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How L.F. Jennings Built Local Motors’ Car Dealership of the Future


Famed for their quickly made, highly customizable vehicles, Local Motors set the world ablaze by manufacturing road-ready 3D-printed cars, and their new facility at the National Harbor will use a printer to demonstrate how the world's first 3D-printed car will be made..

The 20k SF, interior fit-out project will also be used to showcase the company’s high-performance off-road vehicles, vintage racing motorcycles and motorized bike and drift trikes. For Bisnow partner L.F. JenningsJeff Black, the state-of-the-art renovation was a way to show that they can build anything—yes, anything—not just the suburban office interiors and shopping centers the company is known for. 

The construction company is working with architecture firm Bignell Watkins Hasser to create a space that will not only feature a lab that can help produce and research these vehicles, but also a showroom and a drift track from the second to first floor that customers can use to test the Verrado, Local Motor’s drift trike.

The project has been anything but simple: “There’s countless issues that we had during the upfront design process,” Jeff says. “Where we’re building the space is an issue in itself because above it is a hotel. We had major sound constraint issues, height restrictions (since these printing machines are 15 feet tall), and we even had weight restrictions on slab from vibration of the printer. We also had to create a new exterior opening to get the printer into the building.”


But Jeff says that Bignell Watkins Hasser, Local Motors and the L.F. Jennings team were in pre-construction discussions for months to understand Local Motors’ needs, consider the logistics of the project and even to discuss how technology would change in the future. What happens, for example, if the printer technology got smaller, as it did during the process?  

“Even during the process, the printer changed size and it got smaller," Jeff says. "So the technology got better for this use, but we still had to consider the huge power requirement, the ventilation requirements had to be thoroughly designed to handle the heat loads of the printer.”

But this foresight, knowledge, skill and ability to communicate were some of the reasons L.F. Jennings were brought on in the first place. Jeff says the Peterson Cos wanted to work with a general contractor they could count on. 

“We have the knowledge and the experience, and we’re not just stuck in one niche. We have the talent to build anything.”

Local Motors is slated to open in early 2016. To learn more about our Bisnow partner, click here.