HOK has worked with Swinerton on many projects over more than four decades, says Paul Woolford, senior vice president and design principal for HOK.

The firms work well together due to their mutual commitment to innovation and sustainability, Woolford says. At 535 Mission Street, tools such as Revit are being used for modeling, Navisworks for clash detection and CMiC software for project coordination. "Swinerton is a good partner, in particular, because rather than waiting to solve problems, they are a leader in proactively preventing them," he adds.

The company also is planning for LEED certification on the $170-million 10th & Market project, a four-tower, 754-unit multifamily residential complex that aims to help revitalize this San Francisco neighborhood. Owner Crescent Heights, based in Miami, recently rebranded the project as NEMA, for New Market.

Originally designed by Heller Manus Architects and redesigned by Handel Architects, both of San Francisco, the two 40-story towers and two 25-story towers will be connected by a three-story podium with a fitness center, swimming pool and garden.

NEMA, located at one of San Francisco's busiest intersections, poses logistical challenges and required more than 600 workers from nearly 60 subcontractors on site at peak. Swinerton began excavation in late 2011 and expects to deliver the first high-rise and midrise in October of this year and the remaining structures in the second quarter of 2014, Johnson says.

In addition to delivering green buildings, the firm ranks No. 9 on Solar Power World's Top 100 list and first on its commercial solar contractors list.

Swinerton's renewable-energy division is currently working on a $91-million project for Southern California Edison (SCE) to build four solar powerplants totaling 55 MW 20 miles north of Lancaster as well as a 4.3-mile-long generation tie line connecting one of the sites to a SCE substation.

Anticipating market needs, such as solar and multi-family housing, remains essential to the Swinerton ethos. "We were not even involved with solar power four years ago, but we listened to our people and now we are a leader in the field," Hoopes says.

Swinerton sees future market opportunities in waste-to-energy recycling, desalination plants in arid regions and retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency.

Focus on New Technology

Leadership in technology is a long-standing tradition for Swinerton. Charles Lindgren, who in 1888 founded Boyd, Sharples, & Lindgren—which would later become Swinerton—also started the Bakersfield Sandstone Brick Co. That company used fire-resistant sandtone bricks to help reconstruct wood buildings after the disastrous 1889 Bakersfield fire.

In the early 20th century, Lewis Hicks, a partner in Lindgren Hicks Co., another Swinerton precursor, was a pioneer in steel-reinforced concrete construction, a revolutionary tool for building sturdier structures after the 1906 San Francisco quake.