Exclusive: New downtown San Jose office tower will be first in California to use time-saving structural system
Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal
The company building 200 Park Ave., a new downtown San Jose office tower by Jay Paul Co., is using a composite steel-concrete
hybrid system to build the tower’s core that is expected to reduce construction time of its core by more than 30 percent.
Level 10 Construction — the general contractor for Jay Paul‘s CityView Plazaredevelopment project and for
numerous Jay Paul projects in Silicon Valley — is using a structural system for 200 Park Ave. dubbed “SpeedCore.”
Most highrises are built using a cast-in-place reinforced concrete core, in which a steel frame is wrapped around a concrete
core that has been reinforced with steel rebar. The SpeedCore system uses pre-fabricated panels consisting of two steel plates
held in place by cross-connecting tie rods. After the plates are erected, the cavity between them is filled with concrete, creating
a sandwich-style structure.
Ron Klemencic of Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) is the project’s structural engineer and the developer of SpeedCore.
The SpeedCore system cuts down on construction time because it eliminates the process required for creating a reinforced
concrete core, which involves setting a framework and installing reinforcing steel, among other steps, according to the
American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). SpeedCore is not a product but rather a non-proprietary system, so many
American steel fabricators can produce the panels, AISC said.
Casey Wend, partner and vice president of operations at Level 10 who is overseeing construction of 200 Park Ave., told
the Business Journal that if Level 10 had used a traditional concrete core method for 200 Park Ave., it would’ve had to
wait until about 35 percent of the building was erected before it could begin adding steel framing to it. But with the
SpeedCore system, the building’s core and steel framing can be built concurrently.
“You’re really taking out that gap between the two structures [concrete and steel], that’s what saves the time,” Wend said.
He said that using the SpeedCore system will allow Level 10 to reduce the construction time of its core by about four
months compared to using an alternative construction method. While he declined to say exactly how much money the
company will save by using SpeedCore compared to an alternative system, he said it’s “substantial” and more than
“Construction costs continue to escalate in our region [Silicon Valley] due to the booming economy and labor/material
shortages,” said Jill Lonergan, Northern California marketing director for Level 10. “If a system could reduce a building’s
erection time by more than 30 percent, that could reduce costs significantly, free up labor, and increase speed to market
for businesses, contributing to the success of downtown San Jose’s revival.”
The tower at 200 Park Ave. will be the first highrise building in California to use the SpeedCore system and only the
second-ever highrise to use SpeedCore. The first highrise project to use SpeedCore was Rainier Square Tower in downtown
Seattle, a 58-story skyscraper that will offer office space and luxury apartment units when it opens in August 2020.
Steel erection of Rainier Square Tower began in October 2018, and the last piece of the building’s structure was installed in
August. MKA, the structural engineer for the tower project, said in an Aug. 15 post on its website that it would have taken
21 months for the tower to “top out” with a traditional concrete core, but instead took only 10 months to top out.
A video posted to the AISC’s YouTube channel compares the construction schedule of Rainier Square Tower using a traditional
concrete core versus SpeedCore.
The tower at 200 Park Ave. is the first new speculative office project in downtown San Jose in a decade. When complete, the
building will have 16 levels of Class A office space, with three levels of above-ground parking and four levels of below-ground
parking. It will offer 875,000 square feet of total rentable square footage.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the building is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m.
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