Tight Squeeze in Torrance

Bomel Construction masterfully completes design-build parking structure ahead of schedule at expanding Del Amo Fashion Center

The 1,950-stall garage, erected within a confined site, is a key component of a $200-million expansion undertaken by Simon, the mall’s developer. It includes a new Nordstrom and a two-level wing of fashion stores due to open in October.

May 20, 2015.––When you’ve been building multi-level parking structures for decades, lots of twists, turns and head-scratching scenarios are part of the territory. How an experienced builder plans ahead for all types of job-site challenges determines in large part the outcome of a difficult project.

Consider Bomel Construction’s recent completion of a feisty four-level parking structure at the bustling Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance a creative success.

Bomel executed a host of out-of-the-box strategies to deal with the tight site as it erected the 1,950-stall parking structure and three attached pedestrian bridges in close proximity to large new buildings under construction at the operating mall.

“We were coordinating three different schedules with three different contractors: our ongoing work, the 140,000-square-foot Nordstrom under construction and the expansion of the new mall. Plus, we couldn’t disturb the existing mall,” said Kasey Shay, Bomel’s project manager for the 14-month-long project.

Being very close to the mall impacted maneuverability of tall construction equipment. Bomel crews were especially cramped at one of three staging areas for concrete pumping. That’s when a big batch of Bomel ingenuity came into play.

“We left out a piece of the structure’s roadway deck on the second level and set up the pump in the gap and pumped from there,” Shay explained. “The concrete trucks traveled underneath the deck and fed the pump. It worked out very well.”

The $21.2-million project’s second significant challenge was triggered by the replacement of a 12,000kv line that serves two transformers powering the mall. The line was placed under the garage’s slab on grade since the first level has an 18-foot clearance.

“We did have to leave out the northeast corner of the structure all the way up,” Shay said. “When we got to the top deck, the SCE excavation was done. They took out the old line and replaced with a new one and then we were able to start over with the foundations, slab on grade and the missing portions of the three elevated decks.

“On the lower decks, we left out the corners and created new construction joints. We left out the entire top deck and that was the last to be poured. We poured the footings, poured the columns and skipped over the slab on grade and did formwork on mud pads so we could get to the second level deck. We poured the slab on grade last.”

How unusual was this process? “Very,” Shay said. “I’ve never encountered this kind of deck-pour sequencing in my 15 years here at Bomel.”

Shay’s favorite part of the job was being part of the bridges’ construction process.

“It’s not something we do for every project,” he recalled. “It wasn’t easy, but that’s what makes it fun. It’s different.”

The primary challenge of the bridgework dealt with the mall’s exterior interface with the three 60-foot-long spans, which flare out from a width of 15 feet to 36 feet where they meet the mall.

“On one side of the bridges, there are planters and on the other side, their edges are rounded. There is a lot of variance in their shapes and how the bridges connect to the mall––not exactly at 90-degree angles by any means,” Shay explained.

Two of the bridges connecting the garage to the new mall wing are made of concrete. A steel bridge connects the garage to Nordstrom, per the department store’s preference.

The heights of the garage’s floors vary; the first floor is 18 feet, the second floor is 14 feet and the third floor is 8 feet.

“There will be semis driving through the ground level of the new structure to reach the loading dock,” said Shay, explaining the need for an 18-foot clearance. The second floor will be 14 feet in order to line up with the heights of the existing parking structure and future mall levels.

A complex architectural package involves three sides of the new parking structure, including a green screen, plaster panels and bright walls––huge, Vegas-style signage that will promote the mall and its tenants in a variety of ways.

Simon, one of the largest mall owners in the nation, has been a responsive owner, a critical reason why the project proceeded as smoothly as possible.

“Simon has been great to work with, that’s for sure,” recalled Shay, who also oversaw construction of a new 1,800-stall parking garage at Simon’s Desert Hills Premium Outlets near Palm Springs.

“All jobs have challenges, but Simon addresses them quickly and we all work together to get them solved,” he added. “There’s no bickering. They’re fair and recognize the issues and try to get them solved as best as they can without pointing fingers.”

Located along Fashion Way between the Marriott Hotel and Del Amo’s newer Outdoor Village, the parking structure features car counters on each level, giving shoppers a quick way to locate open parking.

The new garage offers 21 electric vehicle charging stations, including two fast-charging NRG eVgo Freedom Station sites that can recharge vehicles in 30 minutes or less. A green-screen vine trellis adorns the new parking structure.

“Our goal is to continue to offer amenities that make shopping at Del Amo Fashion Center even more convenient and enjoyable for our shoppers,” said Lindsay Hermance, the mall’s director of marketing and business development. “We can’t wait to unveil our new look and feel this fall.”

Bomel Construction, widely considered the dean of parking structures in the West, has been a longtime design-build contractor for Simon Property Group. This is the fourth straight year that Bomel will be working on a parking structure in Southern California for Simon. In 2012, Bomel started construction of the four-level garage at upscale Desert Hills Premium Outlets mall. The project, which was part of a $100-million mall expansion, was completed in November 2013. Other projects completed for Simon by Bomel include a 1,750-stall parking structure at Del Amo in 2006 and a 2,550-stall parking structure at The Shops at Mission Viejo, finished 15 years ago when that mall was undergoing a significant renovation and expansion.
About Del Amo Fashion Center: Located in the South Bay of Los Angeles County, the mall has more than 200 stores, restaurants and an 18-screen AMC movie complex. Existing stores include stores Anthropologie, Barnes & Noble, Coach, Macy’s and H&M. In addition to Nordstrom, the roster of new stores and restaurants includes American Eagle, Cache, Great Maple, Lane Bryant, Lucille’s and Victoria’s Secret and Zara. The mall principally serves Torrance, Palos Verdes, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach and Gardena.

About Bomel Construction Co.: Established in 1970, Anaheim Hills, Calif.-based Bomel Construction is widely regarded as the dean of parking structure construction in the West. The family-owned business generated $135 million in total revenue in 2014. Its other current high-profile projects include Del Amo Fashion Center (1,950 stalls), Cal Poly Pomona (1,800) and Plaza San Clemente (1,167), with several additional parking structures set to begin construction this year. Bomel Construction, a design-build concrete contractor, has completed major parking structures for developers and owners of many of the largest shopping malls, casinos, stadiums, high-rise office buildings, colleges and universities throughout the West. Bomel has regional offices in Carlsbad, Calif., and Las Vegas.

For more information, please contact Paul Napolitano at 626-852-9959 or paul@napolitanocommunications.com.

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