The $185.5-million W Hotel and Residences in Miami Beach, a high-end, 816-unit condo-hotel project, features more than 20 unit types and layouts, each with different design challenges and coordination obstacles.

Photo Courtesy KM/Plaza
Photo Courtesy KM/Plaza

The project team delivered the job on time in June.

The project is designed to mirror the vibrancy of the South Beach life where people go to see and be seen. Traditional boundaries of interior and exterior architecture are dissolved to engage the energy and light. Guest rooms are staggered in a herringbone design to provide guests with unsurpassed views of the ocean.

The project began in February 2007. KM/Plaza employed a dual leadership structure, with one executive responsible for the core and shell and a second the interior components of the building. A single general superintendent managed field operations.

KM/Plaza considered the dewatering effort related to the construction of the below-grade tunnel and basement—located just several hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean—the single greatest challenge on the project. Lunar tides and constantly changing underwater aquifer flows required innovative and constant changes to the dewatering system and layout.

Dozens of both diesel and electric pumps were employed 24 hours a day for several months. At times, the system was removing more groundwater than the onsite wells could handle. Due to the basement feature, the team poured a 4-ft-thick concrete tremie slab 30 ft below grade in murky water with the aid of trained industrial divers.

Upon completion of the dewatering effort, the building began to rise vertically. The team completed an entire 30,000-sq-ft floor plate every five or fewer days, with the aid of custom steel-fabricated concrete tables and the largest concrete pumps available to the industry. The rebar was predominantly grade 75, incorporating additional strength with economy of size and weight.

Twenty of the project’s 22 swimming pools are located in the penthouse roof units. One required the hoisting of a custom-made, 60-ft, stainless-steel lap pool that then needed assembly by specially trained welders and craftsmen.

The building features high-end finishes, such as marble and tile from Italy, Brazil and China; a window system with custom ornamental screens from Canada; custom metals from China; and kitchen cabinetry from Italy.

Key Players

Owner: Tri-Star Capital
Contractor: KM/Plaza
Architect: Nichols, Brosch, Wurst, Wolfe & Associates
Engineers: VSN Engineering, Desimone Consulting Engineers, JGP Engineering Group, PA