The Citron Apartments, a five-level, four-building residential complex located in Silver Spring, Md., illustrates the cost-effective use of wood-frame construction for commercial developments. The 222-unit apartment complex, which features 31 affordable housing units, earned LEED-Silver certification.

Using high-density wood-frame construction brought significant cost savings, according to the project team. However, it also provided some challenges.

For instance, the apartment complex, which featured a brick exterior, included two curved elements located at prominent corner elevations. The contractors' challenge was to build the desired architectural curve while maximizing the size of the interior units and allowing for the water-tight, secure installation of the components. To do so, crews constructed segmented framing that achieved the required curve yet supported flat windows. The builders also used curved lintels above the windows to carry the brick.

Early on, unforeseen underground conditions—including previously unidentified foundations, caissons and piers—and numerous rain delays combined to add 60 days to the construction schedule. But because such a delay would have affected the owner's planned leasing schedule, the team scrambled to create a new construction plan.

First, Foulger-Pratt Contracting resequenced the project, putting an emphasis on getting large sections of the building readied for major trades and thereby supporting a speedy transition to the finish trades. The contractor also sequenced concrete pours so that crews could top out each of four building sections in two-week intervals. In the end, despite the early hurdles, contractors were able to complete the $30-million project ahead of schedule.

Citron was originally designed to be LEED-certified but, instead, was constructed to LEED-Silver standards. Some of the factors that helped achieve the Silver rating included the project team's procuring more than 20% of building materials from within the region, recycling more than 75% of construction waste and purchasing wind-energy credits.


Citron Apartments, Silver Spring, Md.

Key Players

Owner Argo Investment Co.

Developer Foulger-Pratt Development

Architect SK&I Architectural Design Group

General Contractor Foulger-Pratt Contracting

Structural Engineer Ehlert Bryan

Civil Engineer Vika Maryland

MEP Engineer Allen & Shariff

Interior Design Carlyn and Co.

Subcontractors AMA Construction Co.; Breeden Heating and Air; Calvert Masonry; C&G Carpentry Services; Colonial Electric; J.W. & Sons; MidAtlantic Air; Ruppert Landscape and Steele Foundation