June 29, 2020

A “Beautiful” Utility Plant? At W&M, DPR Makes it Happen

“It’s a beautiful building to look at,” DPR Construction’s Kate Nice said of William & Mary’s new West Utility Plant, a project for which she served as senior project engineer. “Beauty” and “utility plant” don’t often go together, but the design by RMF Engineering and architect Lord Aeck Sargent makes it possible.

The plant’s design documents note that the glass-and-masonry building “creates a display case like experience for automotive and pedestrian traffic that filters through campus” that lets the campus community see the complex systems inside while also managing to blend in with the entire campus aesthetic.

A view of the the building showing colorful pipes and ductwork because of the utility plant's design.
The plant's systems are in clear view of the campus community. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

For DPR to bring vision to life, though, took considerable planning, a robust virtual design and construction (VDC) program, prefabrication, and skillful work in the field – especially solutions developed by DPR’s self-perform work corps. The result: a building that students have already dubbed “the Mario building,” an allusion to the famous video game plumber and the colorful pipes that make up his world. As students return to campus this fall, it will be hard to miss.

Going Virtual

Situated nearly in the center of the campus and adjacent to active roadways and sidewalks, the utility plant site was smaller than an acre but would require a dozen trades and significant amounts of materials.

“It was a very complex mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) system,” Nice said. “We really had to coordinate schedule, delivery of materials and more.”

Those needs underscored the need for a VDC program geared to making sure execution was seamless.

Pipes and ductwork overlapping throughout the interior of the utility plant.
Complex systems were handled digitally first, enabling more seamless operations in the field. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

“VDC tools meant we were able to do a lot of clash detection early and update plans accordingly,” Nice said. “That also meant nearly every piece of pipe and ductwork could be prefabricated offsite. Even the building pad work was made possible through our laser scanning team.”

Having such a robust digital model meant that W&M got a head start with operations and asset management, which includes using DPR’s strategic partner VueOps.

“The facility managers can manage this building on VueOps down to individual valves if they choose to,” Nice said.

Office space inside the plant where digital models of building systems are shown on screen.
Use of VDC means facility operators are a step ahead on operations and able to put VueOps to use. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

Getting Practical

While VDC and prefabrication allowed work to happen offsite, making it happen on-site fulfilled what was envisioned in planning. One key aspect was keeping the campus community safe.

“We could shut down vehicle traffic adjacent to the site, but not pedestrian traffic,” Nice said. “Lots of students would walk by the site, heads down looking at their phones. We ended up painting safety signage on the ground to make sure they knew what was happening off their screens and earbuds.”

Behind the site fence, the trades – including a significant number of DPR self-perform craft workers – installed more than 5,000 ft. of underground heating hot water and chilled water infrastructure to create a secondary underground piping loop which tied into six existing buildings. Among the crews’ accomplishments was finding a solution to prefabricate cold form metal framing for metal wall sections that included insulation and other elements. Doing so shrank a six-week portion of work down to a week and required fewer people on the site’s tight site footprint.

In the end, the 12,000-sq.-ft. project was completed with zero defects.

“It’s what we love to do,” Nice said. “This was a very complex project that required us to leverage our technical building ability and our tools like VDC, self-perform and prefabrication. That it’s become so visible on campus is gratifying for the entire team.”

The exterior of the plant with masonry that matches the rest of the campus.
The building's design matches the rest of the campus. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

May 7, 2020

DPR Means Business at Clemson University

DPR Construction recently celebrated reaching substantial completion on Clemson University’s College of Business. The $87M project, features 24 teaching spaces, a five-story interior atrium, faculty offices, and amenities including a fireplace lounge and La Madeleine Café.

Clemson’s new College of Business is redefining the center of the university’s campus while creating a state-of-the-art think tank environment for the college’s growing student population. The 176,000 sq.-ft. facility’s collaborative, 21st century design overlooks the famous Tillman Hall clock tower and Bowman Field creating a new center of campus with room for future expansion beyond the business school.

Notably, DPR’s project team was able to hit substantial completion on time while adhering to physical distancing protocols. A new front door to Clemson’s historic campus, the new College of Business will open its doors to students this fall.

March 11, 2020

At NIH project, prefabrication delivers quality on schedule

DPR marked a major milestone on a project underway for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. The Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL) Cell Processing Modular Facility, which will be used by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to deliver cutting-edge cancer treatment, is the first large-scale, fully prefabricated and modular multi-module cGMP manufacturing facility of its kind ever built in the United States.

DPR workers finalize installation of a modular unit at the NIH project.
DPR workers finalize installation of a modular unit at the NIH project. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

In early December, ten prefabricated modules began arriving on the NIH campus, the final stop on their journey from subcontractor Germfree’s Ormond Beach, Florida manufacturing facility. The modules, which span an average 14 x 40 feet each, include a cell processing suite, cleanroom lab space, a cold storage room, office and work spaces and more.

As the modules arrived on site and over the next couple of weeks, construction crews undertook an extremely complex rigging procedure to move the modules into place. It involved a carefully choreographed sequence of rigging and hoisting the 40,000- to 50,000-pound modules some 35 to 40 feet into the air, over the structural steel exterior building envelope and through the open roof to set them in place on their foundations.

Magnifying the challenge, the entire operation took place a mere 40 feet from two adjacent, fully operational medical and research buildings. Vibration monitoring required close coordination with users in adjacent buildings to ensure that sensitive activities were not affected. “The logistics of planning the rigging was extremely complex,” commented DPR Project Executive Jeff Vertucci. He noted that the decision to construct the building’s exterior structural steel frame prior to installing the modules – essentially building the structure from the outside in – helped the team keep to schedule even as elements of the project changed. It is just one example of the solution-oriented approach adopted by the DPR-led design-build team working in concert with Germfree, architect Perkins & Will, and owner/end user, NIH and NCI.

The DPR team prepares a modular unit to be hoisted into the NIH structure.
DPR worked with its design-build team to develop a complex rigging plan that helped ensure project schedule. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

“We were already well into design and planning when we collaborated with our customer to recalibrate the scope for NIH, while also retaining a schedule that met their needs,” Vertucci said. “By enclosing the building and getting structural steel erected before the modules showed up, then reworking a rigging plan to drop the modules in through the roof, it made the rigging much more challenging but allowed us to save at least three months versus a traditional approach.”

That solution worked so well that NIH has asked DPR to re-sequence another job they are currently building on campus, the six-module CCDTM project, using the same approach, according to Vertucci. This DTM Modular Facility is using the same Germfree components as the TIL Facility.

Groundbreaking Technology

As DPR’s seventh project either underway or completed on the NIH campus, the TIL facility is a groundbreaking project in the world of cancer treatment. DPR Project Manager Ignacio Diaz said the facility’s lifesaving mission has provided the design and construction team extra motivation to work collaboratively and overcome an array of challenges in order to get the project up and running as quickly as possible.

“This is one of those jobs that did not need much outside influence to motivate people,” Diaz commented. “Cancer is such a common thing; virtually everybody is touched by it. The fact that we are building this facility that really impacts almost everybody is powerful. It gives us more incentive to finish fast so the end users, the researchers, can get to doing what they do – curing cancer, or at least helping to do so.”

A worker welds at the NIH project
A worker welds at the NIH project. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

Leveraging Expertise to Move Project Forward

With a footprint spanning approximately 6,000 sq. ft., the TIL Cell Processing Modular Facility is supported by an auger pile foundation drilled as deep as 30 feet. The structure has three levels: a bottom floor “crawl space” that follows the existing site slope, containing gas piping that includes the supplies of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) to the facility; a first floor comprising the 10 prefabricated modules; and a mechanical floor above. The mechanical level contains the building’s HVAC system, including two air handling units and two exhaust fans, electrical conduit for building controls and power systems, IT infrastructure and more.

Since being awarded the project in October 2017, DPR has leveraged its design management capabilities, its technical construction skills and its off-site construction management expertise to help keep the project moving forward while contending with underground utility rerouting, logistical challenges and tight site access, among other things. When the owner needed to make extensive programming changes to reconfigure the facility’s planned workflow during the design phase, DPR worked to re-sequence the project’s construction processes in order to make up some of the lost time.

Construction formally kicked off on the TIL Facility jobsite in August 2018, just two months after the off-site module prefabrication work was getting underway at Germfree’s Florida manufacturing plant.

An aerial view of the NIH project shows a modular unit in place inside the building.
From above, it's easy to see how the modular units piece together inside the structure. Photo courtesy of Ulf Wallin Photography

Modular Construction Delivers Quality Benefits

Off-site construction has provided significant quality and quality control benefits, according to Vertucci. Both the modules and the majority of the building systems were prefabricated off-site.

“I think ultimately NIH & NCI will end up with a phenomenally high-quality, state-of-the-art project when this is completed,” Vertucci commented. “Building this in a controlled environment in a warehouse manufacturing facility, by Germfree technicians who do this work all the time, makes the quality of what they are getting excellent.”

Adding to the quality control benefits, DPR is self-performing significant portions of the work with its own crews, including all exterior framing, sheeting, vapor barriers, doors, masonry and various other items.

Push Towards Completion

Following the arrival and installation of the 10 modules in December, the TIL project team will continue to make steady progress on the project during 2020. The project team also has an integrated commissioning plan which allows the owner’s Commissioning Qualification and Validation (CQV) agent to start with commissioning of systems as early as March 2020. This further allows for more time to work through the NIH document reviews that come with the cGMP facility requirements.

DPR is slated to complete all construction in Q2 2020 and have the CQV portion complete by Q3 2020, for turnover of the facility.

DPR is also handling all scientific equipment procurement on the project for the owner, a turnkey approach to project delivery that adds additional value for the client. This integrated approach ensures that DPR’s scientific equipment team will hand over a project with the necessary components needed for the research program the space is being used for.

February 20, 2020

DPR builds state-of-the-art academic building in Mesa, AZ

Arizona State University and City of Mesa leadership turn the ceremonial first shovels of dirt at the groundbreaking of the new ASU at Mesa City Center. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

DPR Construction celebrated the start of construction for Arizona State University at Mesa City Center, the $73.5 million academic building on the university’s new campus set just east of Phoenix. Located downtown in the City of Mesa’s growing innovation district, the three-story building will be home to the ASU Creative Futures Laboratory and serve more than 750 students and faculty.

The 117,795-sq.-ft. facility will house programs that train students to work with emerging technologies including augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D design. The space is expected to enable students to hone their digital expertise and prepare for jobs within the region’s growing technology sector.

“We’re excited to continue our relationship working on world-class facilities with ASU, especially in this location in the downtown Mesa. We’ve witnessed the tremendous growth and energy that has developed in downtown Phoenix after the projects we’ve worked on with them and are looking forward to the same in downtown Mesa,” said DPR project manager Austin King.

The facility will house a 2,800-sq.-ft. enhanced immersion studio where users can create augmented realities and map virtual spaces onto physical environments. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2021.

Rendering of planned ASU facility in Mesa. Photo courtesy of Holly Street Studio and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

February 11, 2020

Clemson University Scores a Double Play with its First Softball Facility and New Team

Clemson University President, Athletic Director, Softball Head Coach, Alumni and several members of the Softball Team gathered for the ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

The playing field is set for Clemson University softball’s inaugural season as the university recently celebrated the opening of its first softball facility. DPR Construction completed construction of the 50,000-sq.-ft. stadium in time for the team’s February 12 home opener.

As DPR built the facility from the ground up, Clemson did the same with its team.

“The opportunity to be part of building the new softball facility for Clemson was extremely exciting,” said DPR’s Brett Pittman, a senior superintendent. “Even more gratifying was playing a part in developing an entirely new athletic program that Clemson has never had before. Being a part of building something so important to the community is one of the best things about working for DPR,” said Pittman.

The facility includes an NCAA standard sized playing field. Photo courtesy of Edward Badham

The $13 million, 1,000-seat state-of-the-art facility features a team lounge, locker room, sports medicine room, equipment room and an indoor player development batting cage that spans over 6,000-sq.-ft. Athletes, officials and staff will have more than 12,000-sq.-ft. of player and administrative operations space including:

  • Coaches’ offices
  • Press box with three broadcast booths
  • Conference rooms
  • Locker rooms for umpires and visiting team and coaches
Team locker room. Photo courtesy of Edward Badham

Spectators will have a first-class experience, as well,access to amenities such as restrooms, a family nursing room, expansive parking and two concession stands.

“I knew we needed a facility where we could develop players without any obstacles. A facility that would attract recruits, and one where fans could be right on top of the action and really enjoy the game-day experience. I can truly say we accomplished all three,” said Clemson Softball Head Coach John Rittman.

DPR worked closely with Clemson University Athletics from start to finish.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with DPR Construction throughout the entire process of building our stadium,” said Coach Rittman. “Their team atmosphere has been on full display by their employees every step of the way.”

DPR Construction made its building debut on Clemson University’s campus in 2008. As the university’s building landscape continues to flourish and expand, DPR’s project construction completion footprint at the university includes:

February 6, 2020

RIEGL USA Celebrates the Groundbreaking of its New North American Headquarters Building

Members of RIEGL, DPR and the community gathered to celebrate at the Groundbreaking Event. Photo courtesy of Creative Nation Media

Just west of Orlando, Winter Garden, Florida will soon be the new home of LiDAR technology leader RIEGL USA as DPR Construction recently broke ground on the company’s North American Headquarters building. The 18,500-sq.-ft. facility will include service areas for equipment testing and calibration of laser scanners and systems, a customer support center, distribution hub, modern training rooms, sales and administration offices, generous break and collaboration areas, a gym and an outdoor work and relaxation area.

RIEGL USA North American Headquarters. Photo courtesy of Walker Design.

DPR’s project team will use the equipment RIEGL manufactures throughout the building process. “Over the past several months, our teams have worked side-by-side to learn how the use of RIEGL’s cutting-edge LiDAR laser scanning technologies will build the very facility where these tools will be produced, tested and further developed to shape the future growth of our two companies and the industries we serve,” said DPR’s Bryan Boykin. The RIEGL technologies being used on this project will support quality assurance and quality control, resulting in more accurate and time-saving deliverables for the field.

“Being part of RIEGL’s new North American headquarters and training facility means so much to us. When we started this journey, we discovered that DPR and RIEGL share an ever-forward, people-first approach in the way we work and build relationships,” Boykin said. The entire construction life cycle of the project will be captured via laser scanning including foundations, footings, bolt locations, utilities and tilt-wall panels.

DPR will use RIEGL technology throughout the building process. Photo courtesy of Creative Nation Media.

The new state-of-the-art facility will increase Central Florida’s advanced technology footprint. “RIEGL’s expansion is all about growth. This new facility is fueling the local economy, creating jobs and cultivating advancements in technology,” said Boykin. The use of RIEGL’s cutting-edge technology will not only help ensure accuracy and efficiency throughout the building process, but it also serves as another example of how DPR continues to push past typical industry standards and enhance overall operational excellence.

October 31, 2019

New Children’s Hospital at VCU Breaks Ground

DPR Construction broke ground on the brand new $350 million, state-of-the-art Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University (CHoR at VCU), kicking off a four-year project that will deliver a world-class facility dedicated exclusively to the care of kids.

More than 250 people from the local community as well as hospital employees, donors and state and local lawmakers turned out for the groundbreaking event, marking start of construction on a facility designed to provide the highest level of care for children throughout Virginia.

Children participate in the groundbreaking of the new VCU children's hospital.
Local kids got to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony in Richmond. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Located adjacent to the award-winning outpatient Children’s Pavilion on the VCU Medical Center Campus and rounding out a full city block dedicated to children’s services, the new hospital will replace existing pediatric inpatient unit beds and will consolidate inpatient and emergency care in one place. The 20-story, 500,000-sq.-ft. facility will provide trauma and emergency care services. It includes 86 private rooms, plus 10 observation rooms for acute and intensive care as well as new operating rooms, imaging capacity, emergency department space, a rooftop helipad and various amenities for patient families. There are four levels of below-ground parking.

DPR’s scope of work includes ground-up construction of the new hospital tower as well as some renovation work on the existing facility to support acute care services. Safety is a major priority during construction, which is taking place on a project site located in the heart of downtown Richmond and surrounded by medical facilities on the VCU campus that remain in full operation.

Designed by HKS Inc., the new Children’s Hospital is part of CHoR at VCU’s comprehensive, long-term plan for serving pediatric patients while also supporting research and educational opportunities. The new facility represents far more than just a building for young patients and their families – it offers hope and comprehensive health care services, regardless of their ability to pay. Numerous amenities are designed with those families in mind, including playrooms, performance spaces, Ronald McDonald House Charities rooms and outdoor gardens and spaces for collaboration and education.

A rendering of the new VCU children's hospital.
The new building will be the latest downtown Richmond landmark. Photo courtesy of HKS, Inc.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation is conducting a $100 million capital campaign to support construction of the new hospital. At the groundbreaking, the Foundation announced it will match the first $25 million in donations.

“Our vision is to be a top children’s hospital by 2022,” said Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., CEO of VCU Health System and senior vice president for health sciences. “All children of all communities deserve world-class care in a warm and welcoming environment. This beautiful new facility designed in partnership with our community puts children and their families at the center. It is the first important step in our pathway to becoming a top children’s hospital.”

The project is slated for completion by late 2022.

July 17, 2019

New Workday Headquarters Opens in Pleasanton, California

Fast-growing enterprise software company Workday, Inc. celebrated the completion of its new 410,000-sq.-ft., corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, California this spring. Leaders from the City of Pleasanton, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Workday, and the DPR-led project team were among those who gathered for the May 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of the innovative, transit-friendly project that has been hailed as a state-of-the-art building.

The new Workday headquarters in Pleasanton, California.
The new Workday HQ connects employees to the community. Photo courtesy of Workday

Located just steps from the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, the architecturally striking, six-story structure ranks as the tallest office building in Pleasanton. It will house some 2,200 Workday employees by August, mostly from the company’s product and technology team. A focal point of Workday’s 10-building Pleasanton campus, it also houses a new 16,000-sq.-ft. Workday Customer Center slated to open later this summer.

Workday leadership and community members cut the ribbon for the building.
Local officials joined Workday leadership and the project team to cut the ribbon. Photo courtesy of Workday

Local Partnerships Aid Development

From the outset, Workday was committed to creating a transit-oriented development that would attract potential employees from around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland. The company forged strong ties with BART and the City of Pleasanton to develop a project that benefited both the local community and Workday employees.

A green space walkway, featuring native California plants, connects the BART station with the new headquarters building. Similar pathways connect the headquarters building with existing buildings on the company’s Pleasanton campus.

Workday Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri hailed the “strong partnerships” between Workday and the City of Pleasanton and BART during an address at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’ve created a place that is an extension of our culture and brand, one that is built for continued innovation and one that reflects how our employees want to work and build products for the future,” he said.

“Workday had a very specific vision for this project and we worked to ensure we were aligned throughout the project,” said DPR’s Karri Sieler, a senior project manager. “It was a great example of how the things we build – and how we meet expectations for a project – are core to our customers’ businesses.”

One interior area of the new Workday HQ.
A variety of interior environments are designed to support employees. Photo courtesy of Workday

Core Values on Display

Designed by Gensler Architects, the new headquarters building draws inspiration from Workday’s core values of innovation, and fun in support of the company’s number one asset -- its employees. It provides an ideal environment for software development with plenty of open spaces, entire walls made of whiteboards, new high-tech tools like video walls and digital whiteboards, and four great rooms that provide comfortable spaces for large groups to gather.

Numerous other amenities support the fun, collaborative environment, including:

  • An open-air amphitheater with seating for 1,500 people along with a large grassy area suitable for outdoor games;
  • A “Data Diner” café complete with a 12,000-pound pizza oven and an “XpressO” coffee bar;
  • Two spacious second floor balconies that allow employees to enjoy fresh air while they work;
  • Wellness rooms with treadmills, amenity rooms for therapeutic services, showers and lockers;
  • Large game rooms on each floor;
  • Two dog runs where employees of the pet-friendly company can bring their dogs to run around and play throughout the day.

The building incorporates a highly sustainable design that is targeting LEED® Platinum certification. Among the green features: a large 865-kw solar array that provides up to one-third of the building’s electricity, an innovative onsite greywater recycling system designed to save up to 720,000 gallons of water each year, and a “cool roof” to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Interior of the new Workday HQ
DPR self perform work crews performed a signficant portion of the project, including concrete visible throughout the project. Photo courtesy of Workday

DPR Sets Self-Perform Concrete Record

Constructed as a fully cast-in-place concrete structure, Workday tapped DPR’s self-perform concrete skills early in the building of its new headquarters. To support the 3-ft-thick concrete core walls that rise seven stories to the roof, the DPR team needed to build a thick mat foundation – leading to DPR’s largest self-performed concrete pour in company history. Over the course of 12 hours in May 2017, workers poured 4,800 cubic yards of concrete, which was reinforced with 1.2 million pounds of rebar.

The team poured as many as 500 cubic yards of concrete per hour – ultimately pouring enough concrete to fill one-and-a-half Olympic size swimming pools, or 3.7 million 2-liter bottles of soda.

Self-performing that structural concrete portion of the job enabled DPR to set the tone and pace for the job, and to keep a firm handle on quality control.

From planning and partnering to construction completion, the end result is a building that has garnered accolades on several fronts, including from Workday Co-President and CFO Robynne Sisco. “We’re extremely grateful to the City of Pleasanton and BART for their partnership,” she commented. “It’s because of their partnership in addition to our work with the building’s general contractor, DPR Construction, the architect and designer, Gensler, and literally hundreds of additional vendors that we’ve been able to make our beautiful new headquarters a reality.”

July 8, 2019

Transforming a Desert Landscape

Under the Arizona sun, DPR, along with leaders from Arizona State University (ASU), Mayo Clinic and the community came together with shovels to break ground on ASU’s new Health Futures Center (HFC). The greenfield project is positioned to be an anchor for cutting-edge health science work that will in turn change how the healthcare industry is perceived in Phoenix.

Groundbreaking
DPR Construction joined Arizona State University, leaders from Mayo Clinic and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking.

With a 20-year relationship with ASU, DPR was chosen to create yet another project and a new set of experiences with the ASU team. HFC will be a 150,000-sq.-ft., three-story ground up medical learning facility, adjacent to Mayo Clinic’s campus in North Phoenix.

The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technologies that will accelerate med-tech innovation. The center will be an integrated point between Mayo Clinic and ASU Alliance for Health Care with the goal of transforming medical education and healthcare in the U.S.

The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technology including a med-tech innovation accelerator, biomedical engineering and informatics research labs, and an education zone. Photo courtesy of CO Architects

"It's a great opportunity to be working side by side with two industry leaders to deliver a world-class research facility," said DPR's Casey Helburg, who is serving as project manager. "The new center will transform the medical education field, advance patient care and improve the lives of future generations. It's exciting for not only me personally, but all of us at DPR."

Determined to deliver, DPR’s Cassie Robertson, preconstruction, and Shashi Sriram, estimator, collaborated with the design team from CO Architects and DFDG Architecture. The team leveraged the vast estimating experience and precision to identify where the budget is being allocated at any given stage of design.

The late April 2019 groundbreaking event brought together Mayor of Phoenix Kate Gallego, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic Gianrico Farrugia, and ASU President Michael Crow. They all shared their stories to paint a picture of what the HFC building will stand for: To provide a collaborative environment for the future of Arizona’s healthcare industry.

HFC will be a 150,000-square-foot, three-story ground up medical learning facility adjacent to the Mayo Clinic. Photo courtesy of CO Architects

For DPR, the event inaugurated not only the first step in the physical build out of the building, but also a moment to reminisce on the months of preconstruction planning and collaboration to produce a project grounded in a shared vision to make a difference. Construction is expected to be complete in October 2020.

Community leaders joined representatives of the owner, design and construction teams for the April 2019 groundbreaking ceremony.

May 22, 2019

Top Gun House Straps in for Its Next Mission

It’s not every day that you see a cultural landmark rolling down the street, but that’s exactly what happened to beachgoers in Oceanside, California earlier this month. The “Top Gun House,” a sky blue beach cottage made famous by the 1980s Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun,” was relocated from its long-time home on palm-lined Pacific Street. It will be restored and prominently featured at a new independently branded beachfront destination resort being built in Oceanside. Developer SD Malkin Properties broke ground on the Oceanside Beach Resort in February.

Located at the hub of Oceanside’s booming renaissance, the 2.75-acre new-build project along Mission Avenue and N. Pacific Street will offer guests immediate beach access and 387 rooms, 85% of which will have water views. The resort will also feature restaurants, bars, pools, a luxury spa, event space and unique retail shops, including the “Top Gun House,” which will be publicly accessible and leased as a bespoke ice cream parlor. Already popular given its historical significance and feature in the classic 1980’s film, the house is expected to garner even more interest after the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” featuring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. It is scheduled for release in Summer 2020.

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked on the house to get it ready for its big move. “It’s amazing how much interest there is in this house,” said Project Executive Whitney Dorn. The project team nailed wood slats to the porch and braced some of the exterior before hoisting it onto the trailer that transported it to its temporary home two blocks away. The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

The cottage was originally known as the Graves House and was built in1887. Photo courtesy of Oceanside Historical Society

Built in 1887, the cottage was originally known as The Graves House in honor of its original owner, a physician from Riverside. One of the oldest beach cottages in San Diego County, it boasts an unusual architectural style: Folk Victorian. Designed to evoke the more elaborate Victorian homes of the era, Folk Victorian found favor among homeowners in the late 19th Century due to its ease and affordability. Spindlework detailing and cornice brackets were added to existing homes to create the style, which became common as Western towns were settled around the turn-of-the-century.

The house later became a beach rental before making its appearance as the home of Tom Cruise’s love interest in the movie “Top Gun,” which grossed over $360 million (more than $800 million in 2019 dollars)—the highest grossing film of 1986. It starred Cruise as a brash young naval aviator training at the elite Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The film became a cultural sensation; sales of bomber jackets and aviator sunglasses skyrocketed, Navy recruitment increased, and tourists began taking their photos in front of the newly dubbed “Top Gun House.”

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort.

Fast forward to 2019: Interest in the house has held strong, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to open in June of 2020, and the resort’s hotels are expected to open by the end of that same year. 2020 looks to be a blockbuster year for the city of Oceanside.