The Vue: What Goes Up Must Start Underground

Fri October 24, 2008 - Southeast Edition
Jennifer Hetrick




As Charlotte, N.C., grows at a rapid pace, residents seeking a taste of luxury will have a new venue in which to set up housekeeping. The R.J. Griffin Company, Charlotte, N.C., broke ground on The Vue, a 53-story, 409-unit condominium tower at the northwest corner of Fifth and Pine streets, in April.

Amenities for what will be one of the tallest buildings in Charlotte include residence units ranging from studio to three-bedroom, boardrooms, health club, cyber café, pool and private tenant parking.

The structure is rising out of a 1.16-acre (0.45 ha) corner lot that is bordered by two occupied lots and two busy streets, making for an extremely tight working space. R.J. Griffin has a team of 25 professionals maintaining on-site management and supervision to ensure that things go smoothly in those close quarters.

But before the tower goes up, a lot has to go into the ground. The Vue will have 106 caissons with overlying grade beams and mat foundations for anchoring the concrete, two-way post-tensioned superstructure. Beneath the street will be the building’s mechanical and electrical operations, a trash compactor and recycling area, an elevator machine room, a communications room and the fire pump and emergency generator rooms.

As crews worked toward establishing the building’s underground heart, their welfare was watched over by Coble Trench Safety, Greensboro, N.C. Founded in 2002 by Tom Coble, the company sells and rents trench- and traffic-safety equipment. In addition to the safety equipment, Coble offers pipe testing equipment, construction lasers, confined space equipment and a variety of other tools suited for working underground. The company offers OSHA-compliant training classes including Competent Person training and Confined Space training on an ongoing basis at a number of locations.

According to Richard Overman, Coble Trench Safety was involved with The Vue project and with R.J. Griffin from the inception of the project. Coble’s work began in May 2008, with the installation of a 37-ft. wide by 42-ft. long by 15-ft. deep (9.1 m by 12.8 m by 4.5 m) twin-bay, single tieback, slide-rail pit configuration enclosure.

This Coble system was put in place at the Vue project “to install the core of the building. This structural foundation core sits in the middle of the tower and serves as the lowest anchoring point of the 53-story condo tower. It also doubles as the four-bank elevator pit,” Garrett Connor, assistant project manager for R.J. Griffin explained.

Coble Trench Safety was able to remove the system on schedule, helping the Vue to move more quickly toward its estimated completion date in 2011. CEG