The family businesses that build and develop government property in Washington DC are an elite club, one whose members frequently have proven track records going back decades, if not a century or more. These legacy builders have directly and indirectly shaped some of the US Government’s most prized buildings and the current family members like Frank Haney are continuing those traditions today.
So when visiting DC, these are the family stories behind some of the landmarks you may see.
US Coast Guard Headquarters
Around 2004, the US Coast Guard began looking for new headquarters after it was determined that it would be more cost effective to move it into a permanent, government-owned facility than to continue leasing offices at the Fairpoint Building. Clark Construction, one of the more prominent civil construction companies in the United States, was chosen to build the new headquarters with funding coming from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It was completed in 2013, and is just one of hundreds of federal and mixed-use commercial buildings developed and built by Clark Construction.
Portals Office Complex
The Portals Office Complex, which houses the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) office is one of the largest projects completed by the Frank Haney Company. Frank Haney is known for its creative and strategic acquisitions, and the Portals Office Complex is one of the largest projects they have ever undertaken. It is a multi-million dollar waterfront investment and one of the last major urban investment projects to take place in Southwest DC. The Portals has 1.8 million sf of office space, 125,000 sf retail and restaurant, as well as a performing arts center, a health and fitness center, a spa, and the 400-room Oriental Hotel.
US Holocaust Museum
While he was not the builder, Albert “Sonny” Abramson is a name forever linked to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The long-time DC real estate developer and founder of Tower Companies became the chair of the building and development committees for the U.S. Holocaust Museum and was a major player in getting the museum completed and its mission fulfilled. It was a project that spanned many presidencies. The idea started during Jimmy Carter’s President’s Commission on the Holocaust, and Ronald Reagan was there when the first brick was laid down. Bill Clinton spoke alongside author and holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel and other celebrities at its dedication in 1993, and the Dalai Lama was the first visitor to enter its doors.