Swinerton Builders and Jacobsen Construction Joint Venture – The Beverly Center


Swinerton Builders and Jacobsen Construction come together to renovate the Beverly Center with no impact on its day-to-day operations.

By Stephanie Crets

Swinerton Builders and Jacobsen Construction have been working together on various projects for past 15 years. The latest major project the companies have undertaken as a joint venture is the renovation of the popular shopping center, The Beverly Center, in downtown Los Angeles.

The original mall was built in 1981 and has gone through several remodels, but this renovation will make it better than ever with more natural light and a plethora of new dining options. “We’re giving it a facelift and creating what will hopefully be a more enjoyable shopping experience,” says Steve Nelson, project executive and vice president of Jacobsen Construction.Swinterton info box

“The Beverly Center holds a special place in L.A.’s imagination – it’s where an entire generation of Angelenos went on first dates, bought prom dresses and met up with friends on weekends,” says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement about the project. “Reimagining it for the 21st century is a tremendous investment in making those timeless experiences possible for the next generation of Angelenos. These plans capture the spirit of ambition and innovation that is driving our city’s economic resurgence.”

Renovations began on the eight-story mall in March 2016, with the project expected to be complete in January 2018. Some of the new features of the 886,000-square-foot Beverly Center include:

* New skylights that will bathe the entire center in natural light;

* Metal panels added to the exterior that incorporate a perforated steel façade;

* A new streetscape to be more walker-friendly;

* Street-level restaurants on West Third Street to embrace a pedestrian-oriented environment;

* State-of-the-art smart parking system for five floors of parking to dramatically improve the center’s arrival and departure experience;

* A new food hall to include 15 to 18 high-end eateries, along with nine new restaurants; and

* LED screens, plenty of places to sit, relax and plug in, and can accommodate hosted events, exhibitions and installations in the center of the mall.

The center will continue to be anchored by Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, and will have more than 100 of the world’s most coveted retail brands. Additions to the retail lineup will be announced over the course of the project. However, Swinerton and Jacobsen are not doing anything with the stores or retail spaces, but instead are focusing their work on the common areas, corridors, parking garage, and new food hall and restaurants.

To help with this, they’re working with about 350 skilled laborers and craftsmen. “It’s a completely collaborative effort between developer, owner, architect and ourselves,” Nelson explains. “As a team, we’ve made a selection on who would be the best subcontractors to perform this renovation.”

Remaining Operational

One of the biggest challenges for the $500 million renovation has been keeping the Beverly Center in operation while the renovations happen. “You’ve got 350 men inside, trying to do a renovation and trying to keep the shoppers happy and the mall happy, and that’s been a major undertaking,” Nelson says. “We’ve accomplished it through coordination with the mall and our people working nights to have as small of an impact as possible on the shoppers’ experience.”

Safety remains both Swinerton and Jacobsen’s highest priority for both the workers and shoppers. The companies have a safety coordination meeting every morning, along with a full-time safety coordinator on site for both the day and night shifts. Every supervisory position is tasked with reviewing safety efforts, task planning and mapping out potential risks and hazards, depending on the work to be done that day. “We spend a lot of time and effort on barricades and signage, trying to keep the patrons away from the construction and maintain a safe work environment,” Nelson notes.

The collaborative effort between mall management and the construction crews has been extremely beneficial to the process. “We can’t believe just how much pre-planning it has taken to pull this off,” Nelson says. “We do it on a daily basis, coordinating what we’re going to be doing, the areas that will be affected to keep their management aware. As we’re doing our shutdowns of power or water, that coordination process is extremely important and time sensitive. It takes a lot of time and planning to pull that off, and we can see this process being applied to many projects in the future.

“I’m proud that we’ve been able to do this with little impact on the shoppers, along with no incidents or injuries,” he continues. “And I’m also excited with the way it’s turning out. The look and quality for the final product is extremely high. That’s very satisfying not only to us, but to our client as well.”

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