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New Construction Management with Historical Constraints & Adaptive Reuse

Project Type

New Construction in Historical Context with Adaptive Reuse

Location

Northern New Jersey

Role

Project Manager

Client

Pleasantdale Chateau Private Event Estate

Project Duration

2021 - 2023

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Creating the “Arboretum Conservatory”

This project required engineering a large-scale expansion of a historical private chateau to create an entirely new wing for an event space that could double as an indoor wedding ceremony location (nondenominal “chapel”). This required a combination of new construction and historic preservation/adaptive reuse of existing utilitarian structures. Doing so mandated the merging of three disparate elements – (1) Adapt a former six-car garage and chauffeur’s quarters seamlessly with (2) a massive new timber frame structure and (3) engineer a blended transitional corridor to the primary existing chateau, all with deference to the historical aesthetic and functionality of use.

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THE CHALLENGE

This 40-acre luxury private event estate with an over 100-year-old French Norman-styled chateau as its primary structure needed to expand to remain competitive in the wedding event industry by adding to its amenities a separate indoor wedding ceremony space. No suitable existing location was evident.

• Given the luxurious, ornate, and refine aesthetic of the venue, the extensiveness of detail and quality of design needed to be delivered at a high level.
• As an historically designated property, any changes and additions to the estate would have to meet strict requirements.
• The existing structure was constructed of natural, hand-made, quality materials installed with a high-degree of craftsmanship. Any new construction would need to be equivalent in materials and construction.
• The new structure would need to be built on a large scale with a requirement to accommodate over 300 guests.
• The venue’s ownership wanted to be highly involved in the process, have input on all structural and stylistic decision, and had a very specific vision for the quality that needed to be produced.
• Materials for this project were being sourced from across the globe, and thus needed to be carefully scheduled for order and delivery within specific timelines.
• The venue needed to remain in full operation throughout the construction process, thus needing a high-level of coordination with the operations staff to avoid any possible inconvenience to the estate’s guests.
• The existing utilities infrastructure (power/water) was insufficient to support the project and thus would require multiple upgrades.
• Access the construction site was limited and would requirement improvements for access to even begin work.
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SUMMARY OF TASKS/SCOPE OF SERVICES

• Identified the ideal architectural firm candidates; secured contract governing scope, fees, and all necessary services; remained a primary point of contact throughout.
• Arranged open bidding process for General Contractor and organized the system for reviewing RFPs; vetted candidates; continued as primary point-of-contact as the client’s (venue ownership’s) intermediary through to project completion.
• Facilitated an open book proposal to show the client the comparative subcontractor bids with standard General Contractor percentages.
• Managed subcontractors and mediated with General Contractor.
• Coordinated with multiple utility companies to upgrade the site to current utilities.
• Guided the project through the complex historical approval process; helped to prepare for all needed presentations to historical committee.
• Navigated the project through all steps of planning board reviews and approvals.
• Collaborated with materials selections; facilitated ordering process; administrated the additional complication of international orders.
• Managed the purchasing of finishes and supplementary materials.
• Set scope of work for hardscaping; secure related contracts, manage direct purchasing of associated materials.
• Directed the hardscaping contractor to manage the challenge of adapting found material from the estate (Belgian blocks from the early 1900s) and pavers sourced from a stone yard into a European-styled courtyard design by the client. Selected styles and worked out grading for ADA transitions, proper drainage, and building of piers around site structures (gazebo and metal archway)
• Secured a metal artisan to adapt metal arches, stored for decades at a prior site, to refurbish and reconfigure for a ceremonial passageway between the new structure and leading to the adjacent ballroom. (Subsequently arranged for a template to be made of this design feature that can be provided to event planners in order to determine scale for customized decorative (floral, etc.) embellishment for their clients).
• Set scope of work for IT integrations; secured related contracts, served as intermediary between IT firm and ownership.
• Managed RFP process for landscape lighting contract and coordinated the design and installation process.
• Directed the process for all inspections and approvals.
• Served as the intermediary between the architectural firm and the venue ownership (client) to insure minimal friction and service the needs of both.
• Worked to ensure that optimal balance of design and implementation to meet full code requirements and historical compliance while ensuring the client’s design vision was still met at a high-standard.
• Conducted regular review of architectural/engineering plans to work towards all needed approvals from client and government officials.
• Administrated all financial aspects of the project from start to finish, including payment requisitions and negotiating supplemental phase contracts.
• Worked with the architect and engineers to lay ample conduits before the foundation was poured to pre-plan any future infrastructure advancement for pulling cables through the space to integrate AV and IT options.
• Coordinated the complete IT infrastructure. Arranged for dedicated Ethernet ports, power supplies, WiFi, and Bluetooth to optimize availability of all currently technologies to allow for live streaming, integrated audio system control, and more. Also integrated the framework to support connectivity for any current or future technologies.
• Successfully delivered all necessary approvals, with one pass of inspections for fire, electrical, plumbing, and building.
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THE RESULTS

Despite the ambitious goals and inherent complexities, the project was successfully delivered with universal appreciation and glowing feedback from the venue’s clientele. Throughout the process, the contractors, specialty tradesmen, and property owners were effectively guided to meet the numerous challenges and worked collaboratively towards a mutually rewarding creation. The project delivered upon the preferences and vision of the ownership, the constraints of the contractors--and most importantly--it has provided an ideal environment for the end user to celebrate the special moments in their lives. This project has now made the estate one of the most competitive venues for weddings and special events in the state. In size, aesthetic, functionality, authenticity of construction and materials, as well as high-spec intricacies of detail, it is a preeminent market leader for structures of this kind and purpose.


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