Originally built in 1982, Beverly Center is an eight-story mall located at the edge of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, California. The original mall featured department stores like Bullock’s and The Broadway (before it was renamed Macy’s), and debuted a multiplex movie theater that boasted 14 screens—which, at the time, was the largest number of movie screens in any US multiplex. America’s first Hard Rock Café found its home at Beverly Center as well—the third installment of the restaurant chain, following those in London and Toronto. The famous Beverly Center complex has been featured in several movies such as “Scenes from a Mall” and “Volcano” and continues to host world famous fashion shows attracting A-List celebrities.
The iconic multi-story mall has been renovated several times over the course of its famed existence, but in 2016, Beverly Center owners La Cienega Partners Limited called on the Jacobsen-Swinerton Joint Venture along with Bergelectric to take on a massive $500 million renovation of the entire facility. The new renovations include: a continuous ribbon of new skylights, a shimmering new exterior, a fresh streetscape, a new row of street-level restaurants, a state-of-the-art smart parking system, an eight-level multi-concept group food hall, The Street Social House (Michael Mina), lighting upgrades across the entire facility, and upgraded technology. The center will continue to be anchored by Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, and will house more than 100 of the world’s most coveted retail brands.
One of the biggest challenges for this massive renovation project has been keeping the Beverly Center in operation during ongoing renovations. “You’ve got 350 men inside, trying to do a renovation and trying to keep the shoppers happy and the mall happy, and that’s been a major undertaking,” said Steve Nelson, Project Executive and Vice President of Jacobsen Construction. The collaborative effort between mall management and the construction crews has been extremely beneficial to the process. “We can’t believe just how much pre-planning it has taken to pull this off,” Nelson continued.
A condensed (30-month) schedule was put in place by the Jacobsen-Swinerton Joint Venture that began in March 2016. Detailed coordination between all trades was heightened for the renovation due to the Beverly Center’s commitment to remain in full operation. “We are 20 months into the 30-month schedule and have made it through two holiday seasons without interruption to any of the retailers,” said Hans Erickson, Bergelectric Operations Manager. “Schedule coordination has been key for us to get in and out of spaces while not disrupting the daily shopping experience. Our crews have done whatever it takes to maintain a seamless transition, including working multiple shifts outside of the mall’s daily operational hours. Another big challenge has been making our work areas appear as if we were never there by the time the mall opens at 10:00 a.m. This includes carefully coordinating the power outages so the mall can maintain their normal operations,” said Erickson.
Adding to an already complex work environment, space has been a commodity. Equipment “lay down” areas, for instance, are virtually nonexistent. Bergelectric has relied on their lean construction practices including “just-in-time” deliveries and their off-site Prefabrication Department to eliminate the need for space on site. Bergelectric’s “just-in- time” deliveries require careful coordination with electrical equipment manufacturers (i.e. switchgear) to ensure equipment arrives on site when the schedule allows for installation. Similarly, Bergelectric’s off-site Prefabrication Department builds complex components in a controlled environment and delivers the assemblies to the site once the installation process is ready to take place. For example, most of the light fixtures for Beverly Center have gone through Bergelectric’s Prefabrication Department before being sent to the jobsite. Bergelectric’s Prefabrication Department will un-box, test, program, assemble, and prepare the fixtures for crews to install as soon as they arrive at the job site. This procedure helps maintain a higher level of quality, eliminates job-site waste, reduces storage space needed on the already crowded site, and helps Bergelectric stay ahead of the fast-tracked schedule.
Bergelectric has had an average of 70 electricians on site including four general foremen. So far, Bergelectric’s work has included interior renovations of the mall, a 3,000-amp service to the new food court area, second-floor parking garage lighting and technology retrofits, a new data backbone and MDF, exterior six-story escalator entries, site lighting, holiday lighting power, and multiple interior lighting retrofits.
Safety is always a top priority for Bergelectric, but on a renovation project of this magnitude that is also open to the public, safety management has ascended to the next level. A dedicated, full-time, on-site safety manager has been put in place to ensure Bergelectric maintains the high level of safety that they are known for. The safety manager has been responsible for scheduling weekly safety meetings and is accessible to all Bergelectric employees and tradesmen on site. Bergelectric has incorporated safety into every aspect of planning and execution of over 200,000 man hours of work completed.
Hard Work Pays Off
Bergelectric’s Preconstruction Division had been budgeting the Beverly Center project for two years prior to the distribution of the bid documents. They also participated in the mock-up installation process to help finalize the design. “Our efforts at the very beginning stages of the project’s development—led by Chris Billig, Vice President of Preconstruction and Jacob Wood, Preconstruction Manager—were key to Bergelectric’s award of this amazing project,” said Erickson.
Having a hand in the project from start to finish shows in the quality and quantity of work completed thus far, and visitors can expect to enjoy the new and improved Beverly Center in its entirety in 2018.