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Kraft Continues to Revitalize Sarasota With High-Rises

Wed September 29, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni



Kraft Construction Company Inc. has been awarded contracts to build two of downtown Sarasota, FL’s, largest projects: Plaza at Five Points and One Hundred Central/Whole Foods Market Centre. Both projects are mixed-use developments that will include condominiums, retail and office space.

Kraft is sharing cranes between the two projects because of the logistics and constraints of the job sites. Downtown Sarasota is undergoing major revitalization, and Kraft is contributing to it with these latest structures.

The $75-million Plaza at Five Points is a 16-story high-rise that will have 50 condominium units, 14,456 sq. ft. (1,301 sq m) of retail space and 87,000 sq. ft. (7,830 sq m) of Class A office space. The residential units will be on the building’s top seven floors with retail, commercial and parking space reserved for the bottom nine floors.

The developer of Plaza at Five Points is Houston-based Ersa Grae Corporation. Architectural firm, ADP Group Inc. of Sarasota, provided the neoclassical design for the high-rise, which is situated in the heart of Downtown Sarasota. Naples, FL-based Kraft Construction, the construction manager, began construction on Plaza at Five Points in October 2003.

Across the street, the $55-million One Hundred Central/Whole Foods Market Centre project encompasses the entire city block between 1st and 2nd streets and Central and Lemon avenues. One Hundred Central is 11 stories tall and will include 95 condominium units and 60,000 sq. ft. (5,400 sq m) of retail space, which includes the 36,000-sq.-ft. (3,240 sq m) anchor store, Whole Foods Market.

The One Hundred Central project, under way since November 2003, is a public-private partnership being developed by Casto-Zenith Venture LLC. This partnership includes Casto Lifestyle Properties, Zenith Insurance Company and the city of Sarasota, which owned some of the land.

Kraft’s president and CEO, Fred Pezeshkan, is credited as the visionary that led to the revitalization in downtown Sarasota. After being involved in a number of construction projects in the successful redevelopment of downtown Naples, Pezeshkan continued to search for areas with growth and vibrancy. In Sarasota, he saw a downtown area ready for change.

“Whenever possible, I want to be part of such dynamic economic development,” Pezeshkan said.

It was important to bring in a team that could mutually benefit and assist downtown Sarasota in reaching its potential.

Pezeshkan was able to assemble the necessary professional team of the developer, the architect, the anchor tenant, the financing, and, of course, Kraft Construction Company, to commence the first project to be built in downtown Sarasota in 15 years –– The Plaza at Five Points.

The immediate success of the project served as a spark to the multitude of other similar projects that soon followed and is responsible for the reawakening of the city.

“I am very proud to have been instrumental in the Plaza at Five Points and so excited in seeing my vision become a reality with such a quality team in such a great city,” Pezeshkan added.

The city of Sarasota has been instrumental in getting the projects under way and helping Kraft proceed smoothly.

“We are thankful that the City of Sarasota allowed us to close 1st Street and Central Street,” said Paul Benson, project executive of Kraft’s Sarasota office. If not, he continued, “it would have been impossible to do within the time constraints and the logistics.”

The time constraints Benson mentioned are the 12-month schedules each building is on. Consequently, the company has between 22 and 24 months to complete the superstructures including site utilities and perimeter roadwork.

Both buildings are being constructed of concrete post tension systems, and work consists of a flying forms system for form work. The completion date for both projects is scheduled for June 2005.

To complete the buildings by the delivery date, Kraft rented various types of cranes that are being used between the two job sites. Before setting up the cranes, the company used AUTOCAD for coordination of crane layouts and site analysis to make sure the job site had enough capacity.

This preplanning allowed Kraft to ensure that the cranes would cover the entire plate so that there was enough crane capacity to lift forms in order to avoid closing other streets.

Each job site has one Liebherr 200 tower crane that, according to Benson, is “dedicated 100 percent to the job.” Allied Crane Services Inc. of Naples supplied the Liebherr cranes.

In addition, Kelley Equipment Company of Florida, based in Clearwater, is providing a number of Manitowoc cranes for both projects. Kraft rented one Manitowoc 888 230-ton (207 t) crane that is primarily servicing the One Hundred Central building for work on the pool deck and amenities. At Plaza at Five Points, the company is using a Manitowoc 4100 crawler crane.

“We will take down the 888 since we’ve finished [using it],” explained Benson, “and keep the 4100 Manitowoc for both towers, which will be used for the finishing phase.”

Furthermore, the Manitowoc 4100 will be used to take down the tower cranes from their final resting heights. Because of the site constraints, the tower cranes are too close to the buildings, and they cannot be jacked down.

In addition to sharing cranes, the contractor tries to coordinate other types of equipment and even subcontractors between the two sites.

“As much as possible, we try to share any of our horizontal moving equipment,” said Benson. “Strategically, we have the same subcontractors on each job site for form work, mechanical and electrical and plumbing.”

Site limitations also have resulted in an off site staging area. Rebar, concrete blocks and supplies for the subcontractors are all staged off site. Workers must park off site as well and ride a bus to the work area.

Benson said there is also “close coordination with pours between buildings.” Workers begin prepping for the concrete slab deck pours at 3:30 in the morning and start the pours at 4:30. The objective is to be finished with the horizontal pour for the day by 10:00 am. In the afternoon, workers complete between 60 to 100 yds. (54.6 to 91 m) of vertical concrete pours.

An unforeseen obstacle that Kraft is trying to work through is the current cement shortage. The lack of cement availability and trying to schedule pours in light of this problem has become “a juggling act,” said Benson.

Benson cannot confirm whether or not this situation is a result of all of the hurricanes that have hit Florida recently. Even though Sarasota has not been directly hit by any of the hurricanes, Benson acknowledged, “We have been hit because of battening down and spotty work.”

Two days before Hurricane Charley, the flying forms had to be tied down with aircraft wire cable, and the contractor had to accelerate the schedule to make concrete pours. During Hurricane Frances, the area received sustained gusts of wind in the 60 to 80 mph range, but there was no damage on the job sites. The only impact from Hurricane Ivan was delayed work due to rain.

Currently, construction is moving ahead with work completed up to the 11th floor on Plaza at Five Points and up to the 5th floor on One Hundred Central. There are approximately five to six floors left on each building.

In addition to its Sarasota and Naples offices, Kraft Construction has an office in Ft. Myers, FL.