Cummings Properties TradeCenter 128 is a commercial development located in Woburn, Massachusetts. It features a 400,000 square-foot, seven-story building and a second 150,000-square-foot office building, both which are clad in architectural precast concrete panels.
TradeCenter 128 includes a 900-vehicle precast concrete parking garage. The project has received LEED Gold precertification for Core & Shell development. William E. Dailey Precast of Shaftsbury, VT, was the precast producer for the project.
With its distinctive three-story drive-through archway atrium, TradeCenter 128 will be among the most readily recognizable commercial office structures along the Interstate 95 corridor from Bangor to Miami and one of the largest.
Cummings Properties is a full-service real estate development firm with in-house design, engineering and construction divisions as well as leasing and property management services. The company currently has more than 320 employees and operates more than nine million square feet of commercial property in metropolitan Boston.
Speed and durability Cummings Properties Chairman Mike Pascavage, AIA, said that the company decided to employ precast for a variety of reasons, but cost and availability were among the most important.
“Cummings specializes in fast-track completion of projects,” Pascavage said. “When we committed to deliver a portion of the project to the Middlesex Superior Court in a short timeframe, speed of installation was paramount.”
By choosing precast, Cummings was able to accelerate the construction process. For example, Cummings structural engineer Greg Flaherty, P.E., notes that erectors were able to install 15 architectural precast panels every day, a rapid pace the condensed the building timeframe.
By choosing precast, said the company was also able to avoid the time and expense of shrouding the building for masonry construction. In addition, because construction was so rapid, most of TradeCenter 128 was enclosed before winter set in.
Cummings builds to lease and will remain the owner of TradeCenter 128. The long-term benefits of precast concrete influenced their decision to incorporate precast elements into the project’s design.
Project Architect Jim Trudeau said the selection of precast concrete for the parking garage also offered durability. Traditional steel construction requires ongoing waterproofing and rust protection, Trudeau noted, but with precast there is very little long-term maintenance.
“We’re very cognizant of issues relating to durability and lifecycle costs,” Trudeau said. “Precast concrete is essentially a zero-maintenance façade, which enables us to avoid future cost and disruption to our clients.”
He also pointed out that precast enables Cummings to avoid problems like water migration, which can happen with EFIS, or the regular maintenance that a brick façade requires.
Flexibility and sustainability TradeCenter 128 makes extensive use of architectural precast panels, a choice that offered a significant level of design flexibility, according to Trudeau.
“The original design called for a brick exterior, so we worked to translate that for use with precast,” the project architect said. “Our designers developed reveal patterns and used textures to create precast facades that complement the glass elements of the structures.”
He points out that the aesthetic elements were created off-site, which kept the pace of the project moving quickly. Cummings was able to have a variety of design massing options while still keeping the panels simple and cost effective.
Precast also helped TradeCenter 128 receive LEED Gold precertification for Core & Shell development. The choice of precast contributing to LEED points for construction waste management, recycled content and use of regional materials.
The parking structure also helped Cummings earn a point for reducing the heat island effect, by housing more than 50 percent of the required parking and therefore reducing the amount of dark-colored surface parking.
For TradeCenter 128, Cummings took full advantage of several key benefits of precast concrete. But Pascavage notes that, although the company is somewhat new to precast, it has now used architectural precast extensively for two high-profile projects and is currently planning a third.
TradeCenter 128 continues to attract new tenants.