William A. Randolph Inc. – Trailhead Mixed Use Development

William A. RandolphWilliam A. Randolph is using cold formed steel panelized construction to boost quality and construction speed on the Hyatt Place Hotel and Apartment Buildings.
By Alan Dorich

William A. Randolph Inc. is a National Commercial builder with 60 years in Business. Randolph has developed the expertise to build projects such as the Hyatt Place in Royal Oak, Mich., using leading edge construction methods that meet its customer’s requirements. The company’s experience helped it determine that the best approach for these buildings was panelized construction.

“We believe it’s more cost effective than a precast structure and masonry and hollow core plank,” Project Manager Peter Farquhar says. “It’s the optimal structure that provides quality and economics for this type of building product... and have become leaders in this field.”

Randolph is building the six-story hotel in Royal Oak for developer Trailhead RO LLC, a group of investors led by the Namou Hotel Group. The project also includes an eight-story apartment building next door to the hotel and a two-story parking deck. “It’s approximately 300,000 total square feet for all three buildings,” Farquhar says.

The parking deck will be finished in June 2018, and Randolph will complete work on the hotel in July. The contractor also will break ground on the apartment building this December and have it finished by April 2019.

The 123-room hotel is not Randolph’s first Hyatt project. “We’ve built five Hyatt projects,” Farquhar says, noting those include locations in Chicago and another Hyatt Place that is under construction in Milwaukee.

Doing it Better

Panelized construction provides cost advantages for multiple reasons, Farquhar says. Because the panels are manufactured in a plant, “The consistency and the accuracy of the panels is better than what can be done in the field,” he explains.

The panels also are engineered and designed to the building’s specific requirements, allowing it to reduce the floor to floor heights. “We’re also able to close a floor in two weeks,” he says.

“That’s a much shorter time frame for constructing this hotel than a typical project,” he continues, adding that Randolph will finish the hotel in 12 to 13 months. “That is a significantly shorter duration than most of our competitors.”

Panelized construction also provides a shorter lead time. “The lead times for precast cast are often six months or better, whereas we can get these panels in three to four months,” he says. William A. Randolph box

“It’s a more timely process, and we believe it’s a higher quality product than a wood construction,” Farquhar says. “It’s probably comparable in cost, but you can’t build this particular project with wood construction due to height limitations. Due to building code, wood structures are sometimes limited to four stories or less.”

Randolph also has provided design guidance on this method during the project. “This is the first project that we’re aware of in the greater Detroit [area] that’s using this steel panelized process,” he says. “We’re working closely with the local designers and subcontractors to show them what’s necessary and how to build them.”

GREEN Construction

Randolph needed to complete extensive site work on Hyatt Place’s location. “The site had been built on for over 100 years,” Farquhar says, explaining that the contractor had to remove 6,000 cubic yards of old concrete foundations.

“We mined the sand that was there, and we created a very ideal foundation for this project moving forward,” he recalls. “From a green perspective, we were able to recycle most of the concrete.”

The company also took the Class II sand it found on the site and re-compacted it. “That saved the owner a substantial amount of money,” he says. “We’re not pursuing any LEED credits on this particular project.”

Making Changes

Randolph has shown its flexibility during the project. “Originally, we were engaged to only build the hotel,” Farquhar recalls, adding that other contractors were hired to construct the apartment building and parking deck.

But when those builders were unable to meet the schedule, “We were subsequently awarded the site work and the other buildings,” he says. Randolph then worked closely with the designers and engineers to speed up the development of the drawings for the two structures.

Randolph also met the challenge of the apartment building being extended from six to eight stories. “We had to revise the design and, to support it, we had to grow the parking deck to increase the number of spaces,” he says, noting that overall parking will have 350 spaces when finished.

Despite these changes, Randolph has stayed on schedule for the delivery of the hotel. “Our company excels at complex projects and customer service,” Farquhar declares. “That’s why they hire us, and it’s definitely why they ask us to do repeat projects.”

Moving Forward

Based in Gurnee, Ill., and New York City, Randolph provides general contracting services throughout the United States. Farquhar adds that Michigan is proving to be a very strong market for the company. “The Detroit area is bustling right now,” he says.

Although the company worked to hire local subcontractors for the Hyatt Place project, “We had to adapt and bring in people where there was a gap in subcontractor availability,” he says, adding that Randolph hired others from west Michigan, Chicago and Kentucky. 

Randolph plans to continue to stay busy for the foreseeable future, Farquhar says. “The multifamily and hotel sectors are very robust at present,” he says. “We see this moving forward like this for the next few years.”

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