How to Move an 880-Ton Building

by Lark Turner

How to Move an 880-Ton Building: Figure 1
The completed project, which will incorporate 13 buildings that contribute to the Mt. Vernon Square Historic District.

A massive office and retail redevelopment planned for the triangle-shaped block adjacent to the Convention Center will begin the trickiest phase of construction this month: Moving an 880-ton historic carriage warehouse just 35 feet.

The project from Douglas Development at 655 New York Avenue NW (map) will include 420,000 square feet of retail and office space, with about 71,000 of that going to retail uses. But constructing the 10-story building, which will include more than 300 underground parking spaces, is complicated: Thirteen of the buildings on the block are designated historic and require special attention from the developer.

To that end, DAVIS Construction is charged with relocating two of the buildings, which would otherwise be marooned in the middle of the planned project. They’ll be repositioned to sit next to their turn-of-the-century peers. The 880-ton carriage warehouse at 639 New York Avenue, which is moving this month, will be relocated east of the site, where the new building will eventually cantilever over its roof. An 1,100-ton warehouse at 632 L Street NW, which will be moved late this summer, will be placed on the west end of the site.

“It allows us to consolidate the site,” said Joe Baker, the senior project manager for the move. “Otherwise we have these two structures in the middle of the excavation, which is not feasible.”

The team first had to get the building ready to move by repointing the mortar joints in the brick and constructing a steel latticework to further support the structure. To begin the moving process, two large steel beams, which sit on cribbing or wood blocks, are run underneath the building, Baker explained. The steel beams contain hydraulic jacks that, when operated, can slowly separate the building from its foundation walls.

Once the building moves away from the foundation, it’s raised six feet above the ground. Then the building will be rolled on a rail using a hydraulic beam. The process moves the building just five feet at a time…slowly.

“That five feet doesn’t go very fast,” Baker told UrbanTurf.

The move alone will take two to three days and will start later this week. The project is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2018.

See other articles related to: mt. vernon square, douglas development, davis construction

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_to_move_an_880-ton_building/9757

1 Comment

  1. Marcio Wilges said at 6:19 am on Tuesday November 24, 2015:
    I thought they were talking hypothetically or theoretically about moving the building, or getting office movers in to move the things in the building, but to lift the whole thing off the floor?

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »