In 2018, we delivered one of our most iconic projects to date:
365 Nicollet. The 30-story multifamily tower in the heart of downtown Minneapolis features 370 luxury apartment suites, distinctive architecture inside and out and high-end amenities not previously available in the Twin Cities. It is a remarkable statement for contemporary urban living on Nicollet Mall. Also remarkable is the fact that the building was fully complete two months ahead of schedule.
With an original contract completion date of December 8, we achieved partial completion and welcomed the first group of residents four months ahead of schedule on August 1. Substantial completion followed on October 1. How was this kind of speed possible, especially when erecting a high-rise in the middle of a major city? Our one-team approach to design-build was crucial to the success.
Vertical Integration Yields Meaningful Collaboration, Key Benefits
Opus DB3™, our unique approach to design-build, differs in many ways from the traditional design-bid-build process managed by a general contractor. With in-house expertise for all aspects of the project – development, design and construction – our vertical integration provides meaningful collaboration with the client from day one until the last detail is finished. This single-source approach provides clients with faster schedules, early guaranteed pricing, reduced costs, improved risk management, less administrative burden and performance-based quality control.
With collaboration from our internal business partner services – risk management, environmental risk, accounting, legal, human resources and marketing – we began a three-year journey to create what would become a significant landmark. The core team members for 365 Nicollet had just come off The Nic on Fifth®, another three-year urban high-rise project in downtown Minneapolis. Having that continuity of key players – understanding how they work and what makes them tick – was a huge asset that increased efficiency.
We are a strong, cohesive group. Decisions regarding key factors like schedule, fee and cost are discussed transparently between us and the client. Ideas are fleshed out and questions get answered immediately and sometimes even before they surface.
Ensuring Design Constructability & Cost Implications Real Time
From very early in the design phase of 365 Nicollet, our project managers and field construction associates provided input to improve the constructability of the building. For example, some columns and balconies were relocated or redesigned to work with a conventional post-tensioned concrete forming system. To allow us to make truly informed design decisions, subcontractors also provided early input on the cost implications of various design elements, providing almost real-time pricing updates. This kind of immediate feedback creates balance between cost and design for a super streamlined process, constantly reviewing constructability to ensure the budget was met without sacrificing design intent.
Most of this happens behind the scenes and clients don't see it, but they definitely benefit from it. They also benefit from working with our seasoned team. Many of us have long tenures with the company and have moved from project to project together. That creates a culture and bond that's not commonplace. We know this from working with outside partners who can go through two or three team member changes over the course of a single project.
The outdoor entrance at 365 Nicollet features an elaborate, illuminated glass column. It was one of the last details to be finalized. Looking back, that glass column is really a testament to how well our three entities work together. Our developers had the vision; our architects and engineers figured out how to make it work, and our project managers made it happen. To ensure it hit the mark, we needed to see it at night. So we met in the pouring rain at 10 p.m. on the summer solstice when it was finally dark enough, staring at it. And it was stunning.
The Bottom Line
All these efficiencies lead to better quality developments and buildings, as well as savings in the form of cost and time. Delivering the project months ahead of schedule meant leasing could start sooner, increasing rental income. And, instead of trying to attract renters in the dead of a Minnesota winter, partial completion by August 1 allowed potential tenants to see the pool deck and outdoor amenities open. Early delivery also reduces time and interest on construction loans, as well as fewer overhead costs and less risk.
Read about the development, exterior design and interior design of this iconic building.