Nearly a decade ago, Westfield began its initial plans to rebrand Hawthorn Mall as a destination for shopping and entertainment and engaged Graycor for preconstruction services to help make this happen. During preconstruction, Graycor performed site investigations and 3D modeling which revealed conflicts between the existing mall building structure, egress corridors and infrastructure with the proposed building column locations. These errors, which would have been costly, led to design modifications to relocate the columns and avoid significant impact to the Mall’s operation. Graycor’s preconstruction services, which also included detailed budgeting, scheduling and value engineering, were essential to ensuring the project stayed on budget.
Completed in four phases, the project included renovations to three mall entrances and a 90,000 square foot expansion at the Northeast entrance which included a new 57,000-square-foot, 12-screen, 1,200 luxury power reclining style seat AMC Theatre. Below the theatre, new space was created for additional retail and restaurants along with the theatre box office. In addition to the expansion and entrance renovations, Graycor also reconfigured and renovated the existing mall food court and associated restrooms along with significant portions of the lower and upper level inline tenant spaces to make room for several new tenants including Dave & Buster’s, Maggiano’s and Smashburger restaurants.
The Hawthorn project was not without its set of challenges-working in a “live environment”, keeping stores open during the entire construction period, maintaining access to all mall entrances at all times, starting site work and deep foundations in the dead of winter and ensuring safety to the public and our team. Careful planning, schedule management and continuous communication and coordination with Westfield, mall staff and tenants allowed the project team to overcome each of these challenges.expansion at the Northeast entrance which included a new 57,000-square-foot, 12-screen, 1,200 luxury power reclining style seat AMC Theatre. Below the theatre, new space was created for additional retail and restaurants along with the theatre box office. In addition to the expansion and entrance renovations, Graycor also reconfigured and renovated the existing mall food court and associated restrooms along with significant portions of the lower and upper level inline tenant spaces to make room for several new tenants including Dave & Buster’s, Maggiano’s and Smashburger restaurants.
Graycor understood the importance of keeping every store operational and maintaining access to mall entrances and loading docks during construction regardless of the work to be done. Obstacles stemming from the theatre overbuild included performing steel erection partially over the existing mall roof and anchor store loading docks. 11 columns needed to be put in place from the new theatre roof level down to the mall basement and through existing upper and lower level tenant spaces. Graycor constructed temporary barricades to close portions of stores and allow for deep foundation and steel erection work to be done from inside open tenant spaces. Once this task was complete, store finishes were rebuilt to the satisfaction of the tenants. It was equally critical to have work schedules coordinated with the anchor store’s delivery schedule to allow for uninterrupted use of the loading dock while constructing the new building over the existing dock.Despite challenges, safety was always a top priority for every stakeholder on the project. The Graycor team implemented the company’s “Zero Injuries” safety program with great success, completing the project with an exceptional safety record-over 150,000 Man Hours with Zero incidents.
Quality was of the utmost importance, especially with regard to installation and detailing of the building’s Northeast concourse exterior featuring 14 different types of finishes. The coordination effort devoted to tying the finishes, water proofing, connection details and variety of installations produced stunning results. Additionally, Building Information Modeling (BIM) was moderately used to perform clash detection and identify field conflicts helping alleviate MEP issues associated with the interior build-out of the theatre.
“The Westfield Hawthorn Mall Redevelopment project has significantly enhanced the mall as a regional shopping and entertainment destination for many years to come,” stated Eric Farster Westfield’s Director of Construction. “We entrusted Graycor with one of our most challenging construction projects and they did not let us down.”
While this project is wrapping up, Graycor continues to expand its AMC resume with the kick-off of another AMC Theatre at Oakbrook Center with an expected completion date in Fall of 2016.