Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UPDATE: Rapid progress, a flying canopy and a Phil Jackson reference

The last 60 days have been light years different than the first 120 and not for lack of Russ keeping it on schedule. We could bore you with all the details of why the digging and foundation are so important and yada yada yada, but lets get to the good part.

In 4 months, the site went from this (date one month off in photo tag due to amateur documentarian):
to this:

All the work underground.

However, in the past 2 months, it's become this:
On it's way to looking like this:
From these conceptual beginnings:

The steel subcontractor has been working fast. Like an erector set but with a 100 foot tall crane effortlessly lifting thousands of pounds at a time. Flying canopy here (play superman below simultaneously b/c of youtube police):

The concrete sub has worked just as fast and gets to use the coolest equipment. (Still my favorite)

It all made today's ascent to the top level that much more rewarding and the anticipation of welcoming friends and guests up there that much more exciting.
That's the Ortega River draw bridge.

As is typical of Design Cooperative, they are stingy with the interior design drawings (see previous material about the above conceptual model), but what we have seen looks awesome. Russ, who runs the triangle like Phil Jackson, and the rest of the contracting crew at DW Meyers have pridefully kept a very tidy site with minimal traffic interruptions. We are all looking forward to the next 60 days.

Happy New Year!

After walking around today, we all agree - Dec 31, 2012 - fireworks from the roof of 1534 Oak.

Sunset on the roof.

It's cocktail time.

December Progress

Rooftop action.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Hovercraft for Christmas?!

It's really a ride on power trowel, but looks and moves like a floating deck lawn mower. They were using it today to pack down the 2nd floor concrete pour. 10+ trucks of concrete.

This morning it looked like this

This afternoon like this

Good thing we didn't stay around waiting for it not to dry. Tomorrow is the third floor.

I still want a hovercraft for Christmas.

Gettin their concrete on!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pipes everywhere!

Conduit pipes...

Not distracted by the Holiday Season, there were more people on the site today than ever. Our Field Manager, Russ, is prepping for some big concrete pours. This time above ground!

Sometime this or next week, the 2nd and 3rd floor slabs will be poured. The bottom floor will come after the New Year as the plumbing and electrical sub contractors continue to lay out the massive amounts of spaghetti like conduit in the dirt that will carry lines for phone, electricity, data, water, Coke and beer. Next week, BSRG and DCoop get to walk the grounds and help make sure all those pipes are in the right place.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Office space for lease!

As excited as we are to have a great restaurant and rooftop bar in the neighborhood soon, we're still reminded that someone (inquire within) will have a really cool office space in the hood too. Just a few minor finishing touches but it's a blank canvas!

Tenant improvements will include enclosing and railing the staircase.

Building a stairway to...

the second floor, and third, and roof.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One of Us: Before the chef, a restaurant needs a designer |

Milan Malinovic says he likes challenging projects.

He’s got one in the 1534 Oak St. project.

He and his partners at D Coop (short for Design Cooperative) have designed and are involved in the construction of a mixed-use building that will house a ground-floor restaurant, two floors of offices and a rooftop bar on a small, triangular lot near Five Points.

The space is tight and the neighborhood is even tighter, a mixture of residential, retail, bustling restaurants and a crowded neighborhood grocery.

“It’s a very big inconvenience to build a building,” the affable Malinovic said, noting that a big part of his job on a project like 1534 Oak is “crisis management.”

Malinovic is used to adjusting.

He spent the first 33 years of his life in what was then Yugoslavia and is now Bosnia, mostly in Sarajevo. At the University of Sarajevo he got a degree in fine art and then another in architecture and went to work as an architect at the largest firm in the city. But in 1992, with violence escalating as various sections of Yugoslavia broke away into separate countries (six countries would eventually emerge from the breakup), Malinovic left.

He moved to Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean. He could continue to practice architecture there and he met his wife, marrying her in 1993.

But Malta, he said, “is a really tiny country, while the United States was one of the biggest countries.”

So he came to Jacksonville because a partner of his knew William Morgan, one of Jacksonville finest architects.

Milanovic liked the climate in Jacksonville and Morgan, who was designing a federal courthouse in Tallahassee, had work for him.

Technically, Milanovic is no longer an architect since his European license isn’t recognized here. He said he plans to do the necessary course work to obtain his license here soon.

But working without a license hasn’t been a problem since he moved here since he’s always worked for other architects who are licensed. He’s worked with Morgan, worked for Reynolds, Smith and Hills and was with Rink, Reynolds, Diamond, Fisher, later renamed Rink Design, from 2002 until it closed in 2010.

Meanwhile, he and some other associates from Rink Design started D Coop, an architecture and interior design firm, in 2008.

“We’re all very different but somehow we jell together,” he said.

Any great project needs three elements, he said: a great client, a great contractor and a good designer.

The client on 1534 Oak is Black Sheep Restaurant Group, the team behind Chew and Orsay. They’ve placed a high priority on trying to minimize inconvenience from the construction, Milanovic said.

“We knocked on every door in the neighborhood and gave phone numbers for people to call,” he said. “They’ve been very sensitive, which is a very good thing. We want to be a good neighbor.”

The contractor is D.W. Myers, which is dealing with the challenge of not having much storage space on site, he said. As a result, the project is taking time. Ground broke last June. Construction probably won’t end until next June.

When it’s finished, Milanovic said, he hopes it’s a building which everyone looks at and says, those guys are good.

“We really want to make the best we can.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Crane Operator

4 columns or 170 feet = 12 tons of steel

These are going up today or tomorrow. 140 lbs a linear foot of steel.

Field Modifications

There's a lot going on today at the site and will be all week. The majority of the remaining structural steel was delivered this morning (sorry for the traffic back up this am). The structure should take it's total form by the end of this week with no other major traffic delays.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our first regulars

We've got lots of regulars who come by to watch the building go up. Today was an especially busy steel and crane day. These folks came by to make a small pre-lunch audience. There's more sidewalk vehicular traffic in 5 Points than I realized.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Quiet Waiter contest.

Above: the dumbwaiter shaft

The dumb waiter gets a bad rap!

Sure, all it has to do is go up and down all day - without speaking, greeting, ordering, ringing, cashing out or thanking a customer. But it's no easy job.

Up and down, up and down, up and down, etc. No tips, no "thank you"s, no "job well done"s, and no paycheck. It's paid for up front and property of the building forever. (Don't go there)

Sure, it will get fixed when it's broken. It will get all the power it needs to do it's job day in and day out. It will always have a long as it works for the house.

Let's be realistic though - it's a piece of equipment. Just like the grill, oven, water filter, or computer system. It may not be smarter than the one, but certainly not dumber than another.

So...the person who comes up with the best name for the hardest working food runner in our restaurant, currently know as the dumb waiter, will get an invite for 2 to the first night of soft openings!

Submit your suggestions in the comment section below. And cheers to the quietest waiter we will ever manage!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A bird's eye view

Ever since the cherry picker came on site 2 weeks ago, we've been talking about going up. Up to the corner of the building to the highest point a guest might be and see - over the streets and tree tops toward the beautiful St. Johns River. Talking and planning aside, today was the day - for me at least.

After determining my fear of heights was unfounded and confirming my bladder was completely empty, I met our Field Manager Russ on site.

Safety first:
Harness - check

Hard hat - check

Movember 'stache - check!

My chariot approaches

Going up please

So worth it!

When it's all done - this view looking back will be the roof top dining space - filled with customers.

Truth be told, I prefer to be under a tree than above them, but I'll like this view a lot more when there's a building under me instead of harnessed to a shaky cherry picker bucket.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The elevator shaft frame

These are going up via crane tomorrow. Starting at 7:15am. Should be cool to watch.

The first 45 days of overhead coverage

The folks across the street were kind enough to let us put a camera on their roof to record this great project. This covers from Nov 17-Oct 31 in 3:14. The cool shadowing effect that pops up on occasion is really rain and the effects of humidity on the lens of our high tech camera! Wait for it...there is a happy ending.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally building up!

After 4 months of site clearing, utility connections, ground preparation and underground conduit, the building at 1534 Oak Street is finally going vertical. Contractor DW Meyers emphasized the importance of this work as it, and primarily the foundation under the elevator shaft that goes down 8-10 feet and contains 1 million pounds of rock, rebar and concrete, act as the anchor for a building that has a relatively small footprint for it's height and built on an irregular shaped lot.

While "things where happening" over the past several months, the visual changes that will occur over the next 8 months will be much more gratifying and exciting. The steel sub contractor, Jax Steel has been fabricating the columns and beams over the past month and is anxious to put them up. In about a two hours time, the site went from looking like this

to this

The architectural team, Design Cooperative, has walked the lot to make sure all the conduit and wall bases are in the right locations. The vision they've seen for over a year is finally getting more clear to layman like us when we can see the 6 inch underground conduit that's going to take our 8 beer lines to the bar which is situated, right now, in the dirt amazingly close to the elevator lobby. It reminds us that, though is seems big on paper, the restaurant is only 5,200 square feet - roughly the size of the Brick.

Our eye in the sky saw this action on Monday

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update: Evidence and finger prints found

Quick to respond, this evidence, left behind by the 5 Points graffiti artists, was found. They have a partial print and a warrant has been issued. A Black Sheep spokesmen suggested leniency given the benign nature of the tagging.

Glaring absent was the can of spray paint. More at 5pm.

Breaking: 5 Points Graffiti Artists Embrace Black Sheep - group split on response

Construction crews at 1534 Oak Street were greeted Tuesday morning with a flock of sheep. Several spray painted Black Sheep logos around the project, likely left by overnight vandals. The damage was minimal, but questions still remain.

The teams behind the development knew going in there was a potential for this, given the eclectic neighborhood with a history of artistic expression. The only question was when it would happen. The answer - 3 months.

Luckily, the site was only tagged on the footers and elevator shaft - areas likely never to be seen again. The rental equipment and signage was spared...this time.

One source from the development team, who preferred not to be identified, commented this morning, that "while it's no Banksy, it's pretty rad" that the friendly vandals tagged the site with the Black Sheep logo.

The contractor, on the other hand, was concerned that the interlopers may come back when steel is overhead, creating a liability. A spokesman for DW Meyers promised, "We will find these young men and see that it doesn't happen again."

Despite highly sophisticated surveillance equipment, this is the only photo captured of the tagging -

This photo taken 30 minutes earlier shows a man of interest (on the corner), possibly scouting the site or acting as a look out -

Despite increased rounds by JSO, no arrests have been made as of this posting. Please call 701-4OAK if you have any information.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Preparing the hot tub

It's actually not a hot tub, but so many people checked in when they thought we were putting in a swimming pool...

Maybe we should rethink the roof top amenities.

This is actually our elevator footing, but after last nights rain, it was 1/2 filled with water - so really a cold tub.

We're installing a hydraulic elevator. From what I gather, the cylinder, which is 45 feet below the ground in the middle of that square footer, uses the footer above for leverage to "climb" out of the ground pushing the elevator up.

When it's done, it should have you up to the bar for a happy hour cocktail in about 30 seconds.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Road Closings and gas lines

This is a sign we all hate to see. Our contractor, DW Meyers, has tried to keep road closures to a bare minimum over the course of this project. Until the spaces and landscaping on Margaret Street are put in place sometime next April, that street will never be closed.

Unfortunately, JEA did have to close Oak Street for portions of the day Thursday and today to connect the water and sewer. Though water and sewage won't be flowing through these lines for another 8 months, JEA, as has been the case throughout the start of this project, is on the case and working quickly to get this done.

This connection was done Thursday and will hopefully never be seen again - it's the sewer hookup.

In both cases, they had to dig around this 4" gas line...

And this equally as large At&t fiber optics cable. If you can't upload this blog or anything else in the next few hours - it was JEA! Seriously though, there have been meetings and markings and then more meetings and markings. I have no doubt it will all go well. Is that gas I smell?