Central Place Observation Deck

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To develop a program plan which will result in a favorable visitor experience and profitable business, a wide variety of planning assumptions must be developed and clearly understood and consensus must be gained among stakeholders. For the Central Place Observation Deck, ORCA developed a comprehensive plan for completing and operating the venue. The management and programming plan developed by ORCA not only provided the project architect and designers with guidelines for completing their plans, but was accepted at public hearings with very few comments or changes.

The Central Place Observation Deck is being developed for public use atop an office building in Rosslyn, Virginia. The Observation Deck, with its 360° view of Washington, DC and the surrounding area and historical exhibits, is positioned to become one of the major public tourist attractions for Arlington County. The project developer, JBG, contracted ORCA to develop a plan for the venue that would describe how the venue should be laid out and operated and produce a Management & Programming Plan which could be reviewed at public hearings and submitted to Arlington County for approval.
As a foundation for the plan, ORCA reviewed existing documents, site plan conditions, goals, code issues and restrictions, and identified the issues and parameters for recommendations to be addressed in the plan. The plan ORCA developed detailed:

  • Attendance design factors based on estimated attendance space requirements which ensured adequate visitor capacity and circulation requirements for facility spaces including:
    • Exhibit areas
    • Vertical transportation;
    • Restrooms;
    • Transportation and Parking; and
    • Back-of-house (maintenance, office, employee) areas.
  • Preliminary operating schedules.
  • Layouts and equipment and operating recommendations for project areas including:
    • Security screening;
    • Admissions control (Ticketing and Access Control); and
    • Occupancy tracking.
    • Exhibit areas (excluding exhibit/content design); and
    • Entry and Lobby.
  • Recommended operating procedures, preliminary staffing plans, and recommended equipment and supplies to support operations based on industry "best practice" guidelines and project constraints.
  • Draft position descriptions and a recommended training plan (including schedule, budget and training materials recommendations).
  • Recommendations for potential revenue opportunities such as facility rental for private events.
  • Estimated pre-opening and stabilized year operating labor and expense budgets.

In addition to developing the plan, ORCA met with key project stakeholders to coordinate and clarify operational and programming requirements and facilitate consensus.

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