Colony Street Parking Garage

With growing development in downtown Meriden, Connecticut, developers of the Colony Street Transit Oriented Development knew they needed to expand parking options to serve the future needs. In addition, due to partial public funding, the structure was required to provide a minimum 60-year service life. To meet these needs, designers created a total-precast concrete parking structure that was built simultaneously with other projects in the development.

The Colony Street development includes a mixed-use building on the same site, containing 63 apartment units and 8,000 square feet of retail space. It faces the CT Rail Station, which was constructed at the same time. After reviewing various options for the facility, the design team chose a total precast concrete structure for the three-story, 74,628-square-foot parking facility. It comprises thin-brick-faced spandrels, double tees, girders, columns, shear and lite walls, stairs, and slabs. Blakeslee Prestress fabricated and erected the precast concrete components.

Design-Assist Approach
“The precaster was an absolute assist on all levels of design development,” says James Nolin, general superintendent for Enterprise Builders, the general contractor. “Their work started with basic structure design and continued through setting parameters to develop a project budget and actual construction Design Development plans. They also attended design-team and trade contractor-coordination meetings.”

Blakeslee aided with determining final deck elevations, ramp slopes, drainage planes, connection details, penetrations and access ports for other trades. They also helped finalize cast-in-place concrete foundation issues, and they worked through any post-erection installation points that required fastening to or penetrating any structural members.

The thin brick used was selected to coordinate with the adjacent mixed-use building while also maintaining the appearance of the surrounding buildings, which are part of the city’s historic district. “The thin-brick panels were a bit of a challenge, given the extent of the brick and the course patterns in relation to the openings along the elevation and at the main stair/elevator core,” says Peter Bertolini, field operations manager for Blakeslee. “There were some large panels that were a challenge to produce, handle, and erect given the size, configuration, and level of detail in the panels.”

60-Year Service Life Met
Designers met the 60-year life expectancy following a comprehensive review with Simco Technologies, which uses proprietary software to predict the long-term behavior of concrete structures exposed to environmental factors. The precaster provided samples of preliminary design mixes, and these were studied and modified as needed to achieve the desired durability. Additional samples are evaluated during production to ensure consistency. “The result of these fully inclusive analytical studies provides an indication of a minimum expected service-life expectancy,” Nolin explains.

Complicated Erection
Erection was complicated by the need to erect the structure from within the footprint, due to the limited site and the location in downtown Meridien. The crane was built from within the site and began erecting the side away from the street. Five crane pads were required, with the crane erecting one portion before backing out to the next pad. The final sequences required mobilizing the crane from within the footprint to the exterior by holding off on a portion of the foundations to allow the crane to be positioned where the final wall would be placed and then moving out into the street for the final portion, from where the crane was demobilized.

“To build the garage in such a sequence required all precast members to be properly derricked and shipped to ensure pieces were delivered in the proper sequence,” Nolin says. “The logistics of coordinating the shipping required a matrix that sequenced work at the plant and at the site.”

Coordinating delivery routes also posed challenges due to the narrow and one-way streets in the vicinity and the fact that the multi-use building was being built at the same time, leaving little staging area on site. “To coordinate the trucking routes required a high level of interaction and coordination with the precaster,” Nolin says. Some road closures were required to maintain an even flow while minimizing traffic disruptions.

“By carefully coordinating trucking times, routes, and usage of the limited staging area, we were completely successful in erecting the structure with zero delays to the erecting process and zero unplanned disturbances to the surrounding businesses, city functions, or outside construction efforts,” Nolin says.

In fact, the project was erected ahead of schedule in less than one month and ready for use when the rest of the project was completed.

Project Details

City:

Meridien
 

State:

CT
 

Precaster:

 

Owner:

Westmount Development Group, Branford, CT
 

Designer:

Newman Architects LLC, New Haven, CT
 

Structural Engineer:

Innovative Engineering, East Haven, CT
 

Contractor:

Enterprise Builders, Newington, CT
 

Sq. Footage:

74,628
 

Levels/Floors:

3 Levels
 

Structural Precast Elements:

294 precast concrete pieces including:
• 102 Double Tees
• 5 Girders
• 18 Columns
• 9 Shear Walls
• 6 Lite Walls
• 49 Spandrels (thin-brick-faced)
• 14 Stairs
• 19 Solid Slabs
• 72 Wall Panels
 

Brick:

thin-brick (supports adjacent mixed-use project with housing and retail)
 

Resources

 
 
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