The Central Agency Building
In 2014, MRJ Constructors completed the renovation and seismic upgrades of the Central Agency Building. The project was designed by Babienko Architects and developed by Central Agency LLC group. MRJ was involved during the early design phase of the project and worked with the project team to create cost effective, efficient and fun tenant spaces for future neighborhood restaurants and retail tenants.
The building is located at 952 East Seneca in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and was originally built in 1918 as an auto showroom. In 1986, it was converted to a file storage facility and during that renovation, many of the original architectural features were hidden and modified. The challenge was to bring back the building's original character. Removing the metal clad siding and replacing all the windows immediately transformed this building from a dark storage warehouse into a bright and open space.
The project scope included new foundation work, new shear walls & brace frames, repair of existing structural concrete walls, reconfiguration of the floors to allow an open concept for tenants, added common area corridors, new restrooms and stairwells, new roof insulation, new roofing and sheet-metal, new mechanical and electrical services to the building along with exterior facade upgrades.
The most prominent feature of the building was its original full span old-growth timber trusses and 2x6 laminated car-decking roof structure. Architectural and asbestos sandblasting revealed the original beauty of the exposed structure and car decking. This, coupled with the addition of large skylights, only increased the natural light and feel of the tenant spaces.
Demolishing portions of the second-floor structure allowed an "open air" feel and brought in more natural light to all the future tenant spaces. MRJ removed two 20' x 60' sections of the existing upper floor on both ends of the building to form high ceiling bays. The floor structures were then re-framed to connect the upper mezzanine to the main floor. All the demolished material was salvaged and re-purposed for new architectural finishes throughout the building. New structural steel brace frames were installed on each end of the building.
In the lobby, old growth beams were salvaged from the floor demolition and reused as part of the interior storefront glazing system. MRJ craftsmen custom-built the glass storefront system utilizing the salvaged beams for the bottom sill and salvaged car decking material as window stops and trim. This storefront divides the tenant spaces from the common lobby area, while maintaining the open and airy design of the building. New custom steel guardrails and re-purposed original 2x6 car decking material was used to build the new ADA ramps and steps in the lobby.