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An architectural gem

image 500 West 2nd Street exterior view overlooking Lady Bird Lake

AUSTIN - In the heart of Austin’s central business district, Trammell Crow Company and joint venture partner Principal Real Estate Investors are invested in the development of Austin, as seen through their commitment to redevelop the entire Thomas Green Water Treatment plant, giving it a new look and a new identity. 500 West 2nd Street was the second in four phases to redevelop this historic piece of downtown Austin.


    The Beck Group who has a storied history working with Trammell Crow, with over 40 years of partnership on construction projects throughout Texas was honored to be selected to build this 500,500-sf Class A office building located at the corner of Second and San Antonio Streets and began construction in January 2015.  The 500 West 2nd Street phase of the
project was completed in May 2017.
    The ground floor features the office lobby and approximately 10,763sf of retail space. Office space is located on levels 14-29, while the garage consists of two levels of subgrade parking and 12 levels of above grade parking located directly beneath the office levels. The office building and garage consist of a cast-in-place concrete structure with a full curtain wall facade. A portion of the 14th floor serves as a tenant amenity center with an 8,628-sf conference center and great room, including a 2,052-sf outdoor terrace with views of Lady Bird Lake. The mezzanine level is also home to a modern fitness center with locker rooms and showers.
    The project site is adjacent to multiple residential buildings, so it was important to maintain a good relationship and open communication with these groups. Several construction activities were carefully coordinated to lessen any impact to the site’s residential and business neighbors.  Because the floor plates at 500 West 2nd are some of the largest in any downtown Austin office tower, approaching 33,422sf, the extensive amount of concrete required to pour these decks were poured at night to mitigate concrete truck traffic and noise.  Coordinating the curtain-wall application was also performed at night and the scheduling, which was extremely fast, fell during the wettest years of Austin’s recent history.
    Wide load permits were acquired to transport the steel trellises that adorn the top of the building that were pre-fabricated offsite and extremely heavy and timed for precise arrival so they could be lifted to the top of the building and not impact the already in place curtain wall.
    The 500 West 2nd is the first office building in downtown Austin to employ Destination Dispatch, software optimized for people flow and designed to increase travel efficiency in buildings with high numbers of elevator users. The advanced dispatching system directs passengers to the elevator that will get them to their destination in the shortest amount of time.  Beck coordinated the build-out of all of the technology required to host this system and facilitated multiple rounds of testing to ensure it was working properly before tenants began to move into their new offices.
    The exterior façade of 500 West 2nd is entirely curtain-wall and incorporated different techniques to deliver Gensler’s design intent. The lobby level features a two-story, 26sf-tall frameless glass wall with a Starphire glass application.
    The lobby has multiple innovative upscale features with floor and wall tiles hand-selected by the design and construction team in Italy.  The lobby’s wall stone arrived from France and the bronze of the fin wall elements originated in Germany, but fabricated in New York.  These walls serve as architectural screen elements in two locations of the lobby.
    The lobby’s massive 12,000-lb security desk made of cantilevered stainless steel, stone, bronze and wood, was built in place during the final stages of construction. The lobby’s wood flooring is made of 100-year-old teakwood reclaimed from Bali.
    Beck’s project executive, Tom Woods and project superintendents, Bryan Smith and Dave Dlugosh worked closely with the architect in all phases of construction.
    Founded in 1912, The Beck Group is a collaborative team of designers and builders, offering planning, architecture, interior design, construction and sustainability consulting services. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net