EMJ Leads Construction Work on Hamilton Place Mall Renovation

Hamilton Place Mall, Chattanooga, TN (1987)

 

In 1968, CBL Properties was EMJ Construction’s first client. In 1987, we were proud to help the company construct Chattanooga’s Hamilton Place Mall. Today, we’re  honored to lead the construction work on CBL’s renovation of this local landmark. The Chattanooga Times Free Press toured the mall and sat down with Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL Properties, who shared the following detailed progress of the mall:

New mall development is focused on offering experiences and services over the things shoppers can carry out of a store, with restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues playing a key role.

Thirty years after Hamilton Place mall opened, the age of the mega-mall anchored by department stores and surrounded by ring roads is at an end, Lebovitz said. The redevelopment of the space around Sears will have an outdoor focus, favoring sidewalks, lighting and landscaping over stark expanses of asphalt.

Multiple businesses will fill the 145,000 square feet that once housed Sears, which is 65%-70% leased. Next door, the new Aloft expected to open in early 2021 will have a rooftop bar and a Mean Mug coffeehouse on the ground floor.

Mitch Patel, president and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, expects the hotel to become a draw for locals as well as out-of-town guests.

“It isn’t downtown or the river, but it is a pretty nice view when you get 75 or 80 feet in the air,” he said during a tour of the site on Tuesday. Reinvention is a challenging process, but it’s one that comes with significant potential, Lebovitz said.

More than 40 anchor stores in the CBL portfolio of properties have closed, but their replacements will move the properties and the company in a stronger direction, he said.

“CBL is an innovative retail real-estate company, developing some of the finest retail shopping centers in the U.S.,” said Chas Torrence, EVP, EMJ Construction. “EMJ had the privilege of helping CBL construct the Hamilton Place Mall in 1987. Working on this renovation project feels like we’ve come full circle. We’re excited to see it remain a hallmark of our community for generations to come.”

Read the full story or learn more about The Hamilton Place Mall.

Chattanooga Times Free Press photo by Erin O. Smith / Construction is underway across from CBL Headquarters at Hamilton Place mall in front of what was formerly Sears Thursday, January 9, 2020, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Chattanooga Times Free Press photo by C.B. Schmelter / Work continues inside an unleased space at Hamilton Place Mall on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Anchoring the renovated spaces are Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dave & Buster’s. The Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dave & Buster’s are both scheduled to open in March.

 

7 Winter and Cold Weather Tips for Construction Workers

Since humans began building, we have been at war with winter. In construction, one key to winning is planning how to continue moving forward without losing ground.

Since humans began building, we have been at war with winter. In construction, one key to winning is planning how to continue moving forward without losing ground. The following items are just a few things to consider in the coming months:

Use in-ground heating. Frozen subgrade in the winter can lead to damaged slabs, foundations, pools, and retaining walls in the spring. Moisture becomes trapped above the frost line, making compaction efforts extremely difficult. Once the moisture thaws in the spring, the ground becomes less compacted and more plastic, causing settlement, and in some cases, catastrophic failure, especially at retaining walls.

Plan to remove ice and water. Low areas in a slab, pools, and other features often collect snow and water which will freeze and thaw, expanding and contracting against the walls and within the porous concrete causing damage to the surface and possibly to the structural integrity of the concrete. Make sure you have a plan to deal with these issues and temporarily cover this hazard.

Use cold weather concrete. Review your specifications, and when in doubt, refer to ACI 306. Make sure you know whether your architect or engineer will allow for add mixtures ahead of time. Several add mixtures on the market now help to encapsulate the moisture in the concrete, allowing for flooring to bond and helping to boost the vapor barrier as well as repelling surface moisture due to exposure to the elements.

Understand and adhere to material delivery and storage requirements. A vast majority of materials are susceptible to excessive moisture and temperatures below 40°F. Without tenting and heat, materials may freeze if left to the elements. Read and understand your manufacturer’s requirements for material handling and application.

Prepare your parking lot. In winter, it’s difficult to store materials level and off the ground if the ground profile continues to change. Plan on paving early in order to avoid vehicles getting stuck, deliveries turning away, manpower being unable to access the building safely, and to maintain general site cleanliness. Whenever possible, get the base course down, a binder course or concrete paving is even better. This will reduce mud pits, avoid rework on paving structures, increase mobility of people and supplies, and provide a more safe and secure area for material laydown.

Secure interior heat. Heat can be helpful in many ways. It makes drywall and paint possible in cold conditions and can also provide a more safe and comfortable work environment; thus, increasing productivity in months that may not allow work without it. Remember, some forms of heat, like propane, will introduce moisture to the interior so make sure there is adequate ventilation.

Ensure you have power. Even if you have permanent power, have a plan for when the power is disrupted so your work won’t be. Generators can be hard to come by when everyone needs one. Also remember, no matter how many windows you had in the summer that allowed sun to help with lighting, the days are much shorter; artificial lighting will be necessary just to meet standard working times in most areas.

All of the items above directly impact quality and play a large role in maintaining a safe jobsite focused on quality. Being unprepared for winter weather can cause exposure to the elements, material loss or misuse, inadequate lighting, irregular grades, snow and ice causing slipping hazards, and a variety of other issues. Being winter ready will help us continue to meet our schedules and stay on budget – all while delivering and exceptional client experience.

Brian Tiehan is a Quality Manager for EMJ Construction. 

Farmer Brothers Project Wins Award

The Farmer Brothers office and manufacturing facility, built by EMJ Construction, won the PRO Food World Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Photo: RGA Architects

 

Farmer Brothers delivers exceptional coffee, tea, spice, culinary, and equipment solutions to local businesses, foodservice, national chains and everything in between. Recently, the Farmer Brothers office and manufacturing facility won the PRO Food World 2018 Manufacturing Innovation Award.

Spanning 28 acres, the coffee company headquarters includes a 258,338-square-foot distribution center, a 194,438-square-foot coffee production facility, and 84,823 square feet of office space for its nearly 400 corporate employees.

This lean, greenfield manufacturing facility features a customized, flexible manufacturing system that hopes to achieve 95 percent OEE and reduces the need for human intervention on the plant floor. The facility includes advanced roasters, an automated replenishment optimizer; and custom mixing, weighing and conveying equipment that allow Farmer Brothers to respond to rapidly changing market demands.

Watch Daniel Gerritsen, Director of Engineering & Strategy, Farmer Brothers accept the award and discuss the project.

Farmer Brothers desired an aggressive schedule, as four other facilities nationwide were consolidating into the new headquarters, and the new distribution center needed to begin operating while construction was still underway. EMJ coordinated the project team, ensured that the facility could function while construction was ongoing, and worked with consultants to highlight value-saving opportunities and ensure long-term efficiency for the facility.

“Farmer Brothers is a world class company,” said William Mosher, EVP, EMJ Construction, Dallas. “As national manufacturer, it serves over 60,000 food and beverage establishments across the U.S. We are honored to partner with them on this project and excited that it won this prestigious award.”

Newest Cinemark Theatre is a Cut Above

With nearly 550 theatres and more than 6,000 screens in the U.S. and Latin America, Cinemark is a clear-cut leader in the motion picture exhibition industry. But, the company’s latest creation is clearly a cut above.

CUT! by Cinemark brings a fresh approach to in-theater dining and entertainment. The 10-screen theatre is a new approach to dine-in movie going offering a complete entertainment experience, featuring delicious cuisine, hand-crafted cocktails and the ideal social setting.

“The space we have created with CUT! by Cinemark allows everyone to have an exceptional time, whether they are savoring our unique, freshly prepared food and drink, catching a movie or both,” said Mark Zoradi, Cinemark’s CEO. “This is just another example of how Cinemark is innovating the movie going experience and offering guests an all-encompassing entertainment destination.”

Moviegoers will have their entrees, beverages and traditional snacks delivered discreetly to their seat with just the push of a button. The restaurant, lounge and patio are welcoming environments designed to offer guests fun, casual and social spaces.

This brand-new theater boasts a wide array of offerings including:

  • Ten ultra-modern auditoriums with wall-to-wall screens and enhanced sounds systems
  • Cinemark Luxury Loungers—electric-powered, plush, oversize recliners with footrests, swivel trays, cup holders and heat-controlled seats
  • CinemarkXD auditorium -the No.1 private label Premium Large Format (PLF) in the world, featuring state-of-the-art picture and sound quality
  • 4K digital projection powered by Barco projectors; RealD 3D capability in several auditoriums
  • A unique and freshly prepared menu of cuisine to enjoy, from fan-favorite snacks to full meals and scrumptious desserts
  • A full-service bar offering more than 20 popular beers, including local draft IPAs, as well as an impressive wine selection, four specialty martinis and signature cocktails
  • An inviting outdoor patio with a fireplace and interactive social games
    A sophisticated banquet space that accommodates up to 50 guests and available by reservation year-round
  • A contemporary game room offering an assortment of popular games complete with a prize hub
  • Walk-up, easy-to-use ticket kiosks with a welcoming guest services area
  • Reserved seating with online and app ticketing capabilities to make any night on the town as convenient as possible
  • Cinemark Luxury Loungers—electric-powered, plush, oversize recliners with footrests, swivel trays, cup holders and heat-controlled seats.

Built by EMJ Construction, the theater sits on a 12-acre site, spans 53,290 square feet, and features a 9,205-square-foot mezzanine. The development contains high-end finishes throughout and is a LEED Silver project.

“We are proud to have partnered with Cinemark on this endeavor,” said William Moshier, EVP, EMJ Construction. “It’s not every day that you get to work with clients who are pushing the boundaries of their industry and delivering exceptional experiences to their clients.”

Visit Cinemark’s site to learn more about this fresh approach to movie theatres and purchase tickets. Click here to read about EMJ’s work on the project.

Signal Energy to proceed on Finley Solar Farm in Australia

Signal Energy, a member of the EMJ family of companies, will soon begin work on Finley Solar Farm in southeastern Australia. The project is being developed by one of Australia’s leading renewable energy developers, ESCO Pacific.

According a recent story in PV Magazine Australia, the development indicates that there continues to be a substantial appetite for renewable energy investments in Australia from international investors.

“Achieving financial close on our Finley Solar Farm is a fantastic outcome for ESCO Pacific, bringing our developed capacity to nearly 500 MWp of solar in Australia,” said Steven Rademaker, Chief Executive Officer of ESCO Pacific.

The ​133 MW project is in southeastern Australia, near Melbourne and Sydney. It is slated to begin this month and will feature 500,000 solar panels, which will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 60,000 homes.

Signal Energy’s role on the project includes engineering, procurement and construction as well as a two-year operations and maintenance contract. The estimated date of completion is October 2019.

Finley Solar AustraliaRecently, ESCO Pacific and Signal Energy held a job fair and community event on September 20th in preparation for construction. Read more about the Finley Solar Farm project here.

High Point Shopping Center Opens in Dallas

Last week, the EMJ team and The Ainbinder Company celebrated the opening of Academy Sports + Outdoors and Five Below at the High Point Shopping Center in Dallas.

Spanning more than 14.5 acres, the High Point development includes 9 buildings, totaling 180,000 square feet. EMJ’s work included all site work and new construction, as well as adding a new traffic signal on Northwest Highway.

The opening of Academy and Five Below marks the second construction milestone on the project. Burlington opened in September, and Marshalls is expected to open next week.

 

 

Congratulations to the project team!

Bobby Bass, Project Manager
Keith Starkes, Preconstruction Manager
Chris Ross, Preconstruction Manager
Charles Grothe, Project Engineer
Mike Coyne, Lead Superintendent
Marcus McAdams, Superintendent

Related story:
https://www.emjcorp.com/project-updates/grand-parkway-academy/

CarMax in Corpus Christi Celebrates Grand Opening

EMJ’s fourth project to date for CarMax opened last week in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Located on five acres, construction of the 7,500-square-foot store included all site work and installing of a below grade 2,000-gallon fuel storage tank.

“The team’s hard work and client support was outstanding,” said George Heath, EMJ Vice President of Construction. “Their diligence led us to the recent award of two new stores in Denton and Lubbock.”

EMJ’s ongoing partnership with CarMax is what EMJ refers to as programmatic work—performing multiple projects for one client of similar scope and size. This type of relationship enables our team to develop a highly tailored, efficient construction process for the client that supports long-term consistency, accountability and trust.

Look for more updates on the team’s work with CarMax, and congrats to the Corpus Christi team on a job well done!

Jon Fair, Project Manager
Daniel Brantley, Superintendent
Conner Kamps, Preconstruction Manager
Will Morris, Project Engineer
Kathy Griffin, Accounting Manager
Suzanna Trent, Administrative Assistant

Visit www.carmax.com for additional information about CarMax.

Related story:

CarMax in Norman Celebrates Grand Opening

 

Alpha + Inwood project slated to begin early next year

This week, the EMJ Construction project team hit several milestones in planning and development stages of the Alpha + Inwood project, which is slated to begin early next year.

The massive mixed-use development is located at Alpha and Inwood roads, directly west of the Galleria Dallas and the Dallas North Tollway. The development will consist of a hotel, office building, retail spaces and apartments.

This is a flagship project for EMJ Construction, who is partnering with Bridgeview Real Estate, Transition Development, O’Brien Architecture and Danny Forester Design Studios.

Check out this animated rendering of the project.

To read more, visit Dallas News .

 

Measure twice, cut once: Using drone data to calculate concrete volume

Earlier this year, EMJ completed an expansion at Ruby Falls, a tourist attraction in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., that boasts the nation’s largest public underground waterfall. Our team constructed a new lobby, retail space, pedestrian mall, and more next to the original, historic castle that sits more than 1,000 feet above the underground waterfall.

The expansion required removal of a significant amount of rock to create a pad for the new construction. Considering the site’s location on a mountainside above an underground cavern, the team carefully drilled out the rock section by section, rather than blasting. As documented in a recent Ground Up podcast, the rock removal process required precision planning, logistics, and execution by all project team members. It also required careful consideration for how to prepare the resulting site to endure the elements for many years to come.

Among those considerations was waterproofing and the best method to ensure the exposed rock could withstand the elements. Of particular concern was a void between the new building and the rock wall. This gap was created when the team carved out the rock to create the building pad. The design team presented two options for EMJ to consider: apply a vinyl-waterproofing product or fill the space between the building and the mountain with concrete.

But, here was the catch. While the team could estimate the cost of the vinyl waterproofing, it was impossible to measure the gap and estimate the cost of the concrete.

The team called on Caleb Wickersham, EMJ Virtual Construction Engineer and licensed drone pilot, who had already flown the site and created a 3D model of the mountainside using photogrammetry.

Caleb layered the architect’s building model next to his mountainside model. Using his previous calculations, he was able to determine the volume of the space between the building and the mountain, which provided the amount of concrete needed to solve the waterproofing issue.  From this, the team calculated the concrete cost, and in comparing it with the vinyl-waterproofing cost, the vinyl product was the more cost-effective and prudent option for Ruby Falls.

There is an old adage that applies to construction, “Measure twice and cut once.”  In a figurative sense that means to plan and prepare in a careful, thorough manner before taking action. Using construction technology, that is exactly what the Ruby Falls team did, helping make sure its recommendation to the client was accurate.

Check out this video of Caleb’s handywork.

Related story:

EMJ’s Chattanooga team wraps up Ruby Falls expansion

 

Founders’ Hall opens in Collegedale

Last week, EMJ joined the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation and others to celebrate completion of Founders’ Hall, an event venue for farmer’s markets, weddings, community events, and more.


Photo by Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation Inc.

 

Founders’ Hall served as phase II of EMJ’s ongoing work at The Commons, an eight-acre cultural and recreational space serving the Collegedale, Tenn., community.

Phase I, which opened in late 2017, included a clock tower, Redwood tree grove, and an open-air pavilion, and Phase III will include the addition of a sound stage for concerts. It is expected to be completed in 2019.


The Commons is the culmination of joint efforts by Collegedale leaders, the Collegedale Tomorrow Foundation, and the public to bring this center to the community.

“We are honored to be a part of bringing this project to Collegedale,” said Matt Elliott, EMJ Project Manager. “The Foundation and community leaders have worked hard to make it possible, and we are glad to be a small part of giving this strong community something to enjoy for years to come. Thanks to all of our trade partners and colleagues for their hard work in getting us here.”

Congratulations to the EMJ team on this project:

Ryan Colbert, Project Engineer
Matt Elliott, Project Manager
Blake Johnson, Lead Superintendent
Joe Woolums, Senior Preconstruction Manager


Pictured (left to right): Matt Elliott, Project Manager; Alex Miller, Vice President of Preconstruction; Ryan Colbert, Project Engineer; and Blake Johnson, Lead Superintendent

 

For more information on the new space, visit TheCommonsTN.com.

Related stories:

Chattanooga celebrates grand opening of The Commons