Almost nowhere did the condominium market go boom quite like it did in South Florida, and Miami in particular. Thousands of units were under construction at any one time for a period of years, with glitzy events often held to celebrate the latest and greatest luxury condo to be announced or actually started.
Some of those residential projects have recently completed, or are nearing so, but often with a significant number of empty units and developers still begging to close long-pending deals.
Meanwhile, in Miami’s business district, three notable office high-rise projects are nearing completion, each promising a unique addition to the surrounding, mostly residential landscape.
In 2005, Hurricane Wilma came across from the Gulf coast and slammed into the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade and Broward. One of the memorable images of that storm’s aftermath was the extreme amount of damage it did to windows of high-rise office buildings in both counties, including brand new buildings in Miami’s business district.
Alan Ojeda, president and CEO of Miami-based Rilea Group, remembers it well. It’s part of the reason that the exterior curtain-wall system adorning his new 35-story 1450 Brickell class-A office tower is achieving what is believed to be the country’s highest rating for wind resistance.
“People looked at those buildings on Brickell after Hurricane Wilma and immediately thought of the exterior window damage,” Ojeda stated in an email response to questions. “You also have to remember that the businesses behind those walls were devastated. Companies lost a lot of assets including office equipment and sensitive records.”
Enclos Corp. is delivering and installing the curtain-wall system for 1450 Brickell, working as a subcontractor to Coastal Construction Group of Miami. The specialty contractor has constructed building exteriors all over the world.
Mic Patterson, director of strategic development in the Los Angeles office of Enclos, says Rilea Group is making a significant statement with its new building.
“This is far and away the strongest curtain wall system that we have designed, and we have done many of the world’s tallest buildings in a wide variety of locations,” Patterson states. “It has been called the strongest, and to my knowledge no one has yet come forward with a stronger system.”
Though the South Florida region has its own set of stringent building codes due to the possibility of hurricanes, 1450 Brickell goes beyond those. For example, only the first three floors of the building are required to meet large missile-impact requirements as part of the state building code, while the remainder is required to undergo testing for small missile impact. Before the project started, Ojeda asked Enclos to evaluate the cost of meeting the large-missile requirements all the way up the building, which is what the team ultimately decided to do.
According to Patterson, the code for large missile impact requires a stronger exterior glass. Elevations over 30 ft must be tested in conformance with small missile impact, which is a less demanding specification.