Article published regarding the

state office building project at

1525 north calvert street


May 16, 2016

How Plano-Coudon overcame site, schedule and design challenges to deliver 1525 N. Calvert Street

From the bottom of a 30-foot hole:

How Plano-Coudon overcame site, schedule and design challenges to deliver 1525 N. Calvert Street

It involved a "crazy-tight timeline," a landlocked urban site, mid-project design changes and a tower crane set inside a bathroom, but the construction of 1525 N. Calvert Street tested and proved Plano-Coudon Construction's abilities to complete big projects in the face of big challenges.

When Calvert Federal, LLC unveiled plans to construct the seven-story, 105,000-square-foot office building that included three stories of parking garage, the Baltimore Sun reported the project included a "crazy-tight timeline" and an "unusual approach to planning." To meet the move-in date specified on a lease agreement with state agencies, crews would have to complete construction within 13 months. They would also have to start laying the foundation, which included 182 augercast piles, before permits were issued for the building design.

"Right out of the gate, we were working six days a week, 10 hours a day," said Travis Bartlett, Project Manager at Plano-Coudon.

Monthly scheduling meetings, close coordination with subcontractors, periodic overtime and expanded crews, and arrangements to complete some tasks out of sequence became essential to keeping pace with the construction timeline.

Plano-Coudon also had to devise a method to access the extraordinarily tight site. Bounded by railroad tracks, the Calvert Street bridge and an existing office building, the triangular lot offered no ready opportunity to bring in heavy equipment, materials and workers.

"The best thing we did was decide to use a tower crane to build the project," said Ryan Coudon, Co-founder.

Crews placed the crane within the footprint of the building in a 10-foot by 10-foot space that was set to become a washroom on each floor.

"We maximized the use of the crane for as many trades as possible - the steel erector, the concrete subcontractor and others - until the last minute when we had to remove the crane, and seal up that hole in every floor and the roof in order to enclose the building," Coudon said.

The project presented other challenges, including tying the building into an existing, adjacent building and into the sloping Calvert Street bridge. Mid-construction, crews also had to adjust to design changes which shifted the north west sides of the building and added a permanent retaining wall. They also had to coordinate work in an adjacent, occupied building.

"All of the electric, sewer and water services for 1525 N Calvert had to come through a separate building," said Michael Kovacs, Project Executive at Plano-Coudon. "Then late in the design, the fire marshall said we needed an egress off the northeast corner of our building. Because we were landlocked, there was no place for pedestrians to go other than through that existing building."

Consequently, crews had to coordinate off-hours work in the adjacent building to install utility lines and fire-rated enclosures for them, create a fire-rated egress for 1525 N. Calvert occupants, and rework partitions and cubicle arrangements to accommodate those additions.

"It took creativity to complete this project," said Rick Gabell, owner's representative. "There were substantial challenges, a very compressed time schedule and a landlocked site that meant they had to construct the building from the bottom of a 30-foot hole. Plano-Coudon did a great job at reacting to changes, reworking schedules and expediting changes."

"We have done tight, urban projects before," Coudon said. "But we are even more confident now that if you have a tight, urban setting where things are stacked against you logistically, we know how to develop solutions and detailed plans to make that project a success."

About Plano-Coudon Construction

Based in Baltimore City, Plano-Coudon Construction brings big-company sophistication, small-company flexibility, an engineer's mindset and unparalleled enthusiasm to a broad range of construction projects. Since opening in 1998, we have developed deep expertise in multiple construction sectors, including education, healthcare, life sciences, mission critical, industrial, commercial, residential, religious/nonprofit and sustainable construction. We live by the motto: Your vision is our mission. Determined to be a trusted construction advisor and a best-in-class contractor, we work to fully understand - and meet - each client's goals.

Media Contact:

Kyle Polasko

Plano-Coudon Construction


Your Vision. Our Mission.

Plano-Coudon is an equal opportunity employer.  |  |   410-837-2570   |       

Plano-Coudon provides construction management, general contracting, design/build and program management services to the Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware markets.

Article published regarding the

mall re-brand project at

concord mills mall


Inside Concord Mills' makeover, plans to add retailers

Jennifer Thomas Staff WriterCharlotte Business Journal

Concord Mills is putting the finishing touches on its multimillion-dollar makeover.

Gone are the purple ceilings, dark carpet and wood floors. Instead, shoppers will find a space that has been updated to offer a lighter and brighter color palette.                   

For example, light-colored tile with dark accents has replaced the wood floors in places. The paint scheme has been refreshed. Skylights and new LED lighting fixtures also help brighten the space.

That project — now 99% complete — gives the property more of a regional mall look, says Ray Soporowski, general manager.

“We wanted to make it more approachable for our customers and add amenities they are looking for,” he says.

Adds Emily Zimmermann, director of marketing and business development: “You have to adapt and change with the times.”

Concord Mills continues to evaluate its tenant mix and look for opportunities to take the shopping experience to the next level, Soporowski says.

Change will be driven largely by store closings — such as The Limited— and lease expirations. He sees cosmetics and women’s fashion, particularly higher-end options, as possibilities.

“Those are the things that our customers want to see.”

Soporowski declined to share further details about possible new tenants, but says some are already lined up.

“We’re adding stores that help us with the overall mix,” he adds.

Owner Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) announced plans to revamp and update Concord Mills last spring.

The shopping center is home to more than 200 stores and provides a mix of retail, dining and entertainment options. It opened in 1999.

A significant portion of the renovations surrounded what is now known as the Dining Pavilion.

That area now boasts pale paint with pops of color coming from tear-drop lights with pale orange shades. Seating options were reconfigured to offer more communal seating and banquettes. High-top bar seats provide access to charging stations. Even the carousel also received a facelift as part of the renovations.

Elsewhere in the mall, soft-seating areas with chairs and end tables with charging stations were added. Concord Mills also updated signage, numbering each court and providing corresponding colors and to better guide customers.