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Revitalizing Hollywood’s Iconic Mall

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, lighting upgrades across the entire facility, and upgraded technology including a Theatrical Lighting System that integrates the entire facility and modernized Fire Alarm and First Responder Radio Systems. 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.

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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 successfully made it through all 3 Holiday Shopping Seasons without interruption to any of the retailers,” said Hans Erickson, Bergelectric Operations Manager. “Schedule coordination was 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 was to make sure our work areas appeared as if we were never there by the time the mall opened at 10:00 a.m. This included carefully coordinating the power outages so the mall can maintain their normal operations,” said Erickson.

Adding to an already complex work environment, space was a commodity. Equipment “lay down” areas, for instance, were virtually nonexistent. Bergelectric 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 built complex components in a controlled environment and delivered the assemblies to the site once the installation process was ready to take place. For example, most of the light fixtures for Beverly Center went through Bergelectric’s Prefabrication Department before being sent to the jobsite. Bergelectric’s Prefabrication Department un-boxed, tested, programed, assembled, and prepared the fixtures for crews to install as soon as they arrived at the job site. This procedure helped maintain a higher level of quality, eliminated job-site waste, reduced storage space needed on the already crowded site, and helped Bergelectric stay ahead of the fast-tracked schedule.

Bergelectric had an average of 70 electricians on site including four general foremen. More details into Bergelectric’s scope of work included interior renovations of the mall, a 3,000-amp service to the future food court area, five-floor parking garage lighting and technology retrofits, a complete new data backbone and MDF, new security camera backbone throughout facility, 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 ascended to the next level. A dedicated, full-time, on-site safety manager was put in place to ensure Bergelectric maintained the high level of safety that they are known for. The safety manager was responsible for scheduling weekly safety meetings and was accessible to all Bergelectric employees and tradesmen on site. Bergelectric has incorporated safety into every aspect of planning and execution of over 300,000 man hours of work completed.

Size
883,000  Square Feet

Electrical Construction Cost
$45.4 Million

Duration
April 2016 – January 2019

Delivery Method
Design Build

Other Team Members
Jacobsen Swinerton JV

Berg Regional Office
Los Angeles

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