Recently, John “Buck” Buckley , Gaston Service Division Manager, spoke with Boston Business Journal Real Estate Editor Catherine Carlock about the steps that building owners and managers are taking to make facilities safer, more attractive to tenants, and ready for increased energy requirements. Topics included the importance of ample lab space in the Boston and Cambridge markets as well as the financial hurdles involved with office to lab conversions.
Some hospitals and health-care facilities are already planning to improve their facilities systems in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, said John Buckley, service division manager with Norwood-based electrical contractor Gaston Electrical Co. Inc. Whether that extends to the commercial office side remains to be seen.
Converting an office building into something that can handle life-science type systems is neither easy nor cheap, Buckley said. The facilities would go from basic infrastructure — cooling, heating, hot water, and data for computers — to running continual power, installing emergency generators so the power never goes out, and upgrading ventilation and exhaust systems.
“It’s mammoth, on the mechanical side, when you got to a life-science type operation as opposed to an office building,” Buckley said. “It’s a lot of design, and it’s expensive.”
Some area landlords have converted a floor or two to life-science standards, versus an entire building, which Buckley said there could be more of in the future.
In the wake of Covid-19 contractors, are faced with new challenges regarding workplace productivity, scheduling, and worker safety. With a lot of communication and planning – leading construction firms have been able to adapt to new guidelines, and develop new protocols for a safe return to work.
Recently, Mike Weber and Greg Skalaski, Executive Vice President for Shawmut Design and Construction’s western division spoke with Kim Slowey at ConstructionDive.com – sharing industry insight and best practices.
On June 10th, The Boston Preservation Alliance announced the winning projects for their 2020 Achievement Awards. This list of winners includes some amazing renovation/rehabilitation projects including The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Graves Lighthouse, The Revolution Hotel, and our project with Shawmut Construction – Boston University Myles Standish Hall.
The Myles Standish Hall Project was a 14-month renovation/rehabilitation of the well-known Kenmore Square landmark building. The Gaston Team provided full electrical services upgrades for the building systems, common areas, and student units as well as a new electrical service, all new lighting, fire alarm and power throughout.
Below is the project and award description from The Boston Preservatiuon Alliance website. Click here to visit the site directly.
Myles Standish Hall, formerly the Myles Standish Hotel, stands on the corner of Beacon Street and Baystate Road in the Kenmore neighborhood. Designed by Arthur Bowditch, the architect behind Paramount Theater (2010 Alliance Preservation Achievement Award winner) and constructed in 1925, it housed VIPs such as Babe Ruth and the Yankees. It hosted everything from grand social events like society weddings and balls to two basement level speakeasies during Prohibition. To house an influx of soldiers entering college under the G.I. Bill after WWII, Boston University purchased and transformed the hotel into the Myles Standish Hall dormitory, where a wide variety of notables graced its halls from Howard Stern to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over time the exterior of the building began to deteriorate due to the dampness of the alcoves of the E-shaped floor plan. Significant water infiltration led the University to undertake a major renovation of the 90-year-old building. As much as 65% of the exterior masonry required careful replacement with matching materials and an entire exterior wall required re-building; repointing and cleaning the masonry not replaced was required as well. Extensive granite repair, cast stone replacement, and rebuilding of the facades at the first and second-floor walls were required to restore the storefronts which had been removed in 1949. Most of these materials were re-used in the construction process, and the entire building was made more energy efficient. The main entrance on Beacon Street and secondary entrance on Bay State Road were re-constructed to reflect the original entrance design, complete with a canopy. The interior of the building was also updated to create a contemporary and accessible space for students. The surrounding intersection and sidewalks were upgraded to create a safer area for pedestrians. Bike paths and a park plaza were added to create outdoor space for residents and neighbors to enjoy the historic surroundings.
“The fact that Boston University took on this restoration project rather than argue for replacement, particularly within a neighborhood undergoing dramatic change and loss of historic fabric, makes an important statement about the importance of preservation and about sustainability,” says Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “Older buildings such as Myles Standish Hall are ripe for transformation, retaining the history that happened within their walls and holding firm to the historic context of the surrounding neighborhood while meeting the university’s needs.”
With construction beginning a slow restart in the Boston market, industry leaders are focused on a safe return to work for their employee teams and project partners. Recently, Gaston Principal Mike Weber chatted with Catherine Carlock of the Boston Business Journal about enhanced safety measures and the importance of communication in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a screenshot of the article and you can read the full article by clicking here (with BBJ subscription).
Recently, Gaston Principal Bill Weber held a zoom meeting discussion with Joe Kelly of The Mass Construction Show to review best practices for managing a company, clients, and employees in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
As Construction leaders across the country adapt to a rapidly-changing business environment, many cities/metros like Boston and Cambridge are implementing temporary work stoppages to combat (and slow) the spread of the coronavirus.
For the third consecutive year, The Gaston Team took an active role in Women In Construction Week activities across Boston and Cambridge. Spearheaded once again by Human Resources Director Nina Radzim, Women and Men from Gaston joined clients, project partners and industry groups at multiple events from March 1st – 7th.
This year, we kicked off the week with an office breakfast to recognize the important role of Women In Construction – and at our office in particular! In the photo below – Cidalia, Christine, Megan, Lindsay, Selene, Nina, Kim, and Karen pause to mark the occasion.
As the week continued, we visited with our friends at Siena Construction in Cambridge for a panel discussion on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion. Nina was joined by Gaston Principals Bill Weber and Mike Weber.
The highlight of the week was The Inspire Awards hosted by The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Massachusetts and their Boston Women In Construction (BWiC) Subgroup. The Annual event was started two years ago to spotlight the important contribution of Women in the Boston Construction Market. This year, Marianne Monte of Shawmut Design & Construction joined Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito to honor the award winners in front of a packed room of our 250 guests. Notably – Gaston’s own Megan Dempsey (Field Apprentice) was nominated for Rising Star and Nina Radzim was nominated for Emerging Leader – Great Job Ladies!
We look forward to supporting Women In Construction Week and The AGC of Massachusetts Inspire Awards again in 2021.
Recently, The Gaston Electrical Team was selected by John Moriarty and Associates to lead electrical, structured cabling, and security work for the core & shell portion of Parcel EF at Cambridge Crossing. Parcel EF, when complete, will rise to 9 floors and feature 504,000 SF of space – including 6,000 SF of retail at the ground level.
This large-scale assignment is located adjacent to our current project at Parcel JK – as 430,000 SF, 9 story building which will be the new North American Headquarters of Philips. Gaston is overseeing the core and shell electrical along with the fit-up for Philips – both JMA assignments.
Additionally, work is underway at Parcel W better known as “The Shed“. This 18,000 SF building is situated on the opposite side of Parcel JK along the parkland/greenspace along the center of the development. Gaston Team members are also busy at this location as part of the Shawmut Team.
Recently, The Gaston Electrical Team was selected by Cafco Construction to oversee Electrical Construction services for the massive new Davio’s Restaurant at 50 Liberty / Fan Pier in Boston’s booming Seaport. This high-profile project comes on the heels to two other successful projects with Cafco over the past year. Trillium Brewery in Fort Point was an instant destination location and the newly-opened Night Shift Brewery at Lovejoy Wharf is sure to create a buzz with its North Station waterfront location.
EaterBoston.com shared an exciting overview of the new location – with details on the size, menu, and ownership. Read the full story here.
Davio’s Boston Seaport adds to a flurry of other construction activity in Boston’s Seaport with previous project work including Wework on Sleeper Street, Envoy Hotel Roofdeck along Fort Point Channel, and Aptiv at 100 Northern Ave.
Gaston teams have also been busy on the eastern end of the Seaport at The Innovation and Design Building (with projects for Ginkgo Bioworks and Continuum), and on the new Boston Sword & Tuna facility.
About Gaston Electrical
For over 80 years, Gaston Electrical has provided expert electrical contracting services to the commercial, institutional, life-sciences, hospitality, and retail markets in New England.