Charlotte's NASCAR Office Tower

By Christina Fisher and David Featherston, Vice President, Office & Industrial Development Operations for Lauth | September 28, 2010

NASCAR Plaza is Lauth Property Group's latest office project in Charlotte, North Carolina. The project is comprised of a 20-story, 400,000-square-foot office tower with an attached 12,000-square-foot high-definition television production studio for NASCAR Images, a 1,000-space enclosed parking garage, and a 70,000-square-foot ballroom. Upon completion, NASCAR will be the main anchor tenant, leasing 120,000 square feet of the $105-million LEED certified tower.

A private venture between Lauth and NASCAR, the office tower is one component of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and has been incorporated into that building's design. It is also adjacent to the Charlotte Convention Center.

"We worked with NASCAR prior to them selecting Charlotte and the site of the hall of fame," says Dave Featherston, Lauth vice president of Office & Industrial Development Operations. "We tried to put together an office complex that would consolidate some of their facilities. When Brian France (NASCAR chairman) made the decision to come to Charlotte, he liked the location so much that he ended up negotiating an option with the city to build an office tower. It's a ground lease with the city and Lauth and NASCAR are the owners."

Permitting and phasing of the project has been challenging because the office tower, studio and parking deck are a private venture that will open one year ahead of the hall of fame, which is a public project scheduled for completion in March 2010. Currently, the team has finished the preconstruction phase and all of the construction documents have been completed and submitted for final building permits.

Excavation and foundation work began in May 2007. The hall of fame joint venture team of Turner BE&K Davis undertook the mass excavation package for the entire project site, although only BE&K is working as general contractor on the office tower.

The building's foundations are spread footings with rock anchors. Piedmont Blasting blasted through approximately 70,000 cubic yards of rock. The excavated material then went to the airport as fill or to a quarry for crushing and selling.

"Due to scheduling and costs, we actually drilled in a pattern and blasted in a pattern on the entire site," says Doug Taylor, senior superintendent, Construction Operations with Lauth. "It was full-depth blasting that went anywhere from 30 feet all the way up to 10 feet in some areas. It was solid rock except the southeast corner of the project.

"Once we blasted it was pure excavation. We have a soil nail retention system as opposed to any piling or soldier piles. We took (the excavation) down 4 feet to 5 feet at a time, ran the soil nail walls up, and kept going until we got to the 700 elevation."

Excavation work finished at the end of October, and a total of 165,000 cubic yards of material was removed. The first piece of steel for the tower went up on November 13.

The tower structure is a composite steel frame that will require 3,400 tons of steel and 6,000 steel beams and individual pieces. A precast and glass exterior will match the hall of fame. Aluminum panels in the curtain wall system complement the hall of fame's stainless steel curvilinear ribbon that represents a banked race track.

Because of the tight site conditions, all steel is delivered in the morning. It will take approximately five weeks to erect the first floor of NASCAR Plaza. The tower will rise at a rate of one floor per week thereafter. Once the team is a third of the way up with steel, they will begin to pour a floor a week followed by precast erection.

Another feature of the office tower will be the sophisticated automation system that will integrate all of the building's systems — building security and access control, temperature and lighting control, fire/smoke alarm interface, elevator annunciation, emergency communications, and after-hour tenant access/override/bill back. This total systems integration will give Lauth complete control of the building from a Building Control Unit (BCU) or PC work station or via the web.

Featherstone explains, "What we did on this project is really for energy efficiency and security. We've run a backbone through the building, which is basically a back net protocol. By running a vertical backbone through the building and tying your devices into it, you can have central control. This counts toward innovation points, and we're going for silver LEED certification."

This innovative office building, located at the northeast corner of Caldwell and Stonewall streets, is scheduled for completion in March 2009.


Project At A Glance:

  • Architects are Pei Cobb Freed & Partnersand LS3P Associates
  • Built in conjunction with and integrated withthe NASCAR Hall of Fame complex
  • USGBC LEED Certified green building
  • Exterior skin of tinted glass and granite panels
  • Six main and one service freight high-speedtraction elevators
  • State-of-the-art energy management systems
  • 1,000-space parking garage
  • 290,000 rentable square feet of speculative/available class A office space
  • World-class retail amenities on-site andwithin walking distance