October 10, 2018
August 16, 2018
It was a fall morning on the calendar last month, but outside it felt like the dead of summer. Sundt employee-owners walked from their field office and joined the crowd beneath a white-canopied event tent, dwarfed by neighboring high-rises and tower cranes. Guests started taking off their suit jackets, picking up the SWAG pocket fans, and hydrating as if a coach somewhere had called a timeout. Even with the heat, however, there was a feeling of anticipation that couldn’t be sapped. It was time to celebrate.
Attendees from Sundt Construction, Allen + Philp Architects, the Opus Group, Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), Hilton, and the City of Tempe all came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Canopy by Hilton in downtown Tempe.
Carlos J. Rodriguez Sr., CEO of Driftwood Acquisitions & Development (DAD), kicked off the festivities with a dad joke; he praised his son and COO Carlos Jr. for treating this project as his baby, so in business terms “[Carlos Sr. is] a grandfather now.” Family humor aside, it was clear that this project means a great deal to many stakeholders, especially the city of Tempe, and it will take a village to complete something this size on such a tight lot and timeline.
The 14-story, 198-room boutique hotel is scheduled to open January 2020. It will feature various amenities, including a café, gym, over 3,000 square feet of meeting space, and a rooftop pool with a terrace bar, cabanas and a fire pit. As part of the Canopy by Hilton lifestyle brand, the new hotel will focus on local design, food and drink, and culture. “Everything about this is going to scream Tempe,” said Gary Steffen, Global Head of Canopy by Hilton. Steffen also noted the “breakneck speed” of Sundt’s progress, among other speakers who pointed out the irony of holding a groundbreaking ceremony with the first floor of concrete columns already in place.
Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby commented on downtown’s need for quality hotel and conference space, for business and leisure travelers as well as visitors to ASU. Also, she said, “This project will create over 620 jobs in Tempe for the short term, and then hundreds more in the long term to staff and run the hotel.”
Sundt Senior Project Manager Jim Drago, among the “vested” crowd in the back wearing their PPE, said, “The most challenging part is it’s an extremely small site—less than a half-acre, including our entire laydown area—to build a 14-story building. And it’s less than 100 feet from the high-rise apartments we just finished. It’s all about logistics.” Sundt’s Building Group, Southwest District recently finished the Union Tempe mixed-use project in June, just in time for move-in of its current 500 residents who include ASU students and faculty, young professionals and families.
According to Jim Drago, collaboration has been a key ingredient in the project’s development: “It’s not very common for two different developers to work together hand-in-hand, but that’s what Opus and Driftwood had to do to make the Canopy happen, and they continue to work together.”
Several things stand out about this project, from both a development and a construction standpoint. “It’s unique to have finished Union Tempe for one client and then transform right into the next project, a similar one but for a different client on the same piece of land,” Jim said. Both he and Project Superintendent Justin Gillies pointed out that having the same team on Canopy is a unique advantage. “It’s great to be able to leverage our shared learning experience,” Justin said. “And we’re going to need that to meet our goal of completing a floor a week.”
“The team all know each other, and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and styles. The chemistry is already built, and it shows in the teamwork that goes on every day,” said Jim Drago.
While the Building Group, Southwest District looks to put Sundt’s signature on yet another piece of Tempe’s rising skyline, fellow employee-owners in Texas are doing the same on the Canopy by Hilton San Antonio. As we expand our presence in the hospitality and entertainment market, Sundt continues to deliver for our clients and for the communities where we work and live.
February 6, 2018
Our Building Group’s Southwest District recently completed a 10-story high-rise academic medical and research laboratory in downtown Phoenix, the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building. Sundt captured the project in 360-degree video and images to show off the world-class research and laboratory spaces. The complexity of these spaces is difficult to put into words, as so much is happening from an architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing perspective. 360-degree imagery offers a more intuitive way to explore this environment—looking around. It reveals details that required extended coordination, such as how the building’s copper exterior mimics the walls of the Grand Canyon, or the way natural light floods into the library. Ultimately, people can see what inspires our employee-owners to exceed expectations: bringing the entire built environment to life.
Watch our 360-degree video tour of the building and drag/swipe to explore the finished project!
January 30, 2018
Attendees at the first Sundt Devils session listen to a panel of experts talk about women in construction.
We have a longstanding, valued partnership with Arizona State University. Along with our current work modernizing Sun Devil Stadium, we have performed numerous projects that are improving the campus experience.
Our “Sundt Devils” discussion series, which kicked off last week, is taking the commitment directly to ASU construction management and engineering students.
The first event on the Tempe campus focused on women in construction. Our employee-owners on the panel were experts, including Senior Vice President and Building Group Manager Teri Jones, Senior Vice President and Southwest Building Group Manager Ryan Abbott, Project Executive Chandra Reilly, Project Manager Janene Thomas and Project Engineer Ashleigh Eubank.
Arizona State University students chat with Sundt employee-owners.
“This event really engaged the students in our Construction Management program,” said Kristen Parrish, Assistant Professor at ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. “Multiple students approached me following the event to say they had learned something and were even more excited to pursue their own construction careers.”
Attendee questions included what advice the panelists would offer a woman entering the industry and how job seekers could stand out from the crowd. While the audience was mostly female, several male students came to learn more about the topic. After the panel discussion, attendees stayed around to network with their peers and our team.
“It’s exciting that our first Sundt Devils event was well received by the attendees and great conversation was sparked,” said Sundt Talent Acquisition Specialist Sarah Clapper. “I attribute the majority of our success to our five panelists. They took time out of their busy schedules to chat and network with the crowd. At the end of the event, I received positive feedback and excitement toward the next Sundt Devils event.”
Future Sundt Devils events will focus on other industry topics and trends. ASU students and faculty should follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for information as subjects and dates are announced. Students from any college or university can visit our website to learn more about internship and career opportunities.
January 24, 2018
The University of Arizona Biomedical Sciences Partnership won in ENR’s Higher Education/Research Project category.
Our work on the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building in Downtown Phoenix is among the Best of the Best from 2017, according to judging by Engineering News-Record.
The 10-story building for the University of Arizona won in the Higher Education/Research Project category. The facility is home to collaborative research in neurosciences, healthcare outcomes, cancer and medicine. Research performed in the building is expected to lead to groundbreaking discoveries with a direct impact on public health.
“It’s an urban medical research facility built on the principle of interdisciplinary work,” Ryan Abbott, who leads the Southwest District of our Building Group. “It’s in exactly the right location. We’re a knowledge economy based on life science.”
This announcement comes as the culmination of a nearly year-long effort by dozens of industry judges and the ENR editorial team to identify the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the U.S. among projects completed between May 2016 and May 2017.
The competition began last March with a call for entries, which resulted in approximately 700 industry project teams submitting their work to the regional Best Projects competitions. In each of the 10 regions, editors assembled panels of judges to select the regional winners in 20 categories.
Once regional winners were chosen, they moved to the national competition. A new set of judges from across the country and all walks of the industry examined each project in an effort to distinguish the best from the best in teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation and quality.
The projects and judges will be featured in more depth in the March 5 issue of ENR. Also in that issue, the editors of ENR, in collaboration with the judges, will select one project from the Best of the Best group as the Project of the Year, which will be revealed in the issue.
We’re turning a former parking lot into 407 residences with numerous amenities in Tempe, Arizona.
It’s a unique project that had us transition from landowner to builder. Few things about Union Tempe Apartments, being built on the site of a former parking lot, will be commonplace for Arizona when the project is finished in July.
We owned the land, located not far from our headquarters in Tempe, for several years before selling it to the developer, The Opus Group. Opus is a family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies headquartered in Minneapolis with offices and projects across the country.
The 407 residences will “expand the downtown Tempe community to be more walkable, bike-friendly and economically diverse,” said Ryan Abbott, our Southwest District Building Group Manager.
Residents will have top-of-the-line amenities including a shared fifth-floor deck with a resort-style swimming pool, grilling area and outdoor lounges with cabanas and fire pits. There will also be a fitness center, dog walk and storage for more than 450 bikes.
The project will cover a city block and feature two towers, one 20 stories and the other 12. The first will have primarily studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The second will have 22 walk-up city homes and flats wrapping the first four stories. The building includes more than 31,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
We self-performed the concrete work, which helped in numerous ways. It gave us better control over quality and schedule and further honed our capabilities of constructing quality high-rise buildings. The teams building both towers often held a friendly competition to see which side could complete its work faster.
“Any project of this size brings complexity and I have appreciated Sundt’s willingness to plan, execute and problem-solve along the way,” said Opus Group Senior Vice President Lawrence Pobuda. “Most importantly, we have developed a real rapport – based on open communication and shared vision. We look forward to delivering this project on time, and on budget, and we feel confident we will do that with Sundt by our side.”