A Unique Store for Happy Hawthorne Residents

In the fall of 2010, the Hawthorne district became home to New Seasons’ tenth location in the Portland area. The Southeast Portland neighborhood welcomed the local grocery branch with open arms, in part thanks to the many measures the design and construction team took to integrate the store into the unique atmosphere of the surrounding community. The design team minimized industrial features to integrate the store into the aesthetic of the district, provided 50 bike-parking spaces around the perimeter for the many Portlanders who opt for two wheels instead of four, and added a walk-up window for passersby to grab a quick coffee.


Small but Mighty 

The 18,000 square foot steel-framed store (which is dwarfed by other much larger New Seasons locations, typically ranging from 25,000 to 30,000 square feet) still packs a punch thanks to some inventive space-saving strategies.  Rooftop parking for 37 vehicles allowed construction to grow vertically rather than horizontally and reduced on-street parking needs in the busy urban locality. 


Stearns’ Solution: From Precast Double-Tees to SmartBeams®

Stearns was brought on board to provide design assistance and structural steel system selection, architectural features for the stair towers and canopies, fabrication and erection drawings, and to manage the fast-track steel construction schedule, bringing this project to successful completion on time and within budget.  At Stearns’ suggestion, precast double-tees were converted to long span castellated steel SmartBeams®, which provide greater strength with less weight, accentuate natural light, and complement the mechanical system and drain paths by allowing duct lines to pass through pre-aligned holes in the beam webs.  


one ala moana tower

pre-planning for safety and proper fit up

Stearns was awarded the structural steel furnish and install package for this 23-story luxury condominium project in Waikiki being constructed above an existing parking structure. The scope consisted of installing a steel-framed sixth level for supporting an outdoor garden terrace, and thirteen two-floor deep trusses to support the tower above.

The challenges were numerous, including site congestion for deliveries, a single crane hook, limited tower crane reach and capacity, and limited load-carrying capacity of the existing parking structure deck for staging equipment and steel. Trusses were shipped "knockdown" to the site and erected "in the air" due to crane capacity limitations.

Utilizing 3-D modeling, Stearns developed an engineered erection plan that noted the truss installation sequence piece-by- piece, where each member was self-supporting when released from the crane hook. Temporary truss braces, located within future concrete shear walls, were left in place to provide lateral stability and assist the concrete contractor. Preplanning on paper and preassembly in the shop resulted in a safe and seamless field erection.


The Transformation of a “Tombstone of Tacoma” to a Modern Multi-Use Building

After roughly 40 years of an unsightly city-owned garage marring the face of Tacoma’s developing downtown streetscape, this former “Tombstone of Tacoma” has been transformed into an award-winning, 250,000 square foot steel-framed 500-stall parking garage, office, and high-end retail space that brings a new vibrancy to the burgeoning metropolis.


Smartbeams – the Structural Steel Solution for Greater Strength

With the goal of improving and revitalizing the neighborhood, the City of Tacoma and Pacific Plaza Development LLC partnered to renovate the 1960s-era parking garage. At the recommendation of Absher Construction, Stearns joined with PCS Structural Solutions to assist with design development. Stearns furnished and installed all structural steel components, provided shop and construction drawings, and implemented SmartBeam. This innovative approach for long-spans delivers greater strength with less weight, enables a high level of flexibility for building tenants, and offers greater floor plan efficiency with column-free parking. Additionally, the beams are aesthetically appealing, accentuate natural lighting and voluminous space thanks to the exposed, ceiling-free structure, and compliment the state-of-the art mechanical system by allowing duct lines to pass through pre-aligned holes in the beam webs.


A Sustainable Approach to Construction

By choosing to reuse – rather than demolish – the existing structure, the team was able to retain 78 percent of the original surface area, which was just the beginning of the resourceful approach that came to define this project and gain it acclaim. Numerous sustainable initiatives were implemented, such as a 30,000 square foot live vegetative roof and rain water collection system that utilizes a centuries-old, block-wide Turkish bath that was uncovered during construction.  This bath is used as a cistern,  pumping the collected rain water back up to irrigate the rooftop garden and to flush the building’s toilets, thus maximizing water reuse, minimizing potable water needs by around 85 percent, and reducing the amount of water entering the storm water system into Thea Foss Waterway. The live roof also creates a micro-climate, which lowers the overall temperature of the building and reduces energy consumption.  The 42 percent window-to-wall ratio maximizes natural light and further minimizes the reliance on electricity.  Additionally, the design team selected recycled products, low-emitting products, and sought out regional materials when available. 


Pacific Plaza Exceeds Expectations; awarded LEED Platinum

By implementing these green initiatives, BLRB Architects helped to make Pacific Plaza Washington’s first commercial office building (and one of only 21 core and shell projects worldwide) to achieve LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council – the highest possible rating for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.  Additionally, the project earned the Ghilarducci Award  from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce in recognition of successful new development & renovation, a Build Washington Award for Green Building from the Associated General Contractors of Washington, the Commercial Revitalization Award from the City of Tacoma, and NAIOP’s annual Sustainable Development Award, to name a few.