From its shops and restaurants to Petco Park and a convention center overlooking the Marina, Downtown San Diego is a vibrant hub of culture, commerce and tourism that has expanded and modernized rapidly over the past decade. The city is still on the rise, with projects like the Pendry Hotel elevating San Diego’s Gaslamp District even further as a top nightlife and travel destination.
Designed by ACRM Architects, and developed by The Robert Green Company, the Pendry San Diego will be the first entry in a new ultra-modern and style-oriented luxury imprint from Montage Hotels & Resorts. To ensure the success of this $135 million flagship project, The Robert Green Company has entrusted its production to the design-build and construction specialists at davisREED.
The right contractors for a complex project
“Lifestyle hotels are generally known for their vibrant lobbies, bars and F&B, but not for their service or guest rooms,” said Montage Hotels & Resorts CEO Alan Fuerstman, when announcing the concept behind Pendry San Diego and the Pendry Hotels experience. “We’re going to combine the two. We’re going to have very active and exciting public spaces, coupled with a luxury experience in the guest rooms.”
The architecture reflects this concept, with a design intended to evoke a blend of “London hip, New York-paced and California healthy.” The 15-story Pendry San Diego will feature 317 guest rooms—including 36 customized suites—as well as two restaurants, a lounge and beer hall , a fitness center, spa, 3rd level pool deck, and 22,000 square feet of meeting space. This concept also extends to the exterior design, an eclectic combination of contrasting plaster and brickwork facades to create an illusion of several buildings within the single structure.
Proper execution of this design requires the right contracting firm—one with the experience and funding to handle a complex large-scale hospitality project, but the flexibility and creativity of a lean and hungry upstart. This is the space in which davisREED Construction Inc. excels.
“We’re not just out there doing cookie cutter projects,” said Mike Lyons, Project Manager for the Pendry San Diego project. “We’re a small contractor that does big and complex projects. We have small focused teams, but we do a lot of work and we like to take on projects like this that are challenging.”
Emphasizing safety in a busy cityscape
Thousands of people walk the streets of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, and that number increases exponentially during special events—and the city’s hospitable weather means that events are happening often, from Padres games to Mardi Gras to San Diego Comic-Con. Working in a tight area surrounded by pedestrian activity, davisREED faces significant safety challenges. The contracting team looks to efficiencies like prefabricated plumbing fixtures, panelized exterior walls that are constructed offsite. We also utilize third party safety inspection services to make certain that safety is kept at the forefront.
“If you do safety in house, a lot of times you may not really be looking as close as you need to, so we outsource our safety inspections to keep us on our toes,” said Lyons, explaining that those whole project inspections started out every two weeks and have increased as the project becomes more complex nearer to completion.
“Then we’re very active in not only just going through the reports and looking at the findings of our third party inspectors, but also taking it to a point of responding and closing out those reports to make sure we’re doing everything we can to be safe,” he added. “We haven’t had major problems on the project with safety, because we’re constantly looking at it.”
Working with the city
Safety also requires careful coordination with subcontractors, trade partners, the city and surrounding businesses to keep construction on schedule without disturbing special events taking place downtown.
“The ball park did not want us pouring concrete on day games,’” Lyons explained. We also had to avoid street activities during major convention center events or Gaslamp street parties like Marti Gras “So we’ve got our calendar marked up with events, and we try to optimize the sequence our work so that, for example, we have a pour date on Thursday because Friday we can’t be out there. That’s been a challenge, going through the calisthenics of addressing the needs of the people that occupy the areas where we’re working.”
But davisREED has risen to that challenge, even when staying on schedule means working overtime and increasing manpower to overcome the delays of city work. “Every once in a while we have to spend a little and work overtime to make a pour a day sooner,” said Lyons. “But we’d rather spend that money and pull forward than lose days.”
A future for the Gaslamp
This dedication and careful planning has paid off, with the Pendry San Diego on track for completion and additional restaurant build-outs by mid-November.
“It fills a gap in the middle of downtown—it’s smack dab in the middle of the Gaslamp district, two blocks to the convention center and two blocks to the ball park,” said Lyons. “It’s kind of a standout here in the middle of downtown, a building this size. It’s a place to come and enjoy all the entertainment and it’s a really key focal point of downtown San Diego, a cornerstone that’s going to connect it all.”