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Ballston’s Former Science Haven Is Becoming Community-Driven Workspace

Ballston Exchange

The Ballston headquarters of the National Science Foundation is a place where researchers studied the most pressing issues of the day, from artificial intelligence and human behavior to environmental science.

When the NSF decided to move its headquarters to Alexandria in 2017, the company that took over the building, Atlanta-based Jamestown, wanted to create an equally awe-inspiring space, moving the focus from science to sustainability and community.  

Ballston Exchange is a mixed-use development consisting of two adjacent office buildings offering over 772K SF of office and retail space in the heart of Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. Completed in 2019, the development is the first office building in Virginia to attain LEED Silver certification under the v4 Rating System and features a full-service conference center, event spaces and coworking space.  

“The Ballston area is dedicated to research and higher education: 85% of the Ballston population has a college degree and 48% holds an advanced degree,” said Mark Witschorik, senior vice president for the Mid-Atlantic at Jamestown Asset Management. “We wanted to create a development that celebrates this, that focuses not only on beautiful spaces but on some of the things that matter most: health, wellness and sustainability.”  

Ballston Exchange

To complete the renovation, Jamestown brought in STUDIOS Architecture and Davis Construction. Sustainability, health and wellness were all taken into account from the very beginning.

Witschorik said the team took a “low life-cycle impact” approach to the project, meaning they chose design elements that can easily adapt to shifting demands over the life span of the building, limiting the need for future construction. These elements include flexible common area spaces and floors that can be connected, subdivided or shifted depending on tenants’ needs. Jamestown also chose sustainable building materials whenever possible.

Jamestown has an environmental management system in place to track environmental performance data across its portfolio. For Ballston Exchange, the firm set specific sustainability goals to reduce consumption of energy, water and waste creation through active property management and engaging with tenants to teach them about best practices. 

Ballston Exchange

Along with an extensive exterior renovation, the team completed a building addition, interior design changes for all public amenity and lobby spaces and a major overhaul of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Jamestown also remodeled Ballston Exchange’s large, 12-story atrium, a public space featuring shared workspaces and large windows to allow for an abundance of natural light.  

Witschorik said that along with sustainability, another main goal for the project was to create open, active spaces where the community could connect. Ballston Exchange’s two buildings are connected by the Paseo, an outdoor area accessible to the public that features storefronts, dining patios, ample seating, lush plants and an innovative irrigation system designed to help save water.  

Ballston Exchange’s other amenities include dry cleaning services, secured fiber optic internet access, a fitness center with private locker rooms and showers, discounted memberships to nearby gyms and on-site fitness options from CorePower Yoga and Orangetheory Fitness. There is also on-site parking with electric vehicle charging stations and a bike room.  

Additionally, the building features a private entrance for tenants, which Witschorik said creates a “building within a building” feel that is not possible to find anywhere else in the area. 

Ballston Exchange

“Ballston Exchange really is the center of the commercial core of Northern Virginia,” he said. “It has the in-place, direct, multimodal transportation access and has the sole 200K-plus SF availability in the R-B corridor.” 

Retail tenants of the property include CAVA, Philz Coffee, We, The Pizza, MyEyeDr. and Shake Shack. In 2021, Ballston will welcome new tenants including Hawkers, Farmbird and El Rey. 

Ballston Exchange is located less than a mile from Marymount University, the George Washington Arlington Campus and the Virginia Tech Research Center. It is directly connected to the Ballston Metro station by a pedestrian bridge to Ballston Quarter, a $350M redevelopment of the former Ballston Common Mall, which includes new residential units, retail, restaurants and a 25K SF food hall. 

Witschorik said that Jamestown is excited to be a part of this vibrant, changing area and plans to engage with the community through Ballston Exchange whenever possible.    

“We plan to partner with local organizations to host lecture series, social gatherings and our own unique slate of community events,” Witschorik said. “We want this to be an engaging, dynamic place for years to come.”  

This article was produced in collaboration between Jamestown Properties and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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