By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor
The “largest Candlewood Suites hotel in the world” is officially open. Cleveland Construction Inc., the general contractor, and Lend Lease, the exclusive owner, developer and asset manager for the Army’s entire lodging portfolio, recently celebrated the grand opening of the new hotel located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The hotel development is part of Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL), an Army-led program meant to revitalize on-post lodging facilities for soldiers, their families and all government travelers.
The new hotel stands five stories tall, encompassing 153,685 square feet divided into 310 studio and one-bedroom suites. All rooms are fully equipped with a kitchen, oversize work area and full bathroom. Amenities include a swimming pool with patio pavilion, business and fitness centers, guest laundry facilities, a breakfast bar and on-post shuttle services.
The hotel structure adheres to the military structural requirements for progressive collapse and blast impact standards. Pre-fabricated cold-formed structural metal stud panels, gypsum cement floor slabs on floors two through five, a structurally suspended first-floor concrete slab installed over eight-inch carton forms, a grade-beam foundation and 30-foot drilled bell piers form the structure of the building. The interior includes electrical, mechanical, plumbing, elevators, fire suppression and fire alarm systems. The exterior comprises gypsum board sheathing, a fluid applier vapor barrier, EIFS, a TPO roofing system and blast-resistant windows and storefront systems.
“The project proved to be extremely challenging, but I believe that because of the hard work and extraordinary efforts put forth by Lend Lease and our project teams, our goals for the project were realized,” said Elliot Christiansen, project manager for Cleveland Construction. “Rest Easy, IHG and more important, our soldiers, have a premier facility to enjoy for years to come.”
Construction started in August 2012 and was completed in August 2014. Throughout the development, Lend Lease and Cleveland Construction took responsibility for completing the project in the spirit of Lend Lease’s Incident and Injury Free Culture. Furthermore, Cleveland Construction implemented a recycling program that resulted in 94 percent of the construction waste being recycled. In all, five safety audits were conducted during construction and achieved perfect 100 percent scores from Lend Lease’s insurance provider. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the hotel manager to the entire Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program, will also manage the new flagship hotel.
“The level of safety achieved on this project is a significant accomplishment for our company. Receiving consecutive 100 percent ratings from the owner and insurance safety audits validate the safety leadership of our project team,” said Mitch DaDante, safety director for Cleveland Construction. “A senior risk engineer with Zurich Services Corp. called this the best site he had ever visited, based on the physical conditions and the positive safety management, something we can all be very proud of.”
Throughout the PAL program, Lend Lease will deliver 39 installations encompassing 11,600 hotel rooms, nationwide.