Plaza Construction – 1000 Museum Tower
Credit Daniel Azoulay/1000 Museum
Plaza is staying on schedule with 1000 Museum Tower after surviving Hurricane Irma.
By Alan Dorich
The construction market in southern Florida is booming, which makes it a good time to develop projects in Miami. “It’s a top-five city,” Kevin Venger says. “There’s a [wide range] of reasons that people want to live here.”
Venger, who has developed projects in the city for the last 20 years, is at work on 1000 Museum Tower, a 62-story mixed-use building. “It’s primarily a condo project, but it does have a retail component down on the ground floor,” he says.
When finished, 1000 Museum Tower will have 83 living units, including four two-story half-floor town-house residences, half-floor residences between levels 15 and 49, and amazing full floor residences from 50 through 59. Its amenities will include a double height main lobby, air-conditioned valet lounge and covered motor court on its ground floor, a pool deck with various pools and cabanas, fitness center and full spa on the eighth and ninth floors, and entertainment room, theatre, private dining room and an aquatic center on its 60th and 61st floors.
But one of the more distinctive features of 1000 Museum Tower is a helicopter pad at the top of the building. Today, “We’re the only residential building with a helicopter pad approved by the FAA,” Venger declares.
The building also will have a safety deposit vault where every tenant has his or her own deposit box. “You’ve got to have your thumbprint to open the door and the safety deposit box itself,” he notes.
Building the Skeleton
Plaza Construction started building 1000 Museum Tower in 2015 and will finish end of 2018. Venger had not previously worked with the builder, but it had the right experience to work in Miami.
“They had built a neighboring property, the Marquis, which is a project a block down from where we are building,” he says, explaining that this gave the contractor a real understanding of working in a downtown Miami setting and how to operate logistically and efficiently in that area.
Plaza also brought the willingness to take on one of the project’s largest challenges: an exoskeleton made from glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) forms. “They wanted it to be a true structure exoskeleton that was exposed,” Plaza Project Executive Paul Fleckenstein recalls.
Over several months, Plaza worked with multiple companies to develop ways to create the exoskeleton. After reviewing many options, “We started exploring this whole idea of where you could use permanent formwork for a vertical building as long as the engineering was there,” he says.
This led to the project team putting the forms on the sides of the building and filling them with concrete. Although this shaved six months off the project schedule, it required a substantial amount of coordination, Venger admits.
After the forms were shipped from oversees to Miami, assembled and transported to the site, “Holding them together and filling them with concrete logistically was very challenging,” he recalls.
The building’s curved structure added to the complexity. “Nothing is straight,” he says. “You’ve got to hold these massive columns that are sloping on a floor-by-floor basis.”
But the finished product sets 1000 Museum Tower from other buildings in the area. “The exoskeleton is a shade of white,” Fleckenstein says. “It’s completely unique compared to anything else that’s down here.”
Mother Nature presented her share of challenges to 1000 Museum Tower when Hurricane Irma hit Miami in September. “The storms came on the 11th, but we started to prepare at least a week before,” Venger recalls. “We were preparing until the day before the storm came.”
That preparation paid off for Plaza and the project team. “There’s some damage here and there with a few cabinets, doors and some drywall, but we had no major issues on our project,” he reports.
“We always knew that if this storm hit us during this hurricane season, we would be the most exposed,“ Venger says. “But we were able to weather it without many issues. We’re almost back to normal operation throughout.”
Venger sees a strong future for the 1000 Museum Tower project, which is staying on schedule. “We will top off the building at the end of this year and finish the building by the end of next year,” he says, adding that only two more residential floors need to be poured. “Then we have the aquatic center and the helipad.”
Fleckenstein also predicts Plaza will stay busy in Miami. The City recently approved the multi-block Miami World Center development involving decommissioning city streets and creating an open pedestrian mall, now under construction a block from the 1000 Museum Tower.
Plaza also will soon start building another tower in Miami. “There’s plenty of work down here,” he says. “It isn’t slowing down in the Miami area at all.”