Yesterday spirits were high as Washington, D.C. city leaders broke ground for Constitution Square in NoMa. Then later in the day, we found out about the death of local construction industry icon Ralph “Whitie” Hubert. Read on to find out more.
NoMa’s Constitution Square Breaks Ground in Washington, D.C.
1.6 Million SF Development to Include Hilton Garden Inn
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2008 — Ground was broken today for the first phase of Constitution Square in the NoMa (north of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Developer StonebridgeCarras announced that the first phase of Constitution Square, recently selected for a 521,000 square foot lease for the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), also will include a 204-room Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) joined the development team and other invited guests for the groundbreaking ceremony. The first phase of Constitution Square, scheduled to deliver in 2010, will total 1.6 million SF of mixed-use space located adjacent to the New York Avenue Metro station at First and M Streets, N.E., and will comprise:
- One Constitution Square, with 340,000 square feet of speculative office space;
- Two Constitution Square, with 589,000 square feet of Class A office space, of which 521,000 SF is pre-leased to the US General Services Administration (GSA) for the DoJ;
- A 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store; and 30,000 square feet of additional retail space;
- A residential building with 440 apartment units; and
- A 204-key Hilton Garden Inn Hotel to be owned and operated by an affiliate of OTO Development of Spartanburg, SC, including meeting facilities and a restaurant open seven days a week.
“Today’s groundbreaking for Constitution Square marks an exciting time for our company,” commented StonebridgeCarras Principal Doug Firstenberg. “We’re very proud to be an integral part of the transformation of NoMa and look forward to the completion of this booming mixed-use environment bringing all components – office, retail, residential and hotel – to one location. With its dramatic architecture, sustainable qualities, superior access and abundant amenities, Constitution Square will become a landmark location, providing an extremely positive impact on the entire neighborhood.” Constitution Square is a joint development of affiliates of StonebridgeCarras of Bethesda, MD and Walton Street Capital of Chicago, IL. Darian LeBlanc, Zeke Dodson and Mark Sullivan of Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers’ Washington, D.C. office are spearheading the leasing and marketing for the office portion of the project, which was designed by HOK Architects of Washington, D.C. to achieve the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. JBG Rosenfeld Retail of Chevy Chase, MD is the leasing agent for Constitution Square’s retail space. The residential building, grocery store, and hotel were designed by SK&I Architectural Design Group of Washington, D.C. “NoMa is no longer emerging,” noted Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “This groundbreaking marks the realization of the District’s vision for a truly mixed-use community. The location of a major federal agency, a Harris Teeter grocery store, a Hilton hotel, and new residences at a single project in a single phase is beyond our expectations.” “We have been working to bring a Hilton Garden Inn to Constitution Square so we could be a part of this tremendous neighborhood,” stated Corry Oakes, CEO of OTO Development. “This is our first hotel in the District, and we hope and expect to develop more in the future.” “This exciting new project will be a centerpiece for the mixed-used development in this booming new neighborhood,” added D.C. Council member Wells. “Today’s groundbreaking — connecting transit, housing, office, and retail amenities like Harris Teeter — turns the shovels for new opportunities in NoMa and the communities surrounding it.”
“Constitution Square is a seminal project for NoMa,” said Elizabeth Price, President of the NoMa Business Improvement District. “It brings together office, residential, hotel, and retail uses, all adjacent to the New York Avenue Metro station. The recently announced Harris Teeter is the foundation for a new, dynamic neighborhood in the heart of our great city. The size and scale of this project, over 1.6 million square feet, speaks to the momentum and confidence in the NoMa market.” For more information, see www.nomabid.org.
Hubert Construction Founder Ralph J. “Whitie” Hubert DiesIndustry Icon Also Co-Founded Tarara Winery in Virginia
Ralph J. “Whitie” Hubert, 83, founder and chairman of Gaithersburg, Maryland- based Hubert Construction, LLC and co-owner of Tarara Winery LLC, passed away at his home in Leesburg, Virginia on April 7, 2008. He had prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Whitie was born in Avon Lake, Ohio in 1924 and was raised on a fruit farm that included a vineyard. He attended college at Bowling Green University before joining the Marines during War World II. Following his military service, during which he participated in several Pacific amphibious landings, he attended John Carroll University for a year before transferring to Catholic University, where he was a wrestling champion and the University football team quarterback. It was there that he received his nickname “Whitie “ from a football coach who had trouble remembering his name and identified him by his light blond hair. Between his junior and senior years of college, Whitie took a bicycle trip from Paris over the Alps to Rome. Returning to the U.S. in 1949, he met his future wife Margaret on the English Channel. He graduated Catholic University with an Architectural Engineering degree in 1950 and married Margaret in 1951 in Washington, D.C. Whitie has been an icon in the Washington, D.C. area construction industry for over 40 years. With just $1,000 in start-up capital in 1959, following the birth of his fifth child, he founded Glen Construction Co. Inc. with then-partner Frank Darcey. In 1969, he bought out his partner and began building a reputation as one of the metropolitan area’s largest contractors. For several years, Glen was included in Engineering News Record’s list of the top 100 contractors in the nation. By the 1980’s, Glen was building over two million square feet of commercial space per year, including many of the area’s landmark buildings such as the J.T.L. Tycon Towers office building in Tyson’s Corner and the Radisson Mark Plaza in Alexandria. During this time, he served as President of the Metropolitan Washington Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and was National President and Fellow of the American Institute of Constructors. In the late 1990’s, Whitie reduced his involvement in Glen Construction and sold his interest to his son, Michael Hubert. In 1998, realizing that he missed working in the construction industry, Whitie founded Hubert Construction, LLC. In 2002, he won the DC Metropolitan Subcontractors’ Association Pinnacle Award for lifetime achievement in the building and construction industry. Whitie believed that working in the construction field was a “great sport.” He was proud of the “Glen Graduates,” many of whom started their construction careers with him and went on to positions of industry leadership. They shared a camaraderie and set of ethics unique to the construction industry. Known for his energy, integrity, and intense “type A” personality, Whitie often would say after a heated exchange: “I’m not mad at you.”
Like many World War II veterans, Whitie developed an interest in flying. He received his pilot’s license and owned several airplanes, one of which met its demise in a crash landing. Whitie managed to walk away from that crash and from m
ultiple other moving vehicle incidets, some of which he left while the vehicles were on fire. Friends and family learned that it was better to be Whitie’s driver than his passenger, even while riding in a golf cart. ultiple other moving vehicle incidets, some of which he left while the vehicles were on fire. Friends and family learned that it was better to be Whitie’s driver than his passenger, even while riding in a golf cart.
In 1985, Whitie and his wife Margaret bought a 475-acre farm on the Potomac River in Loudoun County, Virginia and named it Tarara. There they built a home and winery, planting 50 acres of grapes, fruit trees, and nursery stock. They opened Tarara’s tasting room in 1989. Whitie was actively involved with the Virginia Wineries Association, encouraging state support of Virginia’s nascent wine industry, which is now the nation’s fifth largest. Tarara Winery today is one of Virginia’s most recognized destination wineries. It became Whitie’s “sandbox” for an unending series of projects that precluded a slow-paced retirement. With Tarara, Whitie returned to his Ohio roots, living a life focused on family, farming, and growing grapes for wine.