LEED Project at State Street

By Joanne Ray | September 28, 2010

"Quite a mixed bag," is one way that Michael Moore describes a month-old project on State St. in New Haven, CT.

"There are all different kinds of construction going on at any given time," Senior Superintendent Moore said. "We have about 50 working here each day now, but we will have 100 a day right through the winter."

Not long ago, representatives from Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., investor and financier Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), and developer and architect Becker and Becker joined representatives of the state of Connecticut and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. to celebrate the official groundbreaking for this $180-million redevelopment project.

The 69,918-square-foot site once housed the former Shartenberg department store located in New Haven, CT. The former building was demolished to open up the site for this 700,000-square-foot mixed-use area that will include 500 apartments (including 50 affordable units), grocery store, additional retail establishments, parking garage with 500 spaces, and early childhood education center.

The 32-story residential tower is located in the heart of downtown and will be the largest residential building ever built in Connecticut. A true transit-oriented development, it is located across the street from the State Street Train Station, one block away from the vibrant New Haven green, and within walking distance of many urban amenities. The highly-desirable location is racially and economically diverse, and has an all-union labor force.

The State Street project has also been selected as a pilot project for the LEED Program for Neighborhood Development and will include green features such as photovoltaic arrays, recycled and local materials, and a fuel cell. The project will be the first LEED Silver residential project in Connecticut.

"One of the interesting things about the project is that the building will be built over a tunnel that connects to the federal building and a few other municipal buildings underground," said Moore. "Homeland Security controls the tunnel. Our entry will break into the tunnel."

Early January found many laborers involved in a wide range of projects such as installing an underground system of water proofing slabs.

"They put down mud slabs, the waterproofing system and then reinforced with another mat and concrete," Moore said. "The water level was at plus 5 feet and we had to take it down to minus 8 feet with five wells. It is designed as a zero-sediment dewatering well."

Not far from the waterproofing project, G & C set 80-plus tons of rebar for a tower crane with the help of the Grove RT 750 crane supplied by Marino. Later that day D & M Concrete arrived to pour 240 cubic yards of concrete in the tower crane footing. The mix was 8,000 psi.

Another part of the site saw the PIF driving rig driving 15-foot pressure-injected footings. Next to the rig, Ulysses Pollock Jr. flared the ends of the pipes to get them ready to be injected into the ground.

"We will pour concrete into the tube that expands in the hole. Then we tie it together with rebar and cap it with concrete," Moore said. "It looks like a mushroom when it is done."

Business Development Manager Ben McGuiness said that in spite of the down economy this job is going off without a hitch.

"In this economy banks are not lending money, so we are surprised that this project is going at all," McGuiness said. "One reason is because we were able to save the project money."

McGuiness said the price of the project was originally around $160 million, and Suffolk worked with the Green architecture firm of Becker and Becker to redesign the structure from cast-in-place concrete to staggered truss hollow core plank.

Cast-In-Place concrete is a building construction method where locally supplied ready mix concrete, steel reinforcement and formwork are delivered to the construction site and fabrication of concrete elements takes place on location.

The staggered truss system is a fairly new concept in structural steel framing for high-rise buildings. The system consists of a series of story-high trusses spanning the total width between two rows of exterior columns and arranged in a staggered pattern on adjacent column lines. The system was developed to achieve a more efficient structural frame to resist wind loads and at the same time provide versatility of floor layout with large column-free areas.

The change dropped the price about $15 million — a considerable savings.

"That is just one aspect of how we saved money," McGuiness said.

The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2010.