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Mickey Leland Federal Building Renovation


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Has anyone posted about this?

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http://www.gilbaneco.com/uploadedFiles/Home/Gilbane/News_and_Events/Publications/2010/GSA_Brochure.pdf

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The Federal Office Building project will include complete recladding of the exterior skin, a new pedestrian-friendly plaza, as well as new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
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Mickey Leeland Federal Building by marclongoria, on Flickr   Mickey Leeland Federal Building by marclongoria, on Flickr   Mickey Leeland Federal Building by marclongoria, on Flickr   Micke

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry I'm super-late with this. RdlR Architects actually posted these images to the HAIF Twitter feed on March 14th, but I didn't follow up on them. Sorry again.

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Another reason to follow the HAIF Twitter feed.

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  • 1 month later...
Sorry I'm super-late with this. RdlR Architects actually posted these images...
Thanks for the images.

I worked in the building in the past and I'm about to return there for the next 4-plus years. A couple of thoughts -

The main change depicted is a bump-out of the first floor towards Louisiana. That's been needed for a long, long time. Immediately after the Murrah building in OKC was bombed, all federal buildings above a certain size that didn't already have them got metal detectors. The problem is that there's no room for them on the first floor. They're wedged in there as best they can be, I suppose, but the whole first floor flows horribly.

As an aside, when the guard station went in, they also locked the Smith street doors and put a security fence on the loading dock. Some of us were pretty put off by the changes. It appeared that in an emergency the entire building population would be forced through an ~8-foot wide choke point behind the guard station. Management told us that was silly; in the event of an emergency or drill, the Smith doors and the loading dock fence would open. Sure enough, at the first fire drill, the loading dock stayed closed. (Not a big deal; it wasn't an official fire exit, anyway.) Also, the Smith doors stayed locked. In fact, they locked down even harder; the big, red emergency exit button next to the doors failed to function and the electric locks failed to open. It was a huge traffic jam. Half the building occupants had official directions to evacuate via those doors yet the guards were yelling at the crowd to turn around and go the other way. Complete gridlock. Evacuees were backed up in the stairwells for multiple floors. Eventually, the entire building had to leave via that ~8-foot wide choke point behind the guard station.

I'm willing to bet those problems have never been resolved. Only a really big increase in floor space on the first floor will help and, thankfully, the images show exactly that.

The building has or had other problems, too. Lockmat mentioned recladding. I sure hope that means fixing the propensity of the building to let in rainwater via any wall facing the weather. The place leaked like a sieve when I worked there.

Also, it appears mechanical work is planned. I'll just be happy if they fix the freight elevator. When I was there, the doors on that thing closed if you tried to just block them open for more than about a few seconds. They were very strong; a strong man couldn't hold them back. And once they started moving, it didn't matter if they encountered resistance, if the vertical bars were hit, or if the light sensors were blocked. Those doors were going to close and destroy anything in the way, period. Interestingly, I tried to file a complaint with the city and they refused to take it saying they had no jurisdiction in a federal building. Neither the GSA nor the company managing the building would listen to a complaint because I wasn't an authorized user of the freight elevator. Even my union wouldn't listen; they said they'd fought that battle already and lost. I dunno. I'm no elevator expert. Maybe freight elevators aren't supposed to have any automatic safety features. I just know I didn't care to use it after I figured it out and demonstrated it to several co-workers.

Actually, I won't be happy with just fixing the freight elevator. The building has lots of other problems though sometimes they work out for the better. I really love the screwed-up aircon on hot days because I know one men's room where the temp is always under 60 degrees. That can make a great first stop when you come back from a long, hot walk to lunch in August. :)

Folks on this forum are (quite rightfully) concerned with how things look and the cosmetic improvements to the building are a great idea. But I'll be happy if they just make the building *work*.

One qualification to all the above - I haven't worked full time in that building in nearly a decade. But I have worked there a week or two at a time every few months in the intervening years. So some things may have been fixed that I'm not cognizant of. I doubt it but it's possible.

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Is this the building? If so I've already got a pretty good "before" picture (and a good view of it from my roof). I guess they haven't done anything yet, but when they do I'll post some more photos.

skylineis.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Last week when I went buy it, the sign showed a sort of blue/silver end product. Bit more more modern looking than the faded brown.

My question is I know a lot of the concerns with federal buildiings, etc is security - what are they doing/can they do with the Smith Street side? It is right up against the sidewalk there with no setback - seems insecure for a government building - they are usually hiding behind a big plaza protected from vehicles, etc.

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The new exterior looks like it will be a sleek & refreshing update, however the original look was not really all that bad, similar to surrounding neighbors (also not bad).

I assume there must have been some functional need (beyond aesthetics) for the complete recladding, especially for a government building (e.g. structural deficiencies, stronger security, environmental efficiencies)

Has that been explained?

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