A Sign of the Times
Atlanta is a city rich with history. Many of its buildings have stood the test of time and served as iconic symbols of progress and development. As a contractor, you strive to work on projects that make a difference and that stand out amongst the rest. In some cases, that may mean building a ground-up high-rise tower, and in others, like 309 East Paces, you serve to bring new life to an already established landmark.
When Balfour Beatty was approached by KnoxRedan and The Loudermilk Companies to revitalize the 1963 brick structure formerly known as the Aaron’s Rents building, they understood the importance of “getting it right.” Together with architect Lyman Davidson Dooley, the team laid out a plan to reimagine the building for tenants seeking the “mercantile” look found in an older, authentic building but one outfitted with today’s new and more modern finishes.
With a collaborative approach from preconstruction through construction, the Balfour Beatty team helped transform this 12-story landmark into wide-open, creative, loft-style spaces comprised of 80,000 square feet of office and 25,000 square feet of retail. Though the outcome is impressive, it is the journey of how they got there that tells the real story.
The entire project was an exploration of what’s possible and an exciting endeavor to bring 309 East Paces to life. From the start, Balfour Beatty’s preconstruction team dug into the details and identified and evaluated an off-site prefabricated synthetic wall system using Sto Panel technology. This unique solution mimicked the look of brick façade, provided close to $500,000 in savings, enhanced the energy efficiency of the building and provided a much faster and safer method of replacing the envelope on the busy streets of Buckhead.
As prefabrication began, exterior wall demolition took place. With a zero-lot-line and a high volume of pedestrian and automobile traffic, the team developed an innovative method to demo the skin of the building from the inside out. With the help of a black curtain, they were able to demo 2,925 tons of concrete from the inside—the equivalent of about 154 MARTA buses—keeping dust and debris away from the surrounding areas to ensure a safe and cleaner jobsite. With the removal of the exterior skin, it became clear to the public that a complete transformation was underway.
The collaboration and creativity of the team continued to generate ideas and options throughout the building’s transformation. The development team drove sustainable practices through historic preservation by choosing to maximize the use of existing materials and infrastructure. Together the team explored ways to enhance the performance of the building through new, efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting and a site infiltration trench, which was constructed to improve water quality for water run-off. Spending the extra dollars early and implementing these options during construction optimized the building performance for years to come.
The new, class-A office increased daylight square footage by 536% and gross building area by 2,000 square feet, reimagining the exposed, existing concrete structure as a stylish design feature. The ultimate result was a tribute to the original vision to maintain the legacy of this landmark and reposition it for today’s tenant.