Downtown Denver has witnessed an explosion of multi-unit residential properties in the past few years, many of which are creating new gateways into the city’s various urban living corridors. Of all the developments, the recently completed SOVA Apartments may have the most unique story.
The 211-unit high-rise, located at 1901 Grant Street in the Uptown neighborhood, was turned over by general contractor The Weitz Company to developer McWHINNEY on March 27. At 12 stories tall and 288,813 square feet, it was constructed in less than 24 months using multiple prefabrication techniques that produced efficiencies during the build and increased value to the client.
“SOVA is a remarkable project,” said Bruce Porter, executive vice president and general manager of The Weitz Company. “We challenged ourselves and local trade partners to construct this building in a different way that would create speed to market without compromising quality for the future residents. We are proud to see it stand in the skyline of Downtown Denver.”
Out of the 5 major prefabricated components for SOVA, the exterior walls were the most critical to the project. They were prefinished, load-bearing and only needed windows inserted to complete the exterior skin of the building, eliminating the use of scaffolding and greatly reducing jobsite waste (both in the form of trash and workflow). It only took 6 months to erect the building with the Infinity and South Valley Prefab metal framing and prefabricated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems incorporated on the interior at the same time.
From production to installation, the exterior wall panels were tracked using unique QR codes that can be scanned by a mobile device. The QR code contains data about the panels derived from SOVA’s BIM model, guaranteeing each 10-foot tall by 20-foot wide panel was received and placed within the exact flow of construction for which it was designed. If any concerns were experienced in the field with a wall panel, then its QR code could be scanned by field professionals to submit an RFI through the model to identify the quickest resolution possible without compromising the project’s accelerated schedule.
This utilization of Building Information Modeling was key to maintaining coordination with Littleton, Colo.-based South Valley Prefab (manufacturer of the exterior walls) and other key trade partners doing their part to streamline the construction work.
“We had everything modeled upfront before the work went into place so we could facilitate a predictable schedule and achieve it with the right workflow,” said The Weitz Company Senior Project Manager Kevin Butts. “The model was then continuously updated and leveraged during the build to keep all project stakeholders aligned, especially when unforeseen issues were being resolved.”
There are a number of eco-friendly features at SOVA that both appeal to residents and led to the building achieving LEED Silver certification. The 210-stall parking garage has the capacity for 6 electric car charging stations and there are 95 covered indoor bike racks. All units have water-efficient flow and flush fixtures targeted to save 41% of total indoor potable water usage (approximately 3 million gallons annually). The building also has LED lighting, high-performance glazing and efficient HVAC systems and appliances estimated to save 23% in energy costs compared to a code-compliant building.
Each apartment includes stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, plank flooring, walk-in closets and washers and dryers. The contemporary designed units are complemented by amenities such as a fitness center, golf simulator, paw spa for residents’ pets and a Do-It-Yourself bike and ski repair shop. The crown jewel of the amenities spaces is the 12th floor indoor Sky Lounge and outdoor Sky Deck that is complete with gaming areas, an outdoor spa, barbeque grills and lounging areas with fire pits to enjoy views of the Rocky Mountain range.