With its 10-story office tower, plus space devoted to retail shops, restaurants, a six-level, 1,600-vehicle underground parking garage and auto court, Valencia Place claims status as the largest project ever developed in the Kansas City, MO, Country Club Plaza. Sensitive design features characterize the project and complement the character and aesthetics of the surrounding Plaza, long-reputed for its upscale hotels, retailers, and eateries.
Phase 1 of the $51.6 million, 881,500-square-foot project began in October 1997, with mass excavation of the 303-foot-wide, 349-foot-long, by 60-foot-deep site—primarily limestone and shale—and removal of 210,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock. From day one, Kansas City, MO-based general contractor J.E. Dunn Construction Co. honored two commitments: to work in harmony with the site and surrounding area (a portion of the excavated rock was crushed off-site and recycled as underslab and perimeter fill); and to place worker safety first. “Our safety director was on-site every day and conducted weekly safety meetings with superintendents of all the trades,” says John Hunter, J.E. Dunn senior project manager. “He constantly monitored the job, and he dealt with safety aspects as environments changed with construction progress. He was a key part of the construction team.”
In addition to monitoring workplace safety, J.E. Dunn’s construction management at risk delivery system provided a team approach to construction. The company was brought on board early in the project and worked with the owner and architect to plan, design, and construct Valencia Place. Each party worked independently for the owner, with J.E. Dunn assuming the risk for guaranteeing the overall price. Construction management at risk also allowed the company to supervise and mediate key players throughout various phases of the construction process; to oversee design, construction, and change order phases with the interests of the owner in mind; and to realize savings for the owner.
A formidable challenge, Hunter says. Valencia Place ranked among Kansas City’s largest masonry projects, with more than 900,000 bricks used for its exterior, and 750 lineal feet of continuous hanging scaffolding used to accommodate and expedite bricklaying on the office tower. In addition, more than 10,000 pieces of architectural cast stone and limestone were used on Valencia Place’s tower, restaurant, and retail portions of the building. The 10-story office tower encompasses 271,000 square feet, and additional retail and restaurant space totals 86,400 square feet. Tile and cast stone pavers were used for an open-air grand stairway, positioned between the office tower/restaurant section of Valencia Place and the parking garage.
“One of the most striking aspects of this structure was the architect’s use of materials,” Hunter says. “Eight different colors of brick, in many different shapes, were integrated with the stone. The ornate façade and earth-tone colors complement the Spanish-style architecture of the Country Club Plaza’s existing buildings.”
Construction entailed three different structural materials: more than 865 pieces of precast concrete for the parking garage; steel framing on the retail portion of the center; and cast-in-place concrete for the restaurant/office structure.
Meshing the various elements, as well as readying Valencia Place for July 2000 tenant occupancy, required innovative uses of traditional equipment, Hunter says. For instance, in order to use a huge tower crane most effectively, it had to be located outside of the cast-in-place office tower. The parking garage was built around the crane, with a space left open on each floor where the crane could be positioned. The placement allowed the reach of the arm to service a radius around the entire site. Once the tower crane was removed, a different crane was used to set precast concrete “T’s” into place to fill in the space on each floor.
Innovations also delved below ground. The typical approach to constructing a poured-in-place parking garage is to pour a slab and then use the slab to support the two-sided wall forms as the multilevels are built. For the Valencia project, single wall forms were anchored to the existing subsurface rock bank and cement was then poured into the space. Not only did the rock bank serve as the outside wall form, but also as the wall support. Subsequent wall forms sat on top of the previously poured wall. Eventually, a 60-foot, anchored, free-standing wall was put in place, and the multilevel precast garage floors were then installed.
From 60 feet below ground to 10 stories above, construction of Valencia Place symbolized quality, teamwork, and longevity. “Valencia Place represents the continued growth and commitment to the prosperity of the famed Country Club Plaza—a jewel in the heart of Kansas City,” says J.E. Dunn President and CEO Terry Dunn. “It was a perfect fit for a 76-year-old, family-owned company, and we’re proud to have been part of this project.”
J.E. Dunn Construction Co. is the Kansas City area’s largest commercial general contractor, with more than $800 million in annual revenues and a growing workforce of 1,500 employees. Founded in 1924, J.E. Dunn is the name behind regional landmarks such as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence, and the American Century Towers I and II near the Country Club Plaza.
Owner/Developer: J.C. Nichols/A Highwoods Properties Co.
General Contractor: J.E. Dunn Construction Co.
Structural Engineer: Structural Engineering Associates
Mechanical Engineers: Gibbens-Drake-Scott; Martell & Associates
Civil Engineer: Shafer, Kline, Warren, P.A.
Building Automation Systems: CSI Controls
Ceilings: USG; Gage
Doors: Stanley; Boon Edam; Weyerhaueser
Facade: Sioux City Brick and Tile; Belden Brick; Higgins Brick
Fire Alarm: Edwards Systems
Hardware: Norton; Miller; Corbin Russwin
HVAC: Trane; Marley
Lighting: Daybrite; Williams; Ledalite; Edison Price
Major Equipment: Scando Hoist; Schwing; Linkbelt
Minor Equipment: DeWalt; Metabo; Waco; Makita; Bosch; Milwaukee
Paint: Sherwin Williams
Plumbing: A.O. Smith; B& G; Delta Faucets; Elkay; Sloan; Crane
Roofing: Dependable Chemical
Window Shading: Levolor
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