Sunrise and Ribbon Cutting

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The grand opening of the South Retail Center at University Commons came early on the morning of August 28. The mayors of Knoxville, Knox County and city council members lined up with the big scissors ready to cut the ribbon.

Several donations were made to local charities, then the rush began to inspect this special multi-story tenant space. By noon the store was full and the shopping cart conveyor system seemed to be the talk of the day.

Mean while other smaller retail centers made ready for their openings this week. It seems many were determined to be open for the first weekend of football here in Knoxville. This has been a special project with great team work from all.

From Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) to Cutting the Ribbon

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The University Commons Mall complex was buzzing this week as the final C.O. was issued to the Northern Retail Center. Landscape, paving and stripping crews worked overnight and through the weekend on final touches. Final preparations were made inside the store, windows were shined and the stage was set for our grand opening.

Dignitaries from the city were on hand for the ribbon cutting, including city of Knoxville’s Mayor, the Mayor of Knox County and city council members. Several local news reporters were also on hand to cover the special event.

Other areas of progress included the smaller retails shops, most of which have their Certificate of Completion. Now build-out contractors have started their work.

On the other end of the project, the store team has taken over the Southern Retail Center, stocking for an end of August grand opening.

It has been a great pleasure to see a year and a half worth of team efforts produce such a special project.

Crunch Time in Knoxville

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With turn-over scheduled in no less than 6 week for some buildings, activities are a blur both inside and outside at UT Commons.

Northern Retail Shops

  • Final polishing of concrete floors ongoing
  • Bathroom tile complete
  • Bathroom fixture and accessory installation ongoing
  • Refrigeration equipment set in place and vacuum testing of lines underway
  • Exterior brick work complete
  • Sidewalk installation ongoing
  • Escalators set in place and final electrical connections ongoing
  • Elevator equipment onsite – installation to begin Monday of next week
  • Shopping cart lift installation ongoing
  • Atrium storefront installation ongoing
  • Atrium painting ongoing
  • Subway construction near completion
  • Electrical trim out ongoing
  • Gas piping under final testing

Southern Retail Center

  • Atrium framing and sheathing complete
  • Terrazzo floor installation starts this week
  • Sales area ceiling grid complete
  • Sales area light fixture installation ongoing
  • Overhead MEP rough-in in the sales area complete
  • Wall paint in the sales area ongoing
  • Brick work ongoing at atrium
  • Elevator shaft construction ongoing
  • Wall tile installation ongoing
  • Transformer installation complete and “HOT”
  • Atrium roofing ongoing
  • Main roof complete

Shops A

  • Structural steel complete
  • Framing and sheathing complete
  • Brickwork ongoing
  • Slab pours complete
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Roofing installation to start next week

Shops B

  • Upper and lower slabs complete
  • Interior framing complete – both levels
  • Sheetrock finish work ongoing upper level
  • Sheathing on lower level interior walls – ongoing
  • Overhead and in-wall MEP complete – both levels
  • Brickwork complete – except north end at common area upper slab
  • Storefront installation nearing completion

Shops C

  • All concrete slab work complete
  • Structural steel complete
  • Exterior sheathing and brick work complete
  • Placement of Stone complete
  • Installation of vapor intrusion system complete
  • Forming for slab on grade pour to start early next week
  • Storefront installation to begin next week

Shops D

  • Structural steel complete
  • Exterior framing and sheathing complete
  • Roofing complete except for trim metal
  • Overhead sprinkler system complete
  • Ready to start brick work
  • Designed as “cold dark shell” so very little finish work required on interior

Shops E

  • Structural steel complete
  • Framing and sheathing complete
  • EFIS ongoing
  • Sprinkler system complete
  • Roofing to start Monday
  • Designed as cold dark shell so very little finish work required on interior

Site work

  • Curb and gutter installation ongoing
  • Final utility tie-in to start next week

Rooftop Equipment Lift Sets New Record for Stewart Perry

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The last few weeks have been special here in Knoxville. Last week, a 550-ton capacity crane was moved onsite for a special lift of the rooftop units at the southern retail center. This process involved over 12 truck loads of crane parts that we assembled onsite. This was followed by 5 more loads of equipment including a generator, refrigeration equipment and HVAC units that were placed on the roof of the adjacent building.

The use of this large crane was required as the back of the mall is inaccessible for heavy equipment. The crane include over 200 feet of boom to reach the rear of the building.

Progress in other areas of the project included the following:

Shops A:

  • Steel erection complete
  • Underground MEP work ongoing

Shops B:

  • Interior framing of upper level shops
  • Brick work on upper level
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Lower floor slab poured
  • Lower level overhead MEP
  • Lower level framing
  • Roofing ongoing

Shops C:

  • Slab on grade poured
  • Framing of walls ongoing
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Roofing ongoing

Shops D:

  • Footing complete
  • Steel erection ongoing

Shops E:

  • Steel erection complete
  • Topping slab poured

Northern Retail Center:

  • Final painting ongoing
  • Novar controls – termination in progress
  • Atrium cart lift install started
  • EFIS – ongoing at atrium
  • Brick complete at atrium
  • Cart curbs poured in atrium
  • Subway – In-wall inspections complete
  • Office areas – above ceiling inspections complete
  • Bathroom tile work to start next week

Southern retail Center

  • Atrium second level floor poured
  • Second level patio poured
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Interior wall framing ongoing

Site work:

  • Cable TV/date system conduit install
  • Site lighting conduit started
  • Utility tie to shops ongoing

Weather Still An Obstacle, But We Are Determined

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Knoxville, like the rest of the Southeast, was hit with yet another snow storm. This storm brought as much as 5 inches of snow to the area. This storm impacted work at UT Commons. We are starting to see warmer weather so our hopes are up that Mother Nature will play nice in the coming weeks. Updates on progress follow:

Northern Retail Center:

  • Brick work at atrium ongoing
  • Framing/sheathing of rear atrium tall wall complete
  • Internal atrium upper and lower rooms and elevator shaft walls ongoing
  • Interior sheetrock finish work near completion; wall sanding to begin next week
  • Painting of ceiling ongoing
  • EFIS work ongoing

Southern Retail Center:

  • Phase one of roofing operation complete
  • Overhead MEP rough-in ongoing
  • Plumbing drain installation ongoing
  • Layout and forming for topping slab started
  • Generator pad forming ongoing
  • Secondary conduit from transformer complete
  • Conduits for generator feeds complete
  • RTU and mechanical curbs on roof
  • Block work at loading dock complete
  • Steel erection at loading dock ongoing
  • Steel erection for atrium ongoing
  • Brick work ongoing

Shops  A:

  • Footings complete
  • Steel erection to start this weekend

Shops B:

  • Upper level slab pour complete
  • Street level underground MEP complete
  • Sheathing of exterior upper walls ongoing
  • Fine grading for lower level slab to start on Monday
  • RTU curb installation ongoing

Shops C:

  • Framing and sheath of parapet wall near completion
  • Underground MEP rough-in ongoing

Shops D:

  • Final grading of pad to start next week
  • Footing to follow

Shops E:

  • Steel erection ongoing

Parking Deck:

  • Fine grading of last light duty paving slab complete – Pour scheduled for Monday of next week
  • Last Transformer Pad pour
  • Parking deck lighting ongoing

A Burst of Activity at UC Commons – Knoxville

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With the holidays and the arctic blast that brought snow and temperatures near O degrees is behind us, the pace of work has picked up.

On the northern retail center:

  • Framing and roof deck of the high atrium progressed.
  • Brick masons are making progress, revealing part of the finished façade.
  • EFIS crews have start at the rear of the building.
  • Concrete crews are forming ramps at doorways.
  • Interior wall framing moves forward.
  • In-wall MEP rough-ins are ongoing.
  • Overhead MEP rough-ins are nearing completion

Lower retail shops:

  • At the 2 level retail (shops B), steel erection crews are busy installing metal decking on both the roof and the second floor.
  • Steel is arriving for shops C and E.

Southern retail center:

  • Steel erection has started inside the block outer walls.
  • Brick crews are setting up scaffold for the brick veneer.
  • Concrete crews are working at the rear of the building completing formwork for the concrete pour of the loading dock area.

Rising to New Heights

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Production during the holidays can be difficult, but our crews have worked hard, taking only a few days to spend with their families. On the atrium of the northern retail center, the tall roof metal truss system was set in place. This set the top elevation of that building 70 feet above the ground floor. The final stud framing will reach an additional 7 feet.

On the ground floor, concrete crews were busy forming for the atrium slab-on-grade pour. Steel crews are back onsite and have started erection of the frame work for the second level.

On the southern end of the project, masons moved forward laying block for that major retail center. Steel erection is scheduled to begin the week after New Year’s. Concrete crews also poured the first of two concrete handrails at the ramp to the rear of the project. Work inside the project has include the completion of the topping slab for the northern retail center. Stud walls are being installed as well as in-wall and overhead MEP rough-in.


Rooftop Units Lifted Into Place

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Due to the unique design of our project here in Knoxville and the limited access about the building structures, special equipment was required for the placement of the roof top equipment. Calculations by the design engineers confirmed that the elevated precast loading dock would not safely bear the extreme point loads required for placement of the roof top units. With these limitations, the HVAC units required a 250-ton capacity crane to set their unit. The refrigeration equipment required a 350-ton capacity crane. This was not due to any special weight of the units, but the reach required to set them in place.

Inside the northern retail center, upfit contractors began:

  • Framing of the internal stud walls.
  • Moving forward with ductwork installation.
  • Installation of the sprinkler system.
  • In-wall rough-in of utilities.

On the southern retail center block, crews are busy erecting the external walls of that structure. At the ramp to the rear of the building, all sidewalks have been poured and crews started forming for the cast-in-place barrier walls. Under the retail building, utility crews moved forward with underground piping.


A Buzz of Activity

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Crews have been very busy the last two weeks in all locations of the University Commons project. On the southern retail center and adjacent shops, over 69,000 square feet of topping slab were poured. The precast bridge support beams were also set this week, so the outline of the connecting road from our project to the Joe Johnson Bridge can been seen.

At the northern retail center, work included:

  • Masonry contractor busy erecting scaffold to start block and brick work.
  • Roofing crews arrived this week and materials were hosted to the top of the second level.
  • Atrium structural steel framing and decking was also completed.
  • Metal stud and sheathing work progressed  and exterior walls are all but complete.
  • Interior work include overhead MEP rough-in
  • Preparation is soon to start for the pour of the final topping slabs.

Next week we will pour 1 of the 4 remaining concrete pours for the ramp to the elevated loading dock areas. This will make access much  easier to our multi-story project.