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  • Giuliana Kunkel

It’s All about Location - Arena Stage and the Southwest Waterfront

For the second year in a row, USGBC National Capital Region is excited to be hosting its annual A Midsummer Night’s Green at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. This event is the premier summer social for the DC green building community. Arena Stage’s location in the Southwest waterfront, a neighborhood that is quickly evolving into one of the District’s most exciting new areas, as well as the venue’s history, makes it the perfect location for hosting this event.

Arena Stage is a not-for-profit theater, and was one of first of its kind in the United States, known for being a pioneer of the Regional Theater Movement. Each year, Arena Stage welcomes more than 300,000 audience members through its doors to enjoy productions in its three theaters.

Established in 1950, the theater company’s location in Southwest Waterfront was originally constructed in 1960. More recently, the complex underwent a major two-year $135 million renovation pioneered by the team of Bing Thom Architects and Fast + Epp consulting engineers. Through the renovation, the team designed the main columns for the building while leaving the two larger theaters, The Fichlandler Stage and the Kreeger Theater, largely untouched. The theaters’ connecting structures were demolished and are now surrounded by a glass curtain wall and incorporated into a larger building. Additionally, the renovation included the construction of the Kogod Cradle Theater, where USGBC-NCR will be holding its annual awards for the second year in a row. Following this renovation, Arena Stage has become the second largest performing arts center in the District, following the Kennedy Center.

For the past three years, the team at Arena Stage has watched as across the street the city’s largest new development, dubbed The Wharf, has come together, led by the development team of PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette. Not only is this development the largest in the city, it is one of the largest along the East Coast, encompassing over a mile of shoreline and 24,000 acres of space. Opening ceremonies for Phase I of this project are planned for this October. Phase I will include new apartment towers and condos, hotels, piers, restaurants, and a 6,000-seat concert venue. Plans for Phase II of this project were just submitted earlier this year and have proposed an additional 1.2 million square feet of new buildings.

Image provided by The Wharf.

While new development is nothing new to the District and its surrounding areas, something unique about The Wharf is that the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront group has committed to building the Wharf with sustainability in mind, in order to develop the neighborhood into a lasting waterfront community. The entire Wharf development has been designed to achieve LEED® ND Gold, and individual buildings are designed to achieve LEED Gold or Silver. The project includes public parks and piers to encourage the surrounding community to enjoy the waterfront. Also, the development will include multiple forms of on-site sustainable energy production including a cogeneration plant and solar PV systems.

USGBC-NCR is excited to be hosting this year’s event again at Arena Stage and in a neighborhood that so many in the green building and the commercial real estate community have looked forward to seeing evolve over the past three years. This year’s event is taking place on Thursday, July 20th. We hope that you’ll join us! If interested in event sponsorship opportunities or in purchasing tickets for this year’s event, please visit our website.

Giuls Kunkel is one of the Co-Chairs of the USGBC-NCR’s Midsummer Night’s Green event committee and is also an Account Manager at the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, serving DC’s commercial real estate and multifamily markets.

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