Articles June 13, 2014

Level 10 Construction — 181 Fremont

Source: Construction Today

Creating a landmark brings with it a responsibility to the city and the neighborhood in which it is being built. That responsibility is being taken very seriously by developer Jay Paul Co. and Level 10 Construction, who are building the 181 Fremont Project off of a major artery in the high density Transbay corridor of the south of Market area (SoMa) district in San Francisco.

The 55-story mixed-use Class A office and luxury residential tower will rise 800 feet above busy Fremont Street encompassing the entire lot’s footprint of approximately 0.35 acres. Concurrently, the Transbay Transit Center is being built on a site directly adjacent to 181 Fremont.

“The currently under-construction Transbay terminal has a supported excavation that is already down about 60 feet from street level,” Project Manager Thomas Kobayashi points out. “We will share Transbay terminal’s temporary shoring wall along the property line north of our site that they already have braced. So, when we start performing our mass excavation operation for our five-level, subterranean parking garage, we’re going to share that wall by internally shoring and bracing it from our side of the property.”

The wall is not the only aspect that the two projects are sharing – they also are using the same geotechnical engineer, which helps prior to the mass excavation of the 181 Fremont site. “With previous geotechnical investigations at the site and results at the adjacent properties, it provides us with better insight and an alternate approach to the challenges that we will encounter on-site during the installation of the geotechnical components, such as the cutter-mixed shoring walls and the deep drilled shaft foundations,” Kobayashi notes.

Lane Closures

Fremont Street is in the midst of experiencing a construction renaissance. “On our block alone, there are three major projects going up,” Kobayashi acknowledges. “So the challenge we’re faced with is getting special traffic permits for lane and sidewalk closures.” This involves the city’s municipal transit agency, Department of Public Works and the fire department.

“We’re building on a zero lot line,” Kobayashi continues. “With such scarcity of construction site space availability, we strive to utilize the optimal planning/scheduling of construction sequencing to include material deliveries and site logistics. For example, part of the challenge is having a dedicated lane to enable the large volume of deliveries for the large-scale material, such as the sizable structural steel elements required for the project. Because Fremont Street is a major artery from the Bay Bridge, we have to maintain three lanes of traffic. To accomplish this, we have temporarily acquired from the city an additional section of the 150-foot metered parking lane across the street from our project and converted it to a through-lane in order for us to close the through-lane and sidewalk along the frontage property of our site for the duration of this phase of the project.”

Despite being located in the south of the heart of the financial district, the gentrification of the neighborhood has resulted in residential units being close enough to 181 Fremont and the three other nearby construction sites to require compliance with noise regulations. “In the city, construction noise is generally permitted between the hours of seven in the morning to eight in the evening,” Kobayashi says. “Since the residents are at the center of all this construction – making them the most sensitive receptors to noise and intrusion, especially during the late-night hours – we are required to obtain night noise permits and abide by the city’s noise regulations.

“Lately, not only us, but other contractors have been challenged in regards to the nighttime job site activities,” he continues. “To find a viable resolution, all affected contractors meet on a weekly basis and collectively have hired a consultant to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive communications plan to mitigate potential complaints and ensure successful community outreach efforts.”

Business and Pleasure

181 Fremont will combine business with pleasure upon its completion during the second quarter of 2016. It will include a combined approximate total of 10,194 square feet of lobby space and 2,310 square feet of retail space on both floors 1 and 5, office space from floors 3 through 36, a residential amenity on floor 37, and the Park 181’s high-end residences on floors 39 through 55.

Approximately 421,000 leasable square feet of the $500 million project will be commercial and approximately 123,000 saleable square feet residential. Five underground levels measuring 64,528 gross square feet includes, but is not limited to, parking for nearly 200 valet spaces that will use auto-lift elevators to eliminate space-wasting ramps.

Heller Manus Architects designed 181 Fremont with its unique, load-bearing steel exoskeletal superstructure that will increase available floor space with its perimeter mega-columns and mega-truss. A distinctive 50-foot spire will ascend from the crown of the building. 181 Fremont will connect directly on the fifth floor to a 5.4-acre rooftop park atop the adjacent future Transbay Transit Center, which will provide convenient access to the new transportation hub connecting MUNI, CalTrain, AC Transit, SamTrans and other Bay Area transit lines.

Exclusive amenities planned for the Park 181 residents will include an owners’ lounge, fitness center with yoga room, wrap-around balcony, BBQ grill, fire pit, kitchen and dining room on the 37th floor, which provides an interval between the commercial and residential spaces. At its base, 181 Fremont’s open lobby will create a pedestrian-friendly experience for office tenants, guests and passersby.

Aiming for Platinum

Targeted to achieve a LEED Platinum certification, 181 Fremont will incorporate innovative design strategies for sustainability, water savings and energy efficiency while providing a safer and healthier living and working environment.

The structure’s exterior façade is designed as a high-performing, fully glazed system that extends from floor to ceiling level on each floor featuring a sawtooth pattern to achieve the energy performance targets while maximizing the daylight and view opportunities.

The use of micro-turbines along with biogas as the fuel to cogenerate electricity and useful heat is being implemented on 181 Fremont for on-site renewable energy generation. Graywater and stormwater reuse from the building and site will be recycled through an on-site treatment plant on one of the basement levels for reuse in non-potable demand uses, such as flushing toilets and urinals.

Ninety-eight percent of the existing low-level structures on the project site that were demolished beginning in August were recycled. Sustainable and recycled products are being used extensively in 181 Fremont, and many of the materials are of recycled content and being regionally sourced or manufactured within 500 miles of the project.

Test drilling for caissons began in November, and installation of 44 caissons began in February 2014. On average, the caissons are drilled 255-feet deep from the existing street grade level. The water table is approximately 15 feet below street grade, so dewatering is required.

“On the adjacent property, the Transbay terminal drilled micropiles about 18 inches in diameter on a four-block-long project encompassing about 6 acres,” Kobayashi points out. “We’re on such a small footprint of about 0.35 acres with vertical development of approximately 15.7 acres that we’re using deep-drilled 5-foot and 6-foot-diameter caissons.”

Kobayashi estimates that 35 or more subcontractors will perform work on the project. He considers the schedule for the completion of 181 Fremont by the end of the second quarter of 2016 to be “pretty tight. It will take us almost 10 months to complete the earthwork scope, which includes activities such as temporary shoring walls, caissons, earth moving and the support of excavation,” he adds. “All these activities must be completed prior to beginning the mat foundation and below-grade parking substructure.”

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