Communication and Planning Vital to Successful Four Seasons Concrete Pour
Genton Property Group and Webcor Builders Partner for 10-Hour Concrete Pour in Los Angeles
In 1987, the streets of downtown Los Angeles closed down as the rock group, U2 played a concert on a rooftop. The overcrowded streets are visible in the video for the song, "Where the Streets Have No Name." The group's stated goal was to cause a disruption.
Thirty or so years later, Genton Property Group, a real estate investment company that specializes in multi-family residential branded properties for rent and for sale and high end creative office space, was determined not to shut down the streets of Los Angeles. Genton Property Group, along with Webcor Builders, Inc., one of the largest general contractors in California, were in the midst of a major construction project that could have easily proved to be a massive disruption.
On December 20, 2017, Genton Property Group and Webcor executed a 10-hour, 377-truck concrete pour in downtown Los Angeles, Almont and Third Avenue to be exact. The concrete was poured in order to create the spine of the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Angeles. The project will ultimately be 12-stories and include 58 luxury condos and a penthouse that will redefine luxury living in Los Angeles.
The Importance of Logistics
Jonathan Genton, Founder and CEO of Genton Property Group, noted their goal was not to disrupt the people in the area. "We made sure to actively engage with the stake holders in the neighborhood to let them know what is happening and to coordinate with them. We didn't want to surprise or disrupt them." In addition, signs had been posted days before the pour was to happen and arrangements were made to redirect traffic.
While communication was surely a key to ensuring minimal disruption, logistics, planning, and organization were equally, if not more important.
Heather Nielsen, Project Manager at Webcor, said, "We constructed detailed plans to figure out how many people would be in the area, how to organize traffic control, and the number of managers and field people needed to be on the site." Nielsen notes there were “many smart people in the room” to figure out the logistics.
Vice President of Construction at Genton Property Group, George Keppler adds that organizing the 10-hour pour, "took a lot of planning and lot of thought."
One key point was determining how much concrete was needed. Ultimately, Webcor used 3,390 yards of concrete, which was pumped at 400 yards per hour from four different pumps (two on each street). The concrete thickness of the mat foundation was to be 5 feet while most of the other mats were 3 feet.
Pouring at a Small Site
On the day of the pour, Webcor had 90-plus people in the field while Cemex, a concrete vendor, had 10 people present whose job was to monitor the quality of the concrete and the trucks. People began arriving at the site at 7:00 a.m., and the pour began an hour later and lasted till 6:00 p.m. Thankfully, the weather cooperated as it was 60's and overcast throughout the time of the pour. Nielsen notes that cooler weather is better for both the men doing the work and the concrete itself, but she said “conditions were fine on the day of the pour.”
Construction of the project began in June of 2017 (expected completion date is July of 2019) and the first task was to excavate it. From there, the foundation was poured for the lowest level. The best way to proceed at that point was with the core walls. Hence, the 10-hour pour for the mat foundation under the core walls.
"It allowed us to start the vertical work immediately after the mat pour, which is the longest in terms of duration in the construction process," says Nielsen.
Keppler explains the size of the property, “It's a very small site, around 1-acre, and we're building from property line to property line.”
On this small site, Webcor was running 40 trucks per hour. Anywhere between six to eight trucks were going out of two entrances in the site. Coordinating the movement of the trucks backing in and pulling out was done in order to cause as little disruption as possible to traffic in the neighborhood.
The Responsibilities of Urban Development
Working in crowded urban areas is a challenge that Genton Property Group is familiar with. As Genton says, “We're not green field developers.” The group focuses on developing opportunity on existing properties. They tear down and build something new with the goal of leaving an area better for the construction. In regards to the Four Seasons Private Residences, there were low density (one to two stories) apartments and condominiums. However, the surrounding area was made up of high density buildings.
Genton Property Group originated the Four Season Private Residences project. They came up with the idea to assemble a large site in Los Angeles for a stand-alone project. Genton says, “We had the thought, ‘Can you brand a project without the hotel attached to it? Only condos. Would that project be in demand from buyers?’ It was to be an exercise in expanding the brand.”
After scouting out a number of potential sites, Genton approached the Four Seasons. He did so because, "They're best in class luxury brand, and they have great brand recognition." The Four Seasons saw it as an opportunity to extend their brand and expand their business line. Eventually, the two decided on the location where the project is being built which is in close proximity to a traditional Four Seasons Hotel.
As construction proceeds on the Four Seasons Private Residences, Genton Property Group will continue to do all they can to minimize the disruptions of the people in the area. While doing so makes them a good neighbor, the reason behind it comes from a conviction, "Development is a privilege and not a right. We're affecting the behaviors and patterns of people," says Genton.
No matter how many times Genton Property Group does construction work in an urban area, they learn and relearn the amount of planning and dedication necessary. Genton says, “We realize how many lives we are going to affect each day.”
While the pour has been completed, the challenges of building in an urban grid persist. Those challenges include traffic and pedestrian activity.
However, just as Genton Property Group and Webcor managed the pour, they'll manage the rest of the construction process.
Nielsen reflected on the pour saying, “It went even better than we hoped. It went off without a hitch.”