Berman Enterprises – New Carrollton Project

Berman Enterprises is designing its two-building apartment project to promote social interactions among residents.

By Tim O’Connor

Transit-oriented development is one of the hottest trends in building today. Berman Enterprises believes it has the perfect mix of suburban living and regional access with its latest project, The Remy, a $165 million mixed-use development in Prince George’s Country, Md., just east of Washington, D.C.

The transit options available to residents are one of the most appealing aspects of the location. In addition to the New Carrollton train station, the site sits near the intersection of I-495 and the John Hanson Highway. “[Residents will] have access to all of D.C. plus the whole mid-Atlantic, East Coast corridor from this site,” Partner Kevin Berman says.

Berman Enterprises is acting as the developer and general contractor for the project, but the work involves much of the local construction industry. “We provide the coordination for the general contracting and we sub out all the trades,” Berman says. Subcontractor work is predominately being awarded to businesses in the Prince George’s County area. “We like working with local contractors,” Berman explains. “We like working with people who are from the area.”

When choosing which subcontractors to work with, Berman Enterprises values commitment to quality, the ability to understand the project and relationship-based interaction. The goal is for that initial interaction to lead to repeat jobs. “We’re long-term owners,” Berman says. “We look for subs who are looking out for us. Not just the quick fix to get something done, but the long-term solution.” berman box

The bidding process and plan review are where the company identifies subcontractors it believes have the potential for lasting relationships. “We’re all on the same page, we all have expectations as to how it’s going to get built and we all work on those expectations together,” Berman says.

Whether the contractor is asked to return for the next job depends on more than the end-result. They have to demonstrate they can live up to Berman Enterprises’ quality and safety standards. Berman wants to work with subcontractors that understand that no single project is more important than someone’s safety. “As the general contractor, we’re always pushing our subs to follow the safe way to get things done,” he says.

Modern Living

The Remy is a two-building project that will be built over two phases. The first building will have 278 units, and the second – which does not yet have a final design – will include around 225 units. A garage that sits between the two buildings began construction last November.

The project is the second stretch of development for Berman Enterprises in the area. The company recently completed a four-story office building that is the new headquarters for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The headquarters building acted as a catalyst for growth in the area. “The state and county came together trying to encourage new development around the New Carrollton Station,” Berman says.

Site work on The Remy project began at the same time as the Maryland DHCD headquarters and footers began being poured in May. As of August, about a quarter of the wood frame for the first building had been erected. Other areas of the site were still pouring footers and slab, while sections further along  were installing mechanical and electrical systems. The first building is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017, with the second building coming 18 to 24 months later.

The structure is four stories tall, but will actually have eight levels because it sits on the side of a hill. The site has a 30-foot change in grade from the roadside to the back of the property, an elevation difference that created several design and construction challenges. The first-floor slab in one part of the build acts as the third-floor slab in other areas, for example. “We had to really step the building up the hill as you go from the road up to the top,” Berman says.

Creating Community

The Remy is designed as luxury apartments with quality finishings and overloaded with amenities. Those amenities fit into Berman Enterprises’ goal of creating communities within its developments. Even the design plays into encouraging those social networks to form among residents.

Shared spaces within the building, such as the bar areas with TV, are laid out so that people feel comfortable sitting down and plugging in their laptops. The rooftop decks will feature community tables and a resort-style pool where residents can enjoy the sun alone or with a group. Berman Enterprises also plans for a fitness room, movie room, courtyards and outside door area.

The bulk of the two buildings will be for apartment living, but the more than 70,000 square feet of retail space – 20,000 for the first building – will further contribute to that community feel.

Berman Enterprises is always looking for opportunities in its projects, whether they are a construction decision that results in better quality for tenants or how it manages the property after the building is open. Many of those decisions come during the design and project planning phase, which is why the company strives to involve its subcontractors in decisions as soon as possible. On The Remy, some subcontractors were involved before anything was even put to paper, while most came on board after the first few rounds of permitting.

But Berman believes the company can do even better on future developments. “The next project we will definitely pursue that earlier,” he says.

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