Square 54 on track to be complete by early 2011

University officials said last week the Square 54 complex across from the GW Hospital is on track to be open for occupancy by early 2011, after its construction began last spring.

Earlier this year, project organizers predicted that Boston Properties, the site’s developer, would “reach the bottom of the hole” in their excavation of the site by the end of the calendar year.

“To date, they have reached the full depth of the excavation in many areas and continue to be on schedule for meeting this milestone,” said Alicia O’Neil, GW’s associate vice president for real estate.

The building is slated to include a grocery store, 84,000 square feet of retail space, apartments and commercial office space.

The controlled blasting at the site will also soon come to an end. The blasting drew various complaints from neighbors who, aside from the nuisance of the blasting, suspected it was causing ruptures in their gas pipes.

Boston Properties assured nearby residents that the blasting was “conducted under tightly controlled conditions by highly experienced and qualified personnel” and that representatives from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Police Department and GW, as well as a vibration monitoring consultant, were on site to monitor the blasts.

Construction on the development’s above-ground structure is slated to begin in fall 2009.

Jake Stroman, project manager for Boston Properties, said they are in the process of looking for tenants to lease available spaces. He expects several law firms and a much-anticipated grocery store.

The goal of the Square 54 project was to bolster non-enrollment revenue while “enhancing the unique urban campus experience for students,” according to a statement from GW’s Office of Government, International and Community Relations.

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