Manhattan Construction Co. won a $108.8 million firm-fixed price contract to build a planned Operations Complex at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in Arlington, Va. 

The Arlington, Va.-based firm—which beat four competitors for the bid released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District—is expected to start the project this summer and finish in June 2027. 

The Operations Complex will house the cemetery's interment operations, facility maintenance, cemetery operations, security, and engineering teams in a 21,800-sq-ft office building. The complex will also contain a three-story, 260-space parking structure and a 21,000-sq-ft maintenance building with six repair bays with shops for welding, carpentry, and plumbing/electrical operations. A 26,400 sq ft warehouse, 14,000-sq-ft storage facility and a 60-vehicle motor pool will also be located at the complex.
"The new Operations Complex will modernize our cemetery operations by providing new office space, dedicated shipping and storage, updated trade shops, and enhance fleet maintenance capabilities," said Col. Tom Austin, ANC's director of engineering.

The Operations Complex site is on the 8.5-acre South Parcel, and it is separated from the main 37-acre Southern Expansion area by the realigned Columbia Pike to its north. According to Austin, the new facility’s location "will maximize our contiguous burial space by moving these needed cemetery operations and maintenance activities away from the interior of the cemetery and onto an otherwise unusable parcel of land."
The Operations Complex is Phase II of ANC's three-phase Southern Expansion plan. Nearing completion by Kokosing Construction Co., Phase I included the addition of three retaining walls bordering the expansion area, a tunnel underneath Columbia Pike connecting the Operations Complex to the area, and mass excavation and site preparation for Phases II and III. ANC expects Phase I to be completed in early 2024.
Phase III will transform the main 37-acre expansion site, formerly containing the Old Navy Annex, into 10 new burial sections housing up to 80,000 additional interment sites including four new columbarium courts. It will also feature a pedestrian access point allowing visitor entry into the cemetery from Columbia Pike and will fully incorporate the towering Air Force Memorial into the cemetery. Solicitation for Phase III is expected to begin in Summer 2024.

Austin said the project team's biggest design challenge was integrating the functional architecture of the Operations Complex with the solemn dignity of the nearby burial sections and the adjacent Air Force Memorial. “We did that by excavating down nearly 30 ft so that the tallest buildings on the site would be below the existing grade," he said. "This greatly reduced the visual impact of the new structures, allowed unobstructed sight lines into the cemetery, and still maintained the overall functionality of the site.”
In 1998, the Arlington National Cemetery Master Plan identified the need to expand the cemetery due to the facility projecting maximum interment capacity by 2041. Since then, multiple construction projects have been undertaken, including the Millennium Project, a finalist for ENR MidAtlantic's 2019 Best Projects Project of the Year and a Best-level winner in the Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development category.

The rerouting of Columbia Pike, which previously cut through the Southern Expansion area, is expected to conclude in 2025. 

The cemetery has been in service since 1861 during the American Civil War and saw its first interment in 1864. The current 639-acre site is the resting place to more than 400,000 deceased active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. The cemetery is also home to iconic U.S. landmarks such as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and performs over 3,000 services and memorials every year.