Making Our Mark in an Emerging, Vibrant San Francisco Neighborhood
Balfour Beatty is working with Essex Property Trust to deliver on a vision to transform one of San Francisco’s premier, high-rise residential locations by constructing a new, 42-story residential tower located in the heart of the Transbay/Rincon Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.
The project, aptly named, 500 Folsom, is located at 500 Folsom Street—immediately adjacent to the Downtown Financial District and close to the Ferry Building, AT&T Ballpark and Mission Bay. Block 9 is part of the Transbay Redevelopment project area, a 40-acre redevelopment district at the foot of Rincon Hill. With its prominent location adjacent to downtown and the waterfront, the area is also often referred to as the gateway to the city.
The design for the project is being led by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLC in collaboration with Fougeron Architecture. With a vision to help transform the neighborhood into one of San Francisco’s premier high-rise residential locations, the project’s design will also serve to strengthen Folsom Street as a main commercial public thoroughfare. The project features 436 market rate units, 109 affordable units, retail, shared open spaces and amenities. When complete, the building will have the appearance of two low-rise buildings connected to a high-rise tower; however, it will be constructed as one building.
Building Blocks of Success
The 500 Folsom project is off to a great start, thanks in part to Essex’s confidence in the Balfour Beatty team. That confidence is built on trust and a proven ability to expertly deliver on a demanding schedule with a challenging excavation.
“Everyone involved with this signature project is benefiting from our existing relationship,” affirms Bryan Frady, vice president, operations. “We’ve already established clear lines of communication. Everyone is free to exchange information openly and freely—early and often. We’ve become experts at overcoming unexpected challenges, and Essex knows we are a dedicated and dependable construction partner.”
Beyond creating a relationship of mutual trust and transparency, Balfour Beatty teammates appreciate this unique opportunity to make our client’s dream a reality. Although we look towards the project completion with excitement, one of most rewarding aspects about Balfour Beatty’s role is experiencing the milestones and successes that are shared along the way.
Balfour Beatty’s Largest Continuous Concrete Pour on Record Completed in California
Recently, the entire project team had the chance to experience one of the more rewarding project milestones upon completing a “marathon” concrete pour, establishing a new benchmark for Balfour Beatty.
The activity required forming a 30,000-square-foot foundation located 75 feet below ground level. Adding to this complexity was the need for a massive amount of concrete—8,218 cubic yards—which was poured non-stop over a 24-hour period. To put this into perspective, the amount of concrete poured was equal to 32 miles of a four-foot-wide sidewalk. The mat foundation required 2.5 million pounds of reinforcing steel, which is equivalent to about one-tenth the weight of the Eiffel Tower.
The mammoth task was executed by 90 drivers who worked on alternating schedules. A total of forty-five trucks delivered 888 truckloads of the concrete to five pumps strategically positioned within the project site. The pour covered the surface area needed to form the mat foundation located below the ground surface. The thickness of the concrete mat foundation varied from 10 feet beneath the tower to five feet outside the tower.
Balfour Beatty’s team supervised 53 craft workers working in shifts to complete the continuous pour that started at 1:59 a.m. on Saturday, June 17 and completed at 1:56 a.m. on Sunday, June 18, 2017. The occasion marked the company’s largest concrete pour ever conducted in California.
Get a behind-the-scenes look into the team’s record-breaking pour by clicking here to view a time-lapse video.
Planning the Work and Working the Plan
The enormous concrete pour required a detailed logistics and coordination plan that involved numerous partners including Balfour Beatty’s structural concrete contractor, Webcor Concrete Group and the City of San Francisco’s building, traffic and police departments. Out of respect for the local community, the project team distributed a newsletter to surrounding neighbors that outlined the event and alerted them regarding the potential for noise and traffic disruption. Appropriate street signage with detour and street closure information was also made available two days in advance of the pour. “Every detail was meticulously planned to ensure our teams were thoroughly prepared to execute the non-stop work,” praised Bryan. “Even the slightest delay leading up to the scheduled pour could have significantly impacted the execution of this multifaceted job.”
Not only did the team perform the pour safely and successfully, but they also managed to ensure sustainable practices were utilized. The concrete was comprised of 40 percent fly ash, a cement replacement, and recycled water in its production process. Fly ash is an environmentally-friendly solution that meets or exceeds concrete performance specifications and is recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® rating system as a post-industrial recycled material.
500 Folsom is on track for completion in summer 2019. That’s when the building becomes a 42-story beacon of excellence for the City of San Francisco and a tremendous source of pride for the collective building team, who can all claim a small piece of the building’s legacy for generations to come.