Brasfield & Gorrie Adds Fall Tower to Camperdown Development
Growth in Greenville: Falls Tower Enhances Camperdown Development in South Carolina’s Fastest Growing City
Many city downtowns are experiencing a renaissance in terms of activity and interest. Greenville, South Carolina, is an example of a city with a revived and vibrant downtown area. The small but growing Greenville’s downtown includes boutiques and outdoor cafes and hosts music and art festivals. As part of the continued revival of Greenville comes Camperdown, a large development that will include a hotel, apartments, retail, restaurants, office space, a parking garage, condos, and an outdoor plaza.Falls Tower, a 17-story mixed-use building, isone of the key parts of Camperdown.
Upon completion, Falls Tower will be one of the tallest buildings in Greenville, and its many uses will enable people to live, work, and play in the city’s downtown area. It will include seven floors of office space, over 30,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, one floor of conference space, and 18 condominium units on the top five stories of the building. The building’s residents will have access to private garage units at ground level.
Centrally Located Space
Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor on the Falls Tower project and on a number of the other facilities in Camperdown. Kimberly Bailey is the Senior Project Manager for Falls Tower. She has already spent some time at Camperdown as she served in the same role for the Camperdown parking deck and podium portion of the project. This time has given Bailey a deep knowledge and sense of the overall project leaving many to view her as the point of contact for the entire Camperdown project.
Falls Tower, and Camperdown as a whole, are symbolic of the growing, changing Greenville. The development, which is to be centrally located along Main Street and provides excellent views of downtown Greenville, is taking place in an area that had been the home of The Greenville News. The local newspaper previously maintained all of its operations on site, including its printing presses and warehouses. As the business has increased its emphasis on digital efforts, though, the newspaper found it didn’t require as much physical property. Its office now occupies a portion of the first building completed in the Camperdown development. The newspaper was previously surrounded by vacant property, but soon the area will thrive.
Falls Tower has been designed to include a conference center floor. Each of the business entities on the site will have access to the conference center. This allows tenants to forgo a large conference room in their own individual space. The Falls Tower will also feature a bridge that will connect an adjacent parking deck to the development.
Soil and Rock Concerns
The location upon which Falls Tower and Camperdown are being built was considered a brownfield site, and it is under a Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC). Part of the program involves performing an environmental assessment or remediation. In the case of Falls Tower and Camperdown, the assessment led to the determination that the dirt was contaminated.
The finding of contaminated dirt has impacted construction in terms of time and money. As part of the clean up, the dirt has been hauled to a landfill, which is an hour and a half away, round-trip. This is in contrast to the standard 15 to 20 minutes Brasfield & Gorrie usually spends hauling dirt away. The excessive amount of time has meant the need for more trucks and coordination. “This is not a deterrent as we knew about it going into the project and had a plan on how to deal with it,” says Bailey.
Greenville’s Main Street slopes down to the Reedy River. Because of this, groundwater passes through the project site on its way to the river. As part of the construction, significant amounts of rock had to be blasted for the below-grade structure. When construction crews did this, groundwater filled up the holes. “We have large water pumps running all day to remove the groundwater and dewater our site.” She notes that the general contractor is modifying its construction schedule and sequencing to mitigate the construction impacts. Ultimately, footings are poured, which go above the ground water level, and the issue is alleviated.
A unique feature of Falls Tower is that it is being designed to be LEED certified for its core and shell. This has meant using products that LEED requires and monitoring recycled materials. “Being LEED certified is an investment for owners as it is an expensive undertaking,” says Bailey.
In addition to pursuing LEED certification, the contractor has sought innovative ways to utilize rock blasted on site. "We blasted and crushed the rock on site and have used it for backfills, footings, walls and construction lay down," says Bailey. So, on an earlier visit to the Camperdown site, one would have found a rock crusher to process rock that was generated from the ground and a rock hammer.
Coordinating the Construction Team
While Centennial American Properties is the owner of Falls Tower, there are a number of different entities involved in the construction. Some of the key players are Wakefield Beasley & Associates (architect), BlueWater Civil Design (civil engineer), Fuller Design Group (structural engineer), Jordan & Skala (mechanical and plumbing engineer), Burdette Engineering (electrical engineer), and Beau Welling Design (hardscape and landscape designer). In order to manage the team, Bailey and Brasfield & Gorrie have implemented a weekly work plan scheduling system.
At the meeting,the next week’s plans and the current week are discussed with the subs. “We evaluate the current week and any issues and how we can overcome them,” says Bailey. “It helps subs to identify activities they’re responsible for and the manpower they’ll need the following week.” The meetings encourage collaboration and communication and foster a team approach to the project.
The project, which has a $57 million construction budget, is scheduled to take 19 months to construct. Bailey notes the project is on budget and on schedule and expects Falls Tower to be complete in 2020.
Soon, Falls Tower and Camperdown will transform Main Street’s skyline and offer a number of activities, additional outdoor space, and amazing views of downtown Greenville. Residents and tourists alike will have another destination to check out as they enjoy the city. It will truly be a place to live, work, and play.