2100 Penn construction disrupts sleep, study schedules, students say

Media Credit: Camille DeSanto | Assistant Photo Editor

The building has been under construction since 2019 and is expected to be completed early next year.

Construction work at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. is close to wrapping up, but as the site passes its second year of hammering and drilling, students said they’re hoping for an accelerated finish to the project.

GW signed a nearly $200 million, 75-year lease with Boston Properties in 2019 to develop the site into a glass office complex with stores and restaurants, now slated to open as soon as this summer. But more than half a dozen students living in Lafayette Hall and District House say early-morning construction noises – which they say start as early as 5 a.m. – from the nearby site have disrupted their sleep schedules.

Sean Sullivan, the vice president for development at Boston Properties, said the company is not aware of any noise complaints from residents. He said company officials are in “close contact” with the University and are cooperating to confirm that construction is ongoing within permitted hours if complaints do arise.

“We work with our general contractor to ensure the construction activities stay within the noise levels and hours permitted by the city,” he said in an email. “The activities on our site are typical for a downtown construction project of this size.”

Sullivan said slower government utility inspections and construction material delivery delays caused minor setbacks to the project, but the completion timeline is still in line with the original projection of the first quarter of 2022.

“We have experienced some material delivery delays related to the ongoing disruption to the global supply chain, but we have overall fared better than some other projects in the region,” he said. “We did experience some delays early on in the project related to inspections from government agencies (they stopped visiting sites or reduced staff) but that process is now thankfully back to normal.”

Law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP signed a deal in 2017 agreeing to house its headquarters in the new building, which will account for about half of its square footage. Sullivan said they are aiming for “substantial completion” of the building in March or April, and locals may see stores and restaurants in the complex opening as soon as next summer.

“We are excited to be delivering 2100 Penn in the very near future and look forward to announcing new retail offerings for the surrounding neighborhood,” he said.

The building has been under construction since 2019, when Lafayette Hall residents initially lamented over disruptions to their sleep.

Students complained about construction noise coming from 2100 Penn disrupting their sleep and interfering with their class work throughout this semester.

Much of the building’s construction coincided with the pandemic, and Boston Properties obtained late-night work permits through last July in hopes of getting back on schedule while students were away from campus. But as students reoccupy nearby residence halls, they say the noise has remained a constant in the neighborhood.

Sophomore Maria Fugel, a fourth-floor District House resident, said morning construction noises can awake her as early as 5 a.m. as the clamor continues throughout the day, leaving her unable to fall back to sleep.

“It wakes me up on nights where I have a test or something important to do the next day, and that impacts my performance,” Fugel said.

Sophomore Dylan Lyman, who lives on the eighth floor of District, said he has awoken multiple times throughout the semester to the sound of work outside of the building.

“Construction noises, trucks and loud machinery usually wake me up an hour or two before I plan on waking up in the morning,” Lyman said. “It usually wakes me up around 8-ish or a little bit after.”

Sophomore Chris Cho, who lives on the fourth floor of District, said he has noticed intermittent periods of loud machinery and other construction-related noises.

“Hammering and machinery is super loud at random times throughout the day,” Cho said. “The District group chat every week or so complains about random hammering throughout the day or night.”

Some residents of Lafayette Hall, which is closer to the construction site, echoed the same concerns about construction noise, which interferes with their studies and early morning sleep. Freshman Penda Hott, who lives in Lafayette, said the noise has become excessive for her and her roommate.

“On a scale of one to 10, it’s 12,” Hott said. “It was awful. You could hear literally everything.”

Hott said she normally hears the construction start at around 7 a.m., which wakes her and her roommate up and makes it difficult to return to sleep.

“It felt like it was right there in front of our window – it’s like very early in the morning,” she said. “It’s every day.”

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