If you’ve ever looked at the new hotels going up in City Center and thought, boy, that’s going up awfully fast. You’re right.
Bristol Group of Lexington is using several innovative construction techniques that are new to the area, including a composite steel posts and beams, precast concrete walls and hollow-core concrete floors, according to John-Mark Hack, Bristol Group vice president.
The techniques help to speed up the build and cut costs, primarily by saving on labor, which is in short supply.
The 230-room Marriott Hotel and 120-room Residence Inn by Marriott are going up like a kit, with individual pieces ordered and made elsewhere then shipped to downtown Lexington as needed.
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“It’s basically a giant erector set,” Hack said.
The steel posts and beam system, which was designed by the Finnish company Peikko, were made in Canada and shipped to Kentucky. The pre-cast concrete was poured in sections either at the Bristol facility on Old Frankfort Pike or at their state-of-the-art plant in Indiana.
Everything fits together like Legos, he said.
T.J. Chin, a Bristol Group engineer on the Marriott and Residence Inn buildings, said that with the methods are so fast that they can erect a floor of the hotel in about eight days; conventional construction would take at least twice as long.
The project also was able to start much quicker, said Todd Ball, president of Bristol Group, because they could begin work on the pieces before planning had been finalized, saving four months.
The hotel complex’s original design called for conventional construction, called cast-in-place concrete, which is formed and poured on the job site but that is much more vulnerable to weather delays and can be difficult in winter.
Another innovation that’s saving time: Bathrooms in a box. All of the hotels’ bathrooms come pre-made in boxes that are cut open and hooked onto plumbing and electrical wiring.
The hotels are scheduled to open next fall, along with a 12-story office tower next door that is being build with more conventional methods. The City Center complex, formerly known as CentrePointe, also will have a Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, which is scheduled to open in April, as well as stores and luxury condominiums.
The top floor of the Residence Inn will have a pool and rooftop bar; a skywalk will allow residents of the top-floor condos to cross to use the hotel’s pool without going all the way to the ground floor.
The hotels will have a shared ballroom in between them along with a covered area for cars to pull in for check in and check out. The entire development sits atop a 700-car underground parking garage.