Downtown Bethesda landmark Air Rights Center is not only getting a new name (Bethesda Crossing - and "Air Rights" has already been rubbed off of signage around the complex, as you can see in the photos below this article), but a major series of renovations over the next 22 months. If you work in the building, visit on business, or live nearby, here are 6 things to know about this major work:
1. NOISY NIGHTS AHEAD
The longest renovation project is the complete replacement of the West Tower window systems.
A construction contractor asked the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection for a Temporary Noise Waiver for nighttime work on this project.
Beginning any night this week, and lasting until February 28, 2014 (!), crews will be replacing windows. They will start on the rear of the building, then move counterclockwise around the West Tower. Windows and the central pillars of each will be removed, and replaced with a double-insulated window system.
Once all windows have been replaced (by January 2014), the contractor will update the building's facade with a more modern surface. Workers will have to remove personal items from each office area as work is done.
The same work will be done on the East Tower at night, and is scheduled to begin October 26.
2. RESTROOM RENOVATIONS
Restrooms on even-numbered floors of the West Tower are currently being renovated, according to MRP Realty. Later this month, odd-numbered floors will get their turn. Those seeking a restroom during renovations will have to go to the next floor above or below. Restroom renovations are scheduled to conclude by Christmas Eve.
Similar work is also underway in the East Tower, but is expected to end about 10 days earlier than the West Tower.
3. GOING UP?
Elevator cabs in the West Tower will get new interiors, two cars at a time. During that work, those cars will be out of service. Building management advises budgeting more elevator wait time for yourself and your visitors/clients/patients. This work will end on November 15, 2013.
Again, the East Tower will get new cab interiors as well, but only one cab will be out of service at a time there.
4. PLEASE GO AROUND THE SIDE
The main lobby and entrance are being - guess what? - renovated (see the photos below). A new lobby design will feature stone flooring, wood paneling and new lighting. Revolving and ADA-compliant doors will be part of the new contemporary entrance design. Although this work is also being done at night, the East Lobby entrance by Cardinal Bank will have to be used. And elevators will not access the Lobby between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM (but stairs will). Elevators will go to the garage 24 hours a day.
5. THROUGH THE ROOF
The North Tower is getting substantially a new roof. Workers will replace the roof membrane, insulation, ballast, assembly and aircraft warning lights. This work will proceed during business hours, and conclude by Halloween.
6. VALET IN A SPRAY
Garage levels G5, G4, and G3 are scheduled to be closed through New Year's Eve. You can still access the building from G3 by Kiko's Shoe Shine stand.
Valet parking may be utilized at times during the closure, and management says it will put extra staff in the garage to assist finding spaces. Nevertheless, they advise allowing extra time for parking.
Finally, that name? It's foreign to us Bethesda natives, but Bethesda Crossing is appropriate. Wisconsin Avenue is actually a bridge along that block, where it crossed over the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
Renderings courtesy MGMA, All Rights Reserved. Photos: Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row.