In a first for grocery chain Fred Meyer, its oldest Portland location had an $11.4-million remodeling while the store was unoccupied.

The 1950s building had three earlier expansions or remodelings. After coming in second in two open-bid competitions for the latest overhaul with proposals above Fred Meyer's budget, Seattle-based J.R. Abbott Construction suggested an unoccupied remodel, saying that would cut costs on phasing the work while the store was open. Kroger-owned Fred Meyer agreed to that type of renovation and Abbott committed to a three-month store closure for construction and one month for merchandising.

There were challenges. Abbott thought the store had a large footing system, which would stabilize the structure and tie into a new pile-cap system it planned to put in. But crews found the footing system didn't exist. The team decided to add new footings at all shear-wall locations and helical micropiles to stabilize the structure and minimize lost time and added costs.

Moreover, extra work shifts were needed to deal with extensive asbestos contamination and replace unsuitable existing slab-on-grade foundations. The 76,000-sq-ft renovation and the 15,000-sq-ft addition were finished in a five-and-a-half-month shutdown, including a six-week delay due to the structural issues.

Key Players: Fred Meyer, Burlingame Portland 

Contractor: J.R. Abbott Construction, Lake Oswego, Ore.

Owner: Fred Meyer Stores, Portland

Design Firm: MulvannyG2 Architecture, Portland

Submitted by MulvannyG2 Architecture

See more ENR Northwest Best Projects of 2012 here