutual 

Pickard Chilton’s designs have contributed to the revitalization of historic neighborhoods through a number of thoughtful repositioning projects. From our inaugural adaptive-reuse of Eaton House in Dublin, Ireland, to our work in Düsseldorf, Germany with Le Coeur in the bustling Königsallee district, and our contributions to the fabric of Washington DC with 600 Fifth Street, we have honed the art of drawing inspiration from the surrounding architectural landscape to revitalize these structures.

The repositioning of a building is a strategic approach to add significant value to the property’s current value whether the intention is to retain tenants, recruit new tenants, and attract new users. Compared to new construction, repositioning projects can be more attractive to developers for the potential of sustainable decarbonization design goals, in addition to offering shorter project delivery times and disruption to the neighborhood. Considerations when reimaging an existing structure can include engaging an expanded audience, design for modernization and providing alternatives for inactive parking space.

Ample outdoor spaces designed by Pickard Chilton architects

Rockefeller Group and Stonebridge have begun construction on 600 Fifth, a 400,000-square-foot redevelopment office project in Washington, D.C. The groundbreaking marks the closing of a 99-year ground lease with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro), which remains the ground lessor of the property.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive 


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