Developer Bets on the Over-Under With The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino May 2007
3700 Associates, LLC maximizes their luck in new high-rise development by building down first
STURTEVANT, WI (May 1, 2007) – East coast chic will be realized on the sultry Las Vegas Strip with the construction of The Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino’s double tower, urban high-rise design. The combination of the luxurious architectural design and the amount of concrete and steel needed to complete the project will unquestionably influence the future make up of the Strip’s skyline.
Manhattan Meets Sin City Just at the time when the Las Vegas real estate industry expressed the need to have more vertical and urbanized approaches to architecture on the Las Vegas strip, Ian Bruce Eichner, CEO at 3700 Associates, LLC, the owner and developer of The Cosmopolitan, was also setting his sights on Las Vegas for his next real estate endeavor. Eichner has already made his footprint in the high-rise real estate market with projects including The Manhattan Club in New York City and the Continuum development in Miami’s South Beach district.
“The challenge for The Cosmopolitan project was to find a prime location at the center of the Strip where I could create a mixed-use, urban, high-rise property,” notes Eichner.
“I wanted to merge the concept of a luxury condo-hotel with an equally spectacular full service hotel, retail, gaming and meeting space development. Additionally, I wanted to bring in the Las Vegas business model that has been trending toward non-gaming attractions and facilities.”
To make Eichner’s “Manhattanized” vision for Las Vegas a reality, 3700 Associates, LLC joined forces with the Miami-based Arquitectonica as the Design Architect on the project and the Las Vegas-based Friedmutter Group as Executive Architect on the project. Grand Hyatt will make its grand entrance to the Las Vegas Strip along with Eichner; the global brand was chosen by 3700 Associates, LLC to manage meetings and conventions at The Cosmopolitan.
The two glass towers, East and West, that will comprise the property, will fit snugly right up to its 8.5 acre site property line and soar 600 ft. high between the Bellagio and the future MGM Mirage’s CityCenter urban complex.
“The complex’s stunning glass-enclosed atrium directly on the Strip will be an attraction in itself,” notes Eichner.
A Different Perspective As a result of the structure’s limited property space, Eichner opted to look below grade in order to gain more space for his project. He adopted a subterranean parking garage concept that is commonly used in the more urbanized cities in the United States where buildings are commonly right on top of one another.
Most of the parking garages for the hotels and resorts in Las Vegas are built on a foundation above ground because of the high water table. The Cosmopolitan’s underground parking garage will consist of five levels and is similar in design, but deeper, than the Palazzo Resort’s subterranean parking garage under construction near the Venetian on the north end of the Strip.
“To accommodate the 85 ft. deep below-grade parking structure, concrete slurry walls needed to be built 110 ft. deep into the ground,” says Steve DeWees, project executive with Perini Building Company, the general contractor for the project. While construction for The Cosmopolitan started in October 2005, DeWees and his team started building the slurry walls in early 2006.
“To build the 30 in. thick and 24 ft. wide slurry wall panel sections, we drilled holes with a hydro-mill and then placed 12-in. round tremie pipes into the holes with a funnel at the top. Ready mix trucks delivered the concrete via the funnel, through the tremie pipe and down into the ground,” says DeWees. “Delivering the concrete via the tremie system pipe versus through only the hydro-mill-dug hole, which was filled with ground water, kept the concrete intact. This method also prevented the concrete from bouncing off the rebar which causes the aggregates to separate.”
DeWees and his team also installed a permanent dewatering system beneath the resort and casino.
“The dewatering system is the first of its kind in Las Vegas and was necessary because the water table is only 16 ft. below ground level,” says DeWees. “The system will pump out up to 100,000 gallons of water a day for the life of the complex. The dewatering system is constructed of sump pumps, gravel and different fabrics.”
Once the slurry walls were complete and the dewatering system was in place in July 2006, an amazing 850,000 cu. yds. of soil was excavated by large backhoes and other excavators for the subterranean parking garage.
“As we excavated deeper, the site resembled a gigantic bathtub and the concrete slurry walls were exposed,” notes DeWees. “We installed 3,000 tie backs 85 ft. deep through the slurry wall panels and into the adjacent soil which support the concrete and prevent the walls from caving in.”
The tie backs will be a temporary support system for the concrete slurry walls until the structural steel is put into place for the garage.
“Deep underground parking like that used in The Cosmopolitan project will become an increasingly familiar sight in Las Vegas as new resorts take up as much developable land as possible on the Strip,” says DeWees.
It’s All in the Mix After excavation of the soil was complete, Perini called in the Las Vegas-based Quinn Concrete Pumping to pour and place concrete for the various footings, mat foundations and concrete slabs for The Cosmopolitan.
“We’ve worked with Perini before and were pleased to work with them again on such a monumental project,” notes Steve Heimark, operations manager for Quinn Concrete Pumping. “We knew our Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps and Telebelt® would be huge assets due to the need for multiple boom lengths and the shear volume of the mat pour.”
According to DeWees, there has been one main concrete mix and strength placed by Quinn Concrete Pumping’s Putzmeister equipment since they started working on the project in December 2006.
“The 6,000-psi concrete mix being placed by Quinn’s boom pumps is for the continuous footings, various mat and concrete slabs, and the West and East tower mat foundations,” comments DeWees. “The mix is made up of 57 percent coarse aggregate and 43 percent fine aggregate which includes water, cement and fly ash.”
An earthen ramp was built for the boom pumps and ready mix trucks for easy access down into the bath-tub-like hole.
Teamwork Quinn Concrete Pumping’s first three pours on The Cosmopolitan project site was for the 8-foot thick subterranean parking garage and West tower foundations in December 2006 and January 2007.
Their powerful 42-meter, 52Z-meter, and three 58-meter boom pumps and a truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyor worked together to place a total of 26,320 cu. yds. of concrete 85 feet below grade for the first three pours.
“Each of the concrete mat pours started at midnight and were completed the following afternoon,” notes DeWees.
“The concrete mat pour started at midnight and was completed the following afternoon,” notes DeWees.
“Our 42X-meter and two 58-meter pumps stretched from the ground-level down into the hole to place the concrete. At the same time, our 52Z-meter and 58-meter boom pumps and TB 130 were down in the hole placing concrete,” says Heimark. “It was a true joint effort by the six different machines. We even had our 42X-meter boom pump at ground level delivering concrete into the large 19.4 cu. ft. capacity hopper of our 52Z-meter pump down in the hole where it placed the concrete.”
The 58-meter boom pump was also on call with the 52Z-meter boom pump in the bath-tub-like hole. “The 52Z-meter and 58-meter’s equally impressive vertical reaches, 169' 7" and 188' 1", assisted in quick and precise placement of the concrete,” says Heimark. “The five-inch delivery lines on each of the unit’s boom sections provided efficient delivery of the concrete for the nonstop pour,” says Heimark.
Capable of placing everything from concrete to sand and aggregates up to 4" (100mm), the Telebelt’s 130 ft. reach was perfect for this job. “The TB 130 placed the concrete mix exactly where needed with complete ease,” says Heimark. “Like all of our equipment, the belt saved time by providing quick setup and fast material conveyance. There was no question the TB 130 would meet the project’s placement needs.”
Following the pours for the subterranean parking garage and West tower foundations, Quinn placed 10,140 cu. yds. of concrete with their boom pumps for the East tower foundation in February and March 2007. Additionally, Quinn handled the placement of other concrete footings and foundations for the project in early 2007.
“To date, Quinn Concrete Pumping has placed about 68,000 cu. yds. of concrete at The Cosmopolitan and will be on the project site through the end of 2008,” comments DeWees.
Things are Looking Up Perini Building Company started placing 42,000 tons of structural steel for the five-level underground parking structure and the first five floors above ground in April 2007.
“The structural steel will support the massive 350,110 cu. yds. of concrete that will be placed for the remaining 50 floors of the complex,” notes DeWees. “We have also just started building the concrete elevator core for the two towers.”
The Cosmopolitan will include 3,000 hotel and condo-hotel residences and 150,000 sq. ft. of integrated business, convention and conference space. The Resort will also include more than 265,000 sq. ft. of exclusive and brand-name retail boutiques, fine-dining restaurants, and exciting entertainment, as well as an 80,000 sq. ft. full-service casino.
With completion set for the fourth quarter of 2009, Las Vegas tourists should be able to place a safe bet the $3 billion dollar Cosmopolitan project will be an instant draw on the Strip and a sign of things to come for the Las Vegas area.