All-glass facades create opportunity for local contractor

A family-owned local contractor has worked its way back from the recession by riding a new obsession in commercial real estate: buildings with all-glass facades.

TSI Exterior Wall Systems, based in Upper Marlboro, has specialized in the design and installation of building exteriors since its founding in 1977, and has worked on major local projects, including the construction of FedEx Field and Nationals Park.In its best year ever, during the real estate boom, TSI did $71 million in business, all of it between Northern Virginia and Baltimore.

Commercial construction is returning slowly, but the projects that have begun share a universal similarity — they are being drawn up with more glass than those designed 10 or even five years ago. Architects frequently unveil new office designs with glass from floor to ceiling.

“People are looking for more glass, more opening, more natural sunlight,” said owner Pete Cornellier, whose father, Vic, founded the company. “Glass performance has also come a long way ... so you can still insulate the building well, which was always a concern in the past.”

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600450 All-glass facades create opportunity for local contractor

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