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Winzler & Kelly Wins Calif. Engineering Awards 12.22.03

In this year's CELSOC competition, the firm's Haslett Warehouse Fire Cleanup Project and Mission Bay Redevelopment Project were both recognized.

Winzler & Kelly Consulting Engineers won two prestigious Engineering Excellence Awards in this year's competition sponsored by the Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California (CELSOC). The firm's Haslett Warehouse Fire Cleanup Project and Mission Bay Redevelopment Project were both recognized for their innovative engineering, value to the engineering profession and community, complexity, and meeting or exceeding client needs.

The Haslett Warehouse was built by the California Fruit Canners Association between 1907 and 1909 on Hyde Street in San Francisco and was once the largest fruit and vegetable cannery in the world. Following extensive structural and architectural renovation of the Warehouse, it was scheduled to open as the new 252-room Argonaut Hotel and restaurant in November of 2002.

On the morning of March 17, 2002, a five-alarm fire broke out in the Haslett Warehouse causing millions of dollars in damage to the structure. One hundred and seventy fire fighters fought the inferno and were able to contain it by 3:15 that morning without injuries. Although the building's brick façade remained standing, the structure had been gutted and the potential for complete collapse existed. With the fire out, a massive cleanup effort began.

Winzler & Kelly developed a timely and cost-effective approach to the massive cleanup, deconstruction and decontamination operation for the building's owner, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group. In a first-of-its-kind application, the firm developed an innovative combination of engineering design, environmental controls, and training for an "open air" decontamination procedure, unique to the Bay Area and for building fires. Even though the entire building was gutted, the cleanup procedures enabled the owner to resume renovation work and open the hotel for business only 17 months after the fire. The high level of success achieved during this project will lend itself to future cleanup operations throughout the U.S.

An enormous undertaking and nearly 20 years in the planning, San Francisco's Mission Bay Project is unprecedented in scope and ingenious in design. The Catellus Development Company project features a remarkably eclectic marriage of corporate, science and technology campuses, residential communities, neighborhood retail stores, parks and recreational amenities, as well as the new research campus for UCSF.

In the magnitude of over-utilized utility corridors, Mission Bay stands head and shoulders over other urban transformations. In the 1800s, Mission Bay was a beehive of commercial and industrial activity. Underground corridors were established within which all subsurface utilities must be located. Potable water and the City's combined sewer interceptors, storage boxes and storm drain system were installed. As years passed, other utilities were added to the corridors including separate firewater, natural gas, fuel, electrical power, and a multitude of communications systems. As municipal needs changed and technology improved, replacement utilities were installed and the old systems upgraded or abandoned in place.

By the time the new Mission Bay project began, the underground utility corridors were a virtual spaghetti of tunnels, pipes, and conduits. An entire new set of service utilities had to be constructed in the same corridors without interfering with existing systems. The work required extraordinary attention to detail to achieve utility connections transverse to and along existing utilities and achieve appropriate gravity slopes and clearances at water mains and other facilities that could not be relocated. Accelerated schedules for concurrent projects involving over 30 consulting firms, the number of regulatory agencies having project jurisdiction, and the multiple levels of approval required led to the formation of a unique and highly successful project Task Force that expedited the permitting and approval processes.

While construction of streets, parks, and services utilities for the initial development phases is nearing completion, construction of buildings in Mission Bay will continue into 2007.

Source: Winzler & Kelly Consulting Engineers, Dec. 19, 2003

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