FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- With the turn of several ceremonial shovA,Aels, officials broke ground at the BRAG 133 site at Mark Center in Alexandria Tuesday. 'This is the last piece of the Fort Belvoir Base Realignment and Closure initiative,' said keynote speaker Michael Rhodes, the acting director of administration and manA,Aagement in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 'This site will be the home and place of duty for 6,400 military personnel, civilians and contractors, all of whom have dedicated their professional lives to serving this nation with the Department of Defense.' The BRAG 133 project involves the reloA,Acation of various DoD agencies' personnel, including Washington Headquarters Service, from leased space in northern Virginia.

Work is well underway on the two towA,Aers - one 15 stories high, the other 17 stories high, with 1.75 million square feet of office space, two parking garages and a public transportation center that will serve Mark Center and the surrounding community.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project and its New York District office awarded Duke Realty the conA,Atract for the $1 billion project late last year. Dennis Oklak, the chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Realty, said the company feels 'a deep and strong commitA,Ament to delivering a solution that will help to fulfill the critical mission and vision of the Department of Defense and the Washington Headquarters Service.' When complete in September 2011, the complex will become part of Fort Belvoir.

'[Installation commander Col. Jerry W. Blixt] is dedicated to fully integrating our new partners into the Belvoir community and we at Belvoir look forward to working with the City of Alexandria, Washington Headquarters Service, the New York District of the Corps and all our other partners at this site in Alexandria,' said Col. Mark Moffatt, Belvoir's deputy installation comA,Amander for transformation and BRAG.

Brig. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, commandA,Aing general of USAGE North Atlantic diviA,Asion, noted the 2005 BRAG Commission delivered its report to then- President George W. Bush on Sept. 5 of that year.

'Its recommendations were to cut excess military infrastructure between 5 and 11 percent and to save the American taxpayer over $48.5 billion over 20 years,' he said.

The towers are designed to ensure waA,Ater savings, energy efficiency and indoor enA,Avironmental quality, and should use 30 percent less energy than comparable office buildings, stressed Semonite.

'It gives me a great deal of pride knowA,Aing that these two office buildings will meet not less than a LEED [ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] silver certification, a national standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council to foster susA,Atainable building design and construction,' he added.

Semonite also said that the two parkA,Aing garages are being designed to achieve a LEED gold certification.

' While we must focus on designing and constructing these buildings, this is really about the future users and the quality of our work in 10 years, 20 years, or in the long- term future,' he said.