January 01


Ghirardelli Square: Rehabilitation / Hotel Conversion

Project Size:  134,720 sf

Construction Type: Type II, III and IV construction

Units: 54 luxury one, two and three bedroom units

Unit Size: 1,400 to 1,900 sf

The project encompassed the rehabilitation and seismic retrofit of 5 factory buildings and connecting structures listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.  The goal for the project was to create in the main buildings of Ghirardelli Square, a new Fairmont hotel.  This would serve as the cornerstone project in the revitalization of the adjacent plaza and retail buildings and provide an anchor to the Fishermans Wharf district.

The site was originally designed in the style of an Italian Factory village with housing and work buildings built around a central garden.  The oldest building, the Woolen Mill, is pre-Civil War and was used to make uniforms for both Union and Confederate soldiers.  The other buildings were used in the manufacture of Cocoa, Chocolate and Mustard and date from the early 20th century.  The Clock Tower building is the youngest building and is significantly different in its reinforced concrete structure as opposed to the heavy timber and masonry structures of the other buildings.   In the 1960′s, the factory operations were moved elsewhere and the site was the first conversion of a historic building into a retail mall in the US.  The independent buildings were connected with stair towers and ramps and the central garden area was raised and converted into a central parking structure with a plaza and various retail buildings on top.  The site, at this point, was added to the Historic Register.  In early 2000′s, city code required the seismic retrofit of the masonry buildings and the developer JMA had a vision to revitalize this premier San Francisco site.  The square is now a destination for a four star Fairmont hotel, and high-end retail, wine shops, restaurants and the famous Ghirardelli chocolate shop.

As with buildings of this nature, the project faced many technical and design challenges.   To eliminate concrete shear walls that would cover most of the historic brick work, we worked with the structural engineer to develop a unique “core and reinforcing” system for the existing masonry walls.  The existing foundations also sat on sand.  To solidify and secure the earth, grout was injected into the sands around the entire perimeter of the project to stabilize the sand.  Portions of the masonry faces required repair after years of water damage.  We faced design challenges.  The off-module structure of the existing buildings forced us to create over twenty unique unit designs.  Thus, the coordination of the MEP alone became a detailed and on-going task.  We rethought the flow and function of kitchens and dining rooms to meet the design requirements of a 4-star hotel in limited space.  We sensitively added to the existing historic structures to improve safety on open stairs and balconies and security for the hotel.  Unused roof decks were reclaimed for recreational and common space.  The buildings were cosmetically refurbished with new paint on windows, railings, plaster coating and recreated historic downspouts where required. The peaking of the economy during the project meant that costs escalated and required re-bidding and value engineering the project as CD’s were completed.  After over three years, the project opened.  Today, the hotel consistently receives 4 star plus reviews and has been called on of the best hotel in San Francisco.  I am proud of my work on the project and what our team accomplished.

Project Team:
Client: Cocoa Development Associates, LLC c/o JMA Venutres LLC
Architect: Hornberger + Worstell, Inc.  Architects, Personal Role:  Lead Project Architect
Interior Designer:  Sue Firestone & Associates
Structural Engineer:  Rivera Consulting (Primary Engineer)
Landscape Architect: SWA Group, Inc.
Civil Engineer: KCA Engineers, Inc.
MEP Design/Build:  Acco Engineered Systems
Geotech Engineer:  Treadwell & Rollo
Life Safety / Code Consultant: Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc.
Lighting Consultant: Integrated Lighting Design
Acoustical Consultant: Charles M. Salter Associates
Waterproofing Consultant: McGinnis Chen Associates, Inc.
Electrical Design / Build: Rosendin Electric, Inc.
Sprinkler / Fire Protection Design/Build: Allied Fire Protection
For Photos, Click on this link:http://www.fairmontheritageplace.com/heritageplace/ghirardelli/Photos/For Vitual Tours, Click on this link:http://www.fairmontheritageplace.com/heritageplace/ghirardelli/Photos/propertyvrx.htmFor articles about the project, Click on this link:http://www.allbusiness.com/retail/retailers-food-beverage-stores-beer-wine-liquor/5307435-1.html

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