Palisade Palms Condo Construction Develops Galveston's East Beach

By R.G. Pickard | September 28, 2010

Falcon Group of Houston is developing Galveston's East Beach with the construction of the $169-million twin high-rise Palisade Palms condominiums. General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, Alabama, leads a construction team that broke ground on the project in the spring of 2005.

Terry Watson, senior project manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, says that although the construction is proceeding smoothly, "the weather has at times played a difficult role during construction, including the recent winter rain and fog. Although we escaped damage, Hurricane Rita caused some delays and small costs."

Palisade Palms, designed by architectural firm Kirkor Architects & Planners of Toronto, Canada, with Kirksey Partners of Houston as architect of record, features two radial shaped towers, each 27 stories with three levels of parking. All of the 288 condominiums have views of either Galveston Bay or the Gulf of Mexico.

Each tower has two stories of covered parking at ground level. The lobby and first floor of each tower is 28 feet above sea level. The ground floor has a 20-foot-high ceiling, and each tower will have three high-speed elevators made by Otis Elevator Company to allow residents access to living areas.

Jeff Hart, operations manager for general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie, says that Palisade Palms is "atypical of Gulf Coast condominiums in that it has a center loaded core with entrances from the interior into each unit, with each set of floors having a unique shape."

Civil engineering and surveying of the site was performed by Halff Associates, Inc., with Haynes-Whaley Associates, Inc., of Houston, drafting the structural engineering design. As the project progresses, W.T. Byler Co., LP of Houston continues with the on-site utility work. DBR Engineering Consultants designing the mechanical/electrical/plumbing features. Treadwell Electric of Houston and Mitchell Chuoke Plumbing Co., Inc. of Galveston have begun installation of the MEP, and Letsos Co., Ltd., of Houston, is installing the HVAC systems.

The soil composition of Galveston's East Beach, from the top down, consists of sand, followed by clay, then dense sand. The sand content dictated the use of skin friction pilings in the foundation, with partial displacement piles employed in the top sand layer, with soil being made denser as it is forced down and to the sides of the hole. A total of 1,202 deep piles were drilled and poured 100 feet deep into the dense sand layer. Additionally, 535 displacement piles, each 30 feet deep, were used in the top sand layer. Displacement piles were designed to meet two load requirements, with 334 of them having a 75-ton capacity and 201 of them having a 100-ton capacity.

Concrete reinforcing steel — 4,200 tons of it — is being supplied by Texas Cold Finished Steel, Inc., of Houston, and the rebar is being installed by CSC Steel Services, Inc. Metal Works Corporation of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is providing the structural steel and miscellaneous steel.

To avoid problems with cement and steel shortages, general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie purchased materials in advance and developed a schedule with suppliers to avoid delays. Cemex has provided 56,000 cubic yards of concrete with special additives to reduce corrosion of reinforcing steel in Galveston's saltwater environment, pumped on-site by Pumpco, Inc.

TAS Commercial Concrete Construction, L.P. is doing concrete placement work. According to Terry Watson, senior project manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, "most of the floor levels in the towers consist of concrete flat slab construction with conventional reinforcing. The parking deck and pool deck structures are flat slab with post-tension reinforcing by Suncoast Post-Tension of Houston." The roof will be installed by D. R. Kidd Co. of Overland Park, Kansas.

Most heavy equipment on-site is being rented locally, with two tower cranes being provided by Amquip. MDM Scaffolding Services, Inc., of Grapevine, is providing the eight mastclimbers. Personnel hoists are being leased from McDonough Construction Rentals, Inc., of Houston.

Haley-Greer, Inc. of Dallas will be providing and installing the glass exterior, using X-Clad to increase structural integrity and strength of the curtainwalls and punched opening window walls. Haley-Greer is using Efco for the swing doors.

Masonry work is being done by W.W. Bartlett, Inc., of Houston. Stucco is being provided and installed by Triangle Plastering, Ltd., of Mesquite, and Sigma Marble and and Granite, Inc., of Houston, is providing the hard tile. Framing, sheathing and interior drywall work is being performed by Marek Brothers Co. of Houston, with R&M Service Company of Houston doing all painting.

Jeff Hart says, "This project has the best subcontractors we've ever worked with. It's one of the biggest condominiums on the Gulf Coast, unique in the circular shape, and every unit has a view of the water."

Palisade Palms is scheduled for residents to begin moving in during fall 2007, with 87 percent of the living units already sold. The price of each condominium currently ranges from $445,000 for a one-bedroom up to $1.5 million for an approximately 3,000-square-foot penthouse, with units selling quickly enough to cause Falcon Group to purchase more land adjacent to the site for future development.