Overcoming the Unique Challenges of Infill Development to Deliver
a Gold LEED for Core & Shell Project
is the use of land within a built-up area for further construction, focusing on
the reuse and replacement of obsolete or underutilized buildings and sites. Infill
development presents unique challenges to a construction company. What will be
done with the obsolete building's materials as it is demolished? Are there any
asbestos issues to be addressed? Is the existing water / sewer / power infrastructure
sufficient to support the new building's operations? How do you minimize and mitigate
interruption to the operations of neighboring businesses?
The Pioneer 360
Business Center is a dramatic three-building, 1.16 Million SF business complex
in Arlington, Texas that was constructed on a previously developed property in
the midst of older retail and commercial building facilities. A major portion
of the project was the demolition of an 800,000 SF abandoned mall that covered
much of the property. As such, Pioneer 360 Business Center provides a case study
on overcoming the challenges inherent to infill development.
describes how general contractor Bob Moore Construction addressed the challenges
of demolition and subsequent construction of major new facilities as part of an
infill development program and delivered a LEED Gold Certified project.
Pioneer 360 Business Center is a dramatic three-building, 1.16 Million SF business
complex along State Highway 360 in Arlington, Texas.
Buildings A (194,845
SF) and B (152,800 SF) support flex tech, office, showroom, and rear-load warehouse
operations for up to four independent tenants per building. Both buildings feature
a combined 96 loading dock bays and ribbon glass bands on the front walls, with
two-tone paint finishing and stone facade corner entrances on the exterior. Building
C is an 815,820 SF cross-dock distribution center designed to house up to six
tenants. It is finished with a two-tone paint scheme, and includes more than 100
trailer storage spaces. Building C includes 158 loading dock bays. All three buildings
were built with tilt-up construction.
The Pioneer 360 Business Center is
located on a 70-acre business park. The complex includes a detention pond in the
center of the complex and a second pond at the east end. It is part of Arlington's
"Champion Arlington" strategy, which has resulted in phenomenal growth
that has featured some of the most high-profile buildings in the Dallas / Fort
Worth Metroplex, including the Ballpark in Arlington (home of the Texas Rangers)
and the new Dallas Cowboys stadium.
Early in the construction phase, the
decision was made to pursue LEED certification for Pioneer 360. A central consideration
to LEED certification for this project was the fact that the new business center
was constructed on a previously developed property in the midst of older retail
and commercial building facilities. This "infill development" presented
a variety of challenges unique to Pioneer 360 that were addressed throughout the
construction process, not the least of which was the demolition of an 800,000
SF abandoned mall that covered much of the property.
What Is Infill Development?
development is the use of land within a built-up area for further construction,
especially as part of a community redevelopment or growth management program or
as part of smart growth. It focuses on the use, reuse and replacement of obsolete
or underutilized buildings and sites.
Infill development offers several
benefits to communities:
Reduces Urban Sprawl. By developing new
buildings in the interior of urban areas, it reduces the expansion of commercial
and industrial development away from the city center and into suburban and rural
areas. Ultimately, infill development reduces costs by avoiding the need for increased
infrastructure, support operations (fire stations, hospitals, police, city services,
etc.) in the outlying areas.
Improves Quality Of Life In Urban Areas.
Bringing new buildings in to replace empty lots or abandoned buildings raises
land values, reduces or eliminates urban blight, increases tax revenue to local
governments, brings new clientele to local businesses, expands the job base, reduces
crime and promotes further expansion and growth from future businesses.
Environmental Impact Of New Business. By constructing a new building in a
city's interior rather than on its outskirts, the employees at the new building
are more closely located to other businesses they will use (restaurants, stores,
etc.) This reduces their need to drive to these businesses, which cuts the amount
of miles they drive each day. Many infill development programs occur in conjunction
with the expansion of mass transit, further reducing pollution and traffic congestion.
Challenge of Infill Development
Clearly, infill development provides a
variety of opportunities to re-energize and improve urban areas. That said, constructing
a major new commercial project like a million SF business park in an already developed
urban area presents unique challenges over a typical project on a previously undeveloped
tract, particularly when the property contains a large, obsolete building that
must be demolished.
What will be done with the obsolete building's materials
as it is demolished? Are there any asbestos issues to be addressed? Is the existing
water / sewer / power infrastructure sufficient to support the new building's
operations? How do you minimize and mitigate interruption to the normal business
operations of neighboring businesses?
These were the challenges Bob Moore
Construction faced as the general contractor of the Pioneer 360 Business Center
in Arlington, Texas.
Demolition of an Existing Building and Recycling
the Materials. The largest challenge faced during this project was the fact
that the property was largely covered with an abandoned 800,000 SF, multi-story
mall. Adding to the complexity of this demolition, shortly after breaking ground,
the developer found a buyer for the project. The buyer wanted to build the business
center as a LEED-certified project. Along with significant design changes to the
planned buildings, the conversion to a green building approach required significant
changes to the mall demolition.
As part of the qualifications for LEED certification,
Bob Moore Construction established a target of recycling 95% or more of materials
taken from the demolished mall rather than sending them to landfill. To ensure
they stayed on track for this goal the general contractor had to manage the materials
carefully as they pulled them from the building.
The first step to this
process was to ensure demolition crews were trained on Bob Moore Construction
and OSHA safety standards for this type of work. Over a period of four weeks,
the safety director and superintendent worked directly with the demo crews to
train them on a variety of relevant safety requirements, including the use of
guard rail systems, leading edge safety (fall protection) standards and requirements
for the use of chutes to remove debris from elevated surfaces. During this time
the superintendent and safety director monitored the demo crews' performance to
ensure standards were being met, and corrected deficiencies immediately.
the mall came down, workers separated the materials into different stacks, which
were ultimately loaded and taken to recycling companies. Workers tracked amounts
of materials as they were shipped out to ensure we met our goal and could accurately
report how the various waste materials were disposed of.
Asbestos is a common problem that must be addressed during infill development
projects, when older buildings are taken down to be replaced by new and improved
The mall demolished during the Pioneer 360 Business Center project
was built in 1970. As was common for buildings from that era, the materials used
to construct portions of the mall included asbestos.
After the owner's consultants
initially inspected the facility, it was determined that a third-party contractor
was required to formally locate and remove the asbestos from different areas of
the mall. Demolition of these areas was delayed until our contractor performed
more than $1 million in asbestos abatement. Bob Moore Construction's superintendent
and safety director monitored the asbestos abatement to ensure safety procedures
Old Infrastructure. Unlike a project taking place
at an undeveloped site, the land where Pioneer 360 Business Center had been previously
developed with the mall, acres of old parking and substantial infrastructure that
serviced the mall.
Many of the water, sewer and power lines were not well
documented and we had to use great caution when removing the parking lot and doing
the site work. Not only was this a potential safety hazard for our workers. Several
businesses along the north side of the mall were still using the old infrastructure
and any interruptions to services would have shut them down.
use of an old drawing from 1970 when the mall was originally built, the general
contractor had a general idea where the utilities would be. They pot-holed areas
where we thought the utilities should be to locate them, and then used appropriate
best management practices to expose and protect the utility lines as site work
progressed. Prior contact with the utility companies was also helpful to finally
identify these lines so their workers could proceed on with prepping the site
and locating the utility lines before they were damaged by the heavy equipment.
existing infrastructure was inadequate to the task of supporting the new business
center, and Bob Moore Construction had to rebuild it as they prepared the site.
To minimize impact on the other local businesses, they set up redundant utility
lines and transitioned from old to new when it would have the least impact on
the business center's neighbors.
Two of the local businesses were 24 hours
per day restaurant operations, so working during off-hours was not the complete
solution for this situation. In one instance, a shut down of the water to a local
restaurant for a day was unavoidable; Bob Moore Construction communicated this
to the restaurant's management beforehand, and provided temporary toilet facilities
and free bottles of water and soft drinks for them to give to their customers
so they could stay open during that time.
Foot Traffic. Infill development
projects are frequently part of larger community improvement programs, and as
such they often receive attention from the local media.
The Pioneer 360
site was more heavily trafficked than a typical demolition site because of the
large amount of publicity this project generated, resulting in tours from the
media and local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Arlington. Further, because
the old mall had been abandoned for several years, locals had walked through the
property before the project began, and they continued to try to do this as demolition
progressed. At the latter stages of demolition, other crews were onsite to begin
dirt work as well.
All of these factors translated into a significant volume
of foot and vehicular traffic around the demolition and stacks of materials. Bob
Moore Construction partitioned off the areas where large-volume or sharp materials
were being compiled and instructed workers to watch for people in the area and
steer clear of them and /or ask them to leave.
Working in Enclosed Spaces.
Because an infill development project is surrounded by other buildings, the general
contractor will typically find the working space for the project to be more confining
than would be encountered with a project in a previously undeveloped space. This
was just one of the reasons Bob Moore Construction used tilt-up construction for
Pioneer 360 Business Center.
Tilt-up construction is a method for building
commercial structures. In traditional construction, the walls are built with CMU
blocks or blocks faced with brick, or they are made up of structural steel columns
with heavy gauge metal studs covered with gyp sheathing, which is then faced with
brick or stucco. In either case, the walls are built vertically through a process
that is slow and labor-intensive. A tilt-up building's walls are created horizontally
in large slabs of concrete called panels. The panels are then lifted, or tilted
up, into position around the building's slab.
For buildings like Pioneer
360, tilt-up construction is the most cost-effective and schedule-friendly approach
a general contractor could use. Traditional construction of a million SF of warehousing
space would have been more expensive and more time consuming, with no offsetting
benefit to justify its use. Tilt-up provided additional specific value on this
project as it easily allowed Bob Moore Construction to use locally developed raw
materials, a major factor that is evaluated for LEED certification.
in spite of the fact that the site was surrounded by busy roads and businesses,
tilt-up construction allowed the general contractor to create the wall panels
directly at the jobsite, around (and in some cases, on) the building slabs and
tilt them into position without interfering with neighboring properties. Tilt-up
construction allowed them to isolate their operations, a necessity for infill
Bob Moore Construction was able to
overcome the unique challenges inherent to an infill development project and complete
the Pioneer 360 Business Center on schedule and to the owner's specifications.
The improvements to the surrounding community and the city of Arlington
- The abandoned mall, long used as a place for criminal activities,
has been removed and replaced with new, quality buildings that will provide homes
for new businesses and hundreds of high-paying jobs.
- The stores and restaurants
surrounding the business park will benefit from the increased business coming
from the area's new employees and from the reduced crime in the area.
will realize millions of dollars of new tax revenues from the businesses moving
into the business park.
- Property values in the community will rise because
of the significant upgrading of the buildings in the area.
- With the old
mall gone and the infrastructure upgraded, the area is more marketable to other
developers, and is poised to support new growth and expansion from builders who
want to piggyback on to Pioneer 360 Business Center's improvements.
sprawl has been avoided in undeveloped parts of Arlington, thanks to infill development.
June 2009 Pioneer 360 Business Center was selected to receive the Merit Award
in the category of Industrial / Warehouse Construction over $5 million from TEXO,
the north and east Texas chapter of AGC.
In October 2009 Pioneer 360 Business
Center became the largest, and one of the first, LEED Gold Certification core
and shell industrial projects in the state of Texas. More than 95% - 91,634 tons
- of steel, concrete, asphalt, copper and aluminum coming from the demolished
mall were recycled rather than sent to landfill. The project also earned the necessary
LEED points for community connectivity and infill redevelopment rather than adding
to suburban sprawl.
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