Off to a fast start: Bomel Construction comes roaring out of the gate on a new parking structure for Southern California’s newest upscale outlet center

A roomy job site on undeveloped land and thoughtful pre-construction planning are the main reasons that construction of a 1,167-stall garage at Craig Realty’s Plaza San Clemente is making significant progress just three months after breaking ground. The Anaheim Hills-based contractor has already completed foundation work for the architecturally inspiring garage.

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., July 22, 2014 –– A beautiful view of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and a big chunk of bare property are not the normal jobsite features greeting Bomel Construction Co. when it gets ready to build a multi-level parking structure.

The Anaheim Hills-based general contractor, widely considered the dean of parking structure construction in the West, frequently finds itself wedged amid a flurry of construction activity with little elbowroom between the project it is erecting and other work taking place on a parcel of land that often feels like the size of a postage stamp. Bomel has frequently built or expanded garages within just a few inches of adjacent structures or no more than a few feet from other major construction simultaneously taking place, many times for shopping malls undergoing ambitious expansions. Such recent examples include new and enlarged garages at the sprawling Park Place office/retail center in Irvine and the iconic Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach. Bomel is currently building a new 1,950-stall garage for Simon Property Group inches from its Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, which is currently undergoing a $200-million expansion.

While the spacious site for another one of Bomel’s newest projects, a 1,167-space parking garage at Craig Realty’s Plaza San Clemente outlet center under construction in Orange County, is hospitable, the challenges facing Bomel crews as they proceed with the erection of the two-level structure are formidable.

It’s a high-end retail center and the garage has many detailed finishes.  Most of the finishes will result in the parking structure assimilating the Mission-style architecture within the San Clemente area, this is something that we normally don’t see on garages,” said Bomel Project Manager Matt Prince.

Other features and finishes for the $28.4-million parking structure include five entry towers with clay tile roofs; copper gutters and downspouts; pre-cast balustrades, stair treads and planters. Foam shapes will be integrated into the plaster system across most elevations. The entire exterior is coated in plaster with an undulating Mission-style finish. And there will be different concrete-formed archways along each of the garage’s exposed elevations. “It’s pretty intricate,” Prince said.

At build-out, Plaza San Clemente will offer 580,000 square feet of shopping and dining space in the 248-acre Marblehead Coastal development. The first phase, which includes the parking structure, will consist of 325,000 square feet of shops and restaurants on 52 acres. Plaza San Clemente is located in southern Orange County, next to Interstate 5 at the Avenida Vista Hermosa exit. The parking structure is scheduled for a May 15, 2015 completion, with the opening of the new outlet center to follow. 

Steve Craig, the developer of Plaza San Clemente, is excited about the site’s proximity to the Pacific, telling the Orange County Register earlier this year: “That gives us the opportunity to have ocean views literally from the fronts of the stores. All the restaurants, especially, will benefit. People who dine there – all the patios and seating areas – are set up to look out at the water. “I don't believe there is another site in the state, or maybe on the West Coast, that has the major interstate – I-5, which runs north and south – that comes this close to the ocean.”

Bomel began construction of the two-level garage on April 15, and has gotten off to a productive start. By early July, the foundations were finished and the slab on grade and elevated deck were well underway. “We are averaging about  1,000 yards of poured concrete a week,” Prince explained. “It’s such a big footprint that it allows us to work on walls, columns, slab on grade elevated decks and even site retaining walls simultaneously.”

On the project’s ocean side, Bomel is building structural slabs for five  future retail and restaurant pads located within the confines of the parking structure’s elevated deck, with service areas, including valet parking, on the level below.  
“The structural components of the garage consist of shear walls and post-tensioned slabs and beams up to the point where the retail pads start and then the post-tensioned slabs drop off and become a two-way, mild steel slab,” Prince explained. “All the beams are post-tensioned but the slabs are not, so the tenant-improvement contractors can core through the deck  to make any penetrations necessary for the future buildings.”

Bomel crews are coordinating their work with Utah-based Layton Construction, the general contractor for construction of the outlet center buildings, which Prince said are “not immediately impacting our work since they have begun their work at the opposite side of the site from the parking structure.”

Developer Craig told the Register that the first phase of construction will create up to 1,500 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs at the shops and restaurants.

In terms of complexity and dealing with all the different radii of the new garage’s arches and the height of construction, Prince rates this project in the 8.5-9.0 range.

“The biggest construction challenges on this project deal with the architectural formwork that we are putting together,” he said. “There is some real unique geometry on many of the different formed surfaces which has been a welcome challenge for our engineering and formwork crews.

“So far everything has turned out well. Our superintendent on the site, Tim Perdew, has done a phenomenal job of making this project proceed safely and productively.”

About Bomel Construction Co.: Established in 1970, Anaheim Hills, Calif.-based Bomel Construction is a family-owned business that generated $135 million in total revenue in 2013. In addition to many retail projects, the design-build concrete contractor has completed major parking structures and performed extensive structural concrete work for municipalities, casinos, stadiums and large-scale commercial and institutional projects throughout the western U.S. Bomel has regional offices in Carlsbad, Calif., and Las Vegas.

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