Hunt Construction is on track to finish its Bleu Ciel project in 2017.
By Alan Dorich
When Hunt Construction Group, An AECOM Company, (Hunt) takes on a project, the entire staff feels a sense of teamwork, making it “fun to come in and come to work,” Project Executive Clint Binkley says. “People enjoy working on the project.”
The company nurtures that feeling of camaraderie as it builds Bleu Ciel Tower, a 33-story luxury condominium project in the district of HARWOOD in Dallas. Hunt started in 2015 and expects to be finished by August 2017.
Levels one through five in the tower will feature retail space and amenities connected to the condominiums, Binkley says. The sixth floor will have an infinity pool and two garden home units, and levels seven through 27 will feature “the bulk of the condominium suites,” he adds.
Floors 28 through 32 in Bleu Ciel will feature penthouse units, while its 33rd floor will have two pools that “cantilever over the side of the building,” Binkley says. “It’s a very, very unique feature and one that will be enjoyed immensely by the future owners.”
Hunt’s client on the project is Bleu Ciel Tower Development, which is being developed by Harwood International, designed by Paris-based Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Dallas-based HDF. Harwood International’s subsidiary, HCMS, is overseeing the project and Sphinx, Harwood International’s construction company is the general contractor for the building’s interiors.
To date, Harwood International has developed a total of approximately 3.5 million square feet in the 18-city block HARWOOD District, and plan to build an additional 7 million square feet across 30 acres. There are a total of seven developments with three developments currently under construction.
This is the first time Hunt has worked with all three companies. So far, “[It’s been] great,” Binkley says. “This is a challenging project and we’re all working hard together as a team to try to pull it off.”
Located in Dallas’ district of HARWOOD, the Bleu Ciel Tower will be “a fantastic looking building,” Binkley says, noting that unit sales have gone well for the project. “People are just excited.
“It’s going to bring a lot of growth to this part of uptown,” he says. “It’s going to be a great addition to the HARWOOD District.”
Worth the Effort
The construction of Bleu Ciel comes with challenges, as all projects do, Binkley says. “But with teamwork, communication and a successful relationship with our owner, we will certainly meet and exceed all of those to provide a spectacular building,” he asserts.
Initially, excavation of the project site was a test. Although Bleu Ciel will be 33-level tower, a 56-foot-deep hole had to be excavated in order to house the underground, individual, parking garage units for owners. The excavation schedule ran in to the beginning of the structure schedule.
Hunt built a temporary retention system to keep the spoil overburden from the temporary ramp from jeopardizing the progress at the elevator core. Once that was in place, the company poured the foundations for the core and formed the walls to begin going vertical.
The tower’s structure also has brought its share of challenges. “The shear walls of the elevator and stair cores are extremely large,” he explains. “We’ve been trying to maintain a six-day concrete pour cycle, but because of the size of that core, it takes a lot of coordinating and effort, but that is what this Hunt team does so well.”
Hunt has successfully stayed safe on the site, thanks to the efforts of its full-time, onsite Safety Representative John Honish, Binkley says. Hunt also has implemented a dedicated safety crew and holds job wide safety meetings at the start of each week.
Hunt also has been fortunate to employ safety conscious subcontractors, Binkley says. The owner also employs a third-party safety representative that ensures that the project is in accordance with OSHA regulations.
Founded in 1944, Hunt is a leader in the construction industry. “Hunt develops and trains its team of professionals in order to continue its reputation as unmatched leaders and innovators of the industry,” the company says.
Binkley, who has 16 years with the company, credits its success to its people. “They’re all pretty down to Earth,” he says. “They’re honest and treat people fairly. It’s just a good, comfortable place.”
The company has learned lessons on the Bleu Ciel Tower project, including that it cannot prepare too much on a project of this size. “Sometimes in these kind of jobs, things come up so fast,” he says. “[No matter how much] planning as you may do, it seems like there can never be enough.”
Hunt also focused on getting an early start on the project, Binkley says. “It’s good ... to have the team really engaged as possible, so they’re not trying to play catch up and barely trying to stay ahead,” he states.
After the tower is finished, Hunt will keep busy. “As far as the business development over the next few years, it looks like the market is still going to be great,” he says. “There are a lot of opportunities to take a look at.”
This is particularly true in the Dallas market, which “is phenomenal,” he says. “This is the busiest year we’ve had, and this next fiscal year is going to be one of the biggest years we’ve had. The market across Texas is amazing, and we see a lot of work on the horizon.”