Camden Living Site Visit

Tuesday afternoon, Global Leaders were eager to tour our second site of the day, a 21-story high rise residential tower with an attached parking garage in downtown Houston called Camden Downtown. Upon completion, the tower will contain 271 apartment units, over 5,000 square feet of retail space and approximately 450 parking spaces. Overall this puts the project at 650,000 square feet and a $97 million contract value. In past years downtown Houston has had a decline in development, but lately the market has picked up leading to a need for more residential, retail, and parking space. What once was a parking lot has been demolished to build a new space to fulfill those needs. Camden Downtown is a great location in the middle of downtown Houston right next the the Toyota Center where the Houston Rockets play, among other concerts and events hosted. It will also offer great views of the city from the upper levels.

Owners Camden Living, architect Ziegler Cooper Architects, and contractor Harvey Builders were gracious enough to allow the GLCM students to sit in on their weekly O/A/C, or owner/architect/contractor, meeting to start off the site visit. It was a great experienced to be immersed into the day-to-day responsibilities of a construction manager. They went over project safety, schedule, RFIís, submittals, change orders, and more. This meeting allows an opportunity for all parties involved to get on the same page to make sure the project is running smoothly and efficiently. Thanks to their efforts in these meetings, the project is running under budget and on time to be completed in April of 2020.

Following the O/A/C meeting, students were able to walk the site. We began in the penthouse unit on the 21st floor and moved up to the roof level where CMU walls are being built around the various mechanical items. We really enjoyed the views of downtown Houston from the roof.

Next to and attached to the 21 story residential tower is an 8 story parking garage with a pool and amenities on the roof for the building tenants. This parking garage roof will also hold the cooling towers for the building. We then ventured down the building to walk through the parking garage and some lower floor units that have been fitted with windows, floors, trim, and cabinetry. In the basement we found the water tank that is used in the case of a fire emergency and the large generator that is needed to power the building should there be an emergency. This project also uses the largest free standing crane available. Free standing cranes lead to a more productive job overall than a traditional crane which is tethered to the building.

We were interested to learn that although Houston is an urban environment, the building does not have any affordable housing requirements. Instead, they follow fair housing standards and because a small part of the building will be a hotel, they must also work with ADA compliance. There are some conflicts between these two requirements that has produced challenges for the project executives.

Thank you again to Camden Living for organizing the site visit and providing us with dinner in the evening. It was great getting to learn more about the company and the construction industry in Houston.

Blog by Calli Fletcher