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Reviving a downtown structure

image 612 Brazos, The Refinery, downtown Austin. Photos courtesy of Chase Daniel.

AUSTIN - In 1999, a group of entrepreneurs with a commitment to excellence in construction got together to form Blue & Associates Inc. CEO Tom Jay, COO Don Jay and Senior Vice President Gib Jones were among the leaders who developed a vision for a superior organization. Together, they skillfully took advantage of improved efficiencies in the areas of commercial design/build and construction services.



     Tackling the remodel of an existing two-story, 10,000sf steel and brick structure was a perfect fit for the Blue & Associates team. The remodel of the 612 Brazos shell building also included the excavation and construction of a 1,500sf basement space addition for a total cost just under $2.5 million, which was completed in 12 short months. For Owner Manish Patel with P&W Ventures LLC, this reconfirmed that his general contractor choice for the project was the right choice.    
     Primary exterior construction materials used for the remodel of 612 Brazos, home to The Refinery co-working space and the Squeezery juice bar, included glazed brick tiles with brass trim, prefinished aluminum panels and a stucco backdrop for a custom, commissioned art mural.  Interior finishes were kept simple in order to provide a clean and soothing atmosphere. Whitewashed exposed ceilings, painted gypsum board walls with polished concrete floors illuminated the interior. Blue & Associates also constructed each tenant finish, although these were under separate contracts.
    A big challenge was the excavation of the basement, simply because of the logistics involved in excavating and exporting very dense bedrock out from below the building. Construction in downtown Austin, a highly congested and busy area, proved to be an additional challenge. There were also structural challenges involved with remodeling a structure more than a century old.
    The east façade art mural, which wraps around the building, is unique in its own right.  Still, the corner location with the massive glazing wall on the north elevation makes for a very impressive stage, which is home to a highly successful co-working space, juice bar and an exclusive gathering space for cocktails.
    The construction team consisted of Donald Jay, Gib Jones, and Micah Land with Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.
     “Reflecting on the many logistical challenges and in-process restructuring, we could not have worked with a better design and ownership team.  As we peeled back the many layers of the building, we had to be very proactive in understanding how to address and resolve the challenges as a team, keeping the design intent at the forefront while maintaining an appropriate budget.  It proved to be a very strong relationship that has continued beyond completion of the project,” says Jones. –cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net