Mixed-Use Tower Transforms Austin Skyline
Trammell Crow Company is one of the nation’s oldest and most prolific developers of, and investors in, commercial real estate and Balfour Beatty has had the privilege of building some great projects with them. This project in Austin was co-developed by Trammell Crow, The Hanover Company and Pacific Life Insurance – partners who had a vision to transform the former site of the Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant into a mixed-use property.
The Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant opened in 1925 and was Austin's first water treatment plant on the shores of Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin. The plant was decommissioned and deconstructed in 2010. One of the elements The Trammell Crow Company saw in the abandoned site was the site’s inherent quality to serve as a bridge – literally and figuratively – to an emerging stretch of Cesar Chavez Street that includes the redeveloped Seaholm Power Plant and the new Austin Public Library.
Northshore is a mixed-use 38-story building, including 436 high-end apartments, 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, along with 28,000 square feet of creative office space. The building is situated on Block 1 at the South East corner of the redeveloped property, bordered by Lady Bird Lake to the South, San Antonio St to the East, Nueces St to the West, and the planned 2nd St extension to the North.
As the general contractor of the Northshore project, Balfour Beatty was the first construction team to mobilize on the multi-block property. Once construction was fully underway, occupied construction trailers with electrical, water, telecommunications, Internet and power were activated; site logistics were developed and implemented with established safe access routes for men and heavy machinery; and tower cranes were set, erected and became operational.
Right after these operations were established, the Northshore project team was then notified by Trammell Crow that construction of the office tower on adjacent Block 23 would start sooner than expected, and the layout of the site would change.
Despite the challenges brought by our need to re-mobilize quickly (running conduit from nearby Second and San Antonio streets to reestablish power, telephone, and Internet access to the relocated construction trailers), our team was able to re-establish our operations with minimal disruption to the project team and timeline.
The primary challenge was the extremely tight quarters in which this large tower was to be constructed, compounded by a considerable amount of heavy construction taking place simultaneously from multiple projects adjacent to the Northshore project requiring close collaboration with nearby projects.
Maintaining our commitment as a Relentless Ally to Trammell Crow, Balfour Beatty worked side-by-side with the Block 23 contractor to make accommodations for the start of a simultaneous major construction project to the Northshore project.
Mobilization by the Block 23 contractor required elevated coordination and communication with Balfour Beatty. For example, placement of the cranes for Block 23 required precise calculations in conjunction with Balfour Beatty to avoid conflicting with the existing cranes and the Northshore tower that was already going vertical. During another stage of the adjacent project, plans called for the largest concrete mat slab that had ever been poured in the city of Austin to date – an approximately nine foot thick concrete slab poured continuously over 36 hours.
The effort used part of the Northshore site and a dedicated road access to accommodate hundreds of concrete trucks. The weekend pour was highly coordinated with a detailed plan of action: Balfour Beatty informed the Northshore subcontractors impacted, numerous layout points and pumps were identified, and incoming/outgoing concrete trucks were all coordinated with Balfour Beatty. The cooperation between the two project teams advanced the vision for the overall redevelopment.
The Northshore tower falls under the guidelines of the Austin Energy Green Building standards and is pursuing LEED Silver certification.
The team uses a program called Green Badger to track and log the amount of waste being diverted from the landfill. The owner and architect are given progress updates on waste diversion. The effort is paying off: The project is currently at 90% waste diversion, nearing the benchmark of 95% that qualifies the project for an additional LEED point toward the goal of Silver certification. The goal for the project was 80%!
Everything our team has done on behalf of the project hinges on our purpose – to be a Relentless Ally for the success of each and every dream we are entrusted to build. Whether it’s collaborating with subcontractors on adjacent projects, meeting with the City of Austin about preserving a heritage tree on site, or solving an issue – we do it with the best interest of the client in mind. This project adding another landmark to the Austin skyline and we’re proud to be part of it.