Technically Complex Operation Brings Highly Anticipated Addition to Midtown Atlanta
Whole Foods Market – One of the Largest in the Southeast
Upon news of the opening of a Whole Foods Market in Midtown Atlanta, the neighborhood was abuzz with excitement. Already undergoing a significant transformation, the block of West Peachtree and 14th Street was identified as the new home of the largest Whole Foods Market in the Southeast. A new, multi-level flagship store, this development represented the second phase of The Related Group’s new, luxury, mixed-use, residential, high-rise tower.
Located on 2.2 acres in the busy Midtown Atlanta urban environment, traffic coordination and public safety remained a top priority for Balfour Beatty, and as such, the team worked hand-in-hand with the City of Atlanta and project subcontractors to avoid delays and maintain a safe environment for all. With hundreds of workers moving about the site each day, every member of the team played an important role in ensuring Zero Harm while keeping up with the required pace of construction.
Selected as the contractor for both the tower and the anchor Whole Foods Market, Balfour Beatty knew from the start the location would present site challenges and the overall development, adjacent to an active construction site, would represent one of the most complex builds the company has faced in the Atlanta market to-date.
Manpower and Machinery Dig 35 feet below 13th Street
Accustomed to building in Midtown Atlanta, the Balfour Beatty team anticipated encountering unsuitable soils, below grade water and rock. In this case, there was so much rock that blasting, a process that takes dedicated and thoughtful planning, was required. To prepare the site for activity to begin on the three-story, below-grade parking deck and deep foundations, excavation of more than 64,800 tons of dirt and rock was required. Digging down 35 feet below 13th St., which is below the water table, led to temporary site dewatering through a well point system and the installation of a permanent underground dewatering system. A foundation wall, originally designed as a traditional two-sided wall system, was deemed unsuitable for this site, and instead, a single-sided foundation wall system solution was utilized. The single-sided foundation wall was installed in five-foot increments all the way down to below the slab on grade elevation. Working diligently to move to the next phase of construction, the rock blasting, dirt excavation and 435 linear feet of the foundation wall varying in elevation from 35’ to 20’ - were complete within 3.5 months. This progress was an incredible feat, but once behind them, the team was ready to come out of the ground.
Deep Foundations, Complex Structure, Accelerated Schedule Require Smart Building
After assessing the site conditions during the preconstruction phase, the team recommended deep foundations of rammed aggregate piers for this project. Once out of the ground the building is a typical slab-on-grade, with two levels of post-tension parking decks; however, in consideration of the future requirements of the Whole Foods Market, the team elected to use a different structure system for the store’s main floor. A pan and joist system creating a one-foot depressed bathtub slab was installed. This pan and joist system accounts for future build-out of the Whole Foods, allowing them to make penetrations where required for the store’s rough in activities. To meet the accelerated schedule and achieve an early turnover, an additional crane was employed to begin the erection of the steel structure while allowing the tower crane to continue working with the concrete structure on the opposite side of the building. These types of considerations and quick movement by the team consistently allowed scheduled operations to run concurrently throughout the process.
Balfour Beatty also utilized the latest technologies and Lean construction methods to plan and deliver materials efficiently to the project. With other new projects underway in proximity, the project team leveraged Building Information Modeling (BIM) to evaluate the ideal tower crane placement scenarios. And, with insufficient material laydown space, the team developed a well-organized, systemic “just-in-time” logistics strategy for material deliveries that yielded additional efficiencies.
The Whole Foods Market is a much-welcomed addition to the Midtown neighborhood, and Balfour Beatty was proud to play a role in this transformational project.