500 Pearl Street Parking Garage in Buffalo, New York, is a massive, 380,000-square-foot, $70 million facility that was completed in 2019, with the apartments opening in February that year and the rest opening in June. This space comprises fourteen luxury apartments, over one hundred Aloft hotel rooms, a five-floor parking garage, 52,000 square feet of office space, 11,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, large banquet and meeting spaces, and the tallest rooftop bar in the City of Buffalo.
Given 500 Pearl Street’s busy downtown location, the success of the project required minimal impact at the job site, an expedited construction schedule, and easy integration.
The architect’s design incorporated many materials on the façade, including finished precast and metal panels. In addition, podium parking structures can present different challenges from stand-alone parking structures in the engineering detail required to integrate multiple materials and their tolerances in the final design and installation. Being in a busy location, there was no room for error, and much consideration, calculation, planning, and coordination was given to meet the designer’s concept for the space.
“Concrete was chosen for several reasons: durability, straightforward erection, structural capacity, and the fact that we could incorporate the finished material into the look we wanted for the building by augmenting it with other materials.” -Ray Bednarski President & CEO Kideney Architects
In order to optimize construction and minimize risk, the precast producer was consulted early on in the project timeline to assist in the design development of the precast structure. Efficiently executed with 3D BIM modeling, the first six floors of the structure were made of precast concrete that was shipped from Pennsylvania and immediately ready for assembly once it arrived at the job site. The use of precast concrete facilitated construction and greatly reduced the amount of on-site work required compared to using cast-in-place concrete.
In order to minimize disruption to the location, the project team collaborated with adjacent businesses throughout construction to work through logistics and accommodate the delivery of materials. They also took steps, like scheduling work at non-peak times, to minimize noise and disturbance to the project’s surrounding area.