Pace Honored with Impact Award at NAIOP Spotlight Awards

Pace Contracting was honored to receive an Impact Award for Redevelopment, Remodel, Adaptive Reuse at the NAIOP Spotlight Awards March 1st for the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Historic Railroad Cottages Restoration.  This Award honors an outstanding project in the Commercial Office, Industrial or Retail Markets that stands out for giving a building an opportunity to re-define itself and have a higher and better use.  Pace was also awarded a Merit Award for Spotlight Public Project - Community Impact for the Whitney Mesa Recreation Area and nominated for General Contractor of the Year.

The Cottage Restoration project was a one of a kind project in Las Vegas. It was both an embodiment of and completely anomalous of the City of Las Vegas and its iconic buildings.  Like many projects in Las Vegas, there has been no other project like it and there never will be again, yet in a city known for imploding its historic buildings to make way for the new, this project is a historic tribute to architecture and construction of a century past.

The railroad cottages were built between 1909 and 1911 by the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad for its mid-level workers. These buildings were designed in the Bungalow/Craftsman style and served as residences for railroad workers in the early 1900s.  Sixty-four units were completed on four square blocks.  The railroad cottage units made up the oldest track community in Las Vegas and it was one of the first track communities in the nation. This district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.  Today, only 13 of the small, bungalow style concrete block houses remain.

This project’s restoration of 4 of the structures re-defines their use as a new Visitor Center and office facility for the Las Vegas Springs Preserve adjacent to the Nevada State Museum.  Notably, the design and construction followed the guidelines of the Secretary of Interior’s standards for treatment of historic structures and the cottages are planned to be re-listed with the National Register of Historic Places.  Additionally, the project was designed and constructed to meet the USGBC’s requirements for LEED Silver Certification.  Pace also provided specialized training for all of our employees and subcontractors regarding work on the preserve site which ensured the safety and preservation of wildlife and biologically sensitive site conditions.

The project included the abatement of hazardous materials, historic materials salvage, selective demolition, structure transport, concrete and masonry foundations, seismic retrofitting, masonry restoration, finish carpentry restoration, cabinetry restoration, new roofs, door and window restoration, plaster restoration, wood floor re-finishing, new plumbing systems, geothermal heat pump systems, new HVAC systems, new electric systems, site utilities, decorative site concrete, and landscaping.  Pace crews self-performed all concrete, masonry, carpentry and seismic retrofitting on the project, and key members of the construction team included Helix Electric, Western States Contracting, ACME Underground, American Door, Dean Roofing, Harris Rebar, Eagle Drilling, Stargate Plumbing, Integrity Finishes, Instant Jungle Landscaping, K&G Plaster, LBC Contracting, LVI Services, Rode Brothers Flooring, Soil Tech, NOVA Geotechnical and TMCx Commissioning.

Pace overcame a multitude of unique challenges on this project from mobilization to completion. 

  • The buildings were contaminated with asbestos and lead paint, and pigeons had been nesting in the abandoned structures for decades leaving behind a thick plaster of feces and carcasses.  Pace carefully and safely abated the hazards and established a safe, workable environment to complete the work. 
  • Much of the original finish material including masonry block, wood trim, wood flooring, cabinets, doors and windows had to be removed, refinished and/or salvaged and re-installed, so Pace had to carefully remove, catalogue and store these hundreds of items.   
  • Each of the structures had been staged on temporary shoring for storage.  This shoring had deteriorated over time and the buildings were warping and sagging; one of the building’s floors had an elevation difference of more than three feet.  The shoring was reinforced and adjusted to ready the structures for transport to their new location over two miles away.  In order to transport the structures, all of the walls and roof structures had to be braced, banded and shored to prevent structural failure during transport.  The transport route had to be carefully planned with removal of structures and tree limbs that would interfere with the structures travelling along the route.
  • Because the structures needed to be rolled into location on the new slabs and the original steel shoring was randomly spaced, aligned and sized with scrap steel, the new masonry block stemwalls had to be constructed beneath the buildings after they were relocated.  The new stemwalls had to be randomly notched around the shoring beams so the structure could be lowered onto the foundation.  Because the structures would only sit on a partial foundation due to the notches for the beams, Pace devised and installed an elaborate temporary support system to prevent the structures from crumbling.  After lowering the structures onto the new partial foundation, the temporary support beams were removed and the masonry notches were filled in. This created an additional challenge for grouting the masonry foundations.  Pace had to cut grouting windows with birdsmouths to grout the open cells and then drypack the windows.
  • The original masonry wall construction was unrienforced masonry with separate interior and exterior units.  To meet current seismic requirements, the separate interior and exterior units were anchored together and new reinforcing was installed from the new foundation through the existing masonry.  Additionally, many sections of the walls had fallen apart and were missing; in one case an entire side of the building was falling down.  Salvaged masonry units and custom precast concrete, sandblast finish replica blocks were used to reconstruct the masonry walls to adhere to structural and architectural requirements.
  • Following the delicate process of reconstructing and reinforcing the walls, the cells containing the reinforcing were supposed to be grouted solid.  The original engineering anticipated that cored cells with reinforcing could be grouted solid.  The interior cells were more open than anticipated and the cored cells did not contain the grout.  As a result, the walls had to be grouted solid.  Pace worked closely with the engineers to select a fluid grout mix and strategy for placement.  Because of the two part block construction, the grout could only be installed in two foot lifts or less, but it could not be poured in from the top of wall because it would stick to the reinforcing and interior of the wall cells which would eventually clog the walls for subsequent lifts and degrade the bond of the reinforcing to the walls.  Pace had to construct a matrix of openings in the interior walls and hand pump the grout into each level.  This process was even further hindered by the abundant holes and cracks in the walls which leaked fluid grout at every step of the way.  Pace had a full time leak watch to plug leaks and remove grout spills from finish areas.
  • Both the floor and roof structure of each building had to be reinforced and in some cases completely reconstructed.  On of the structures had caught fire prior to the project and the roof structure was partially burned out. Perimeter attachments to the new foundation were made, joists, girders, trusses and sheathing were reinforced and/or replaced throughout. 
  • New exterior trim, mouldings, soffits and porch framing was installed to match existing, and the existing was stripped patched and refinished.  Interior finish carpentry and cabinets were restored. Chimneys were removed and replaced with faux brick plaster to look original. 
  • Interior walls were patched and re-plastered to match the original lath and plaster wall system.

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