GRYCON – 3480 Main Highway

GryconGRYCON’s new project will bring the first new Class A office space to Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood in more than a decade. 

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

GRYCON is managing the construction of 3480 Main Highway, a mixed-use building in Miami’s Coconut Grove that will bring much needed office space to the neighborhood. “The area right now doesn’t have anything close to what we are building,” Project Executive Eric Helitzer says. “We are building a first-class office building in an area where new office space is rare, along with an upscale restaurant, rooftop bar and underground parking.”

Optimum Development USA broke ground on the $21.5 million building in August 2017. The gross area of 3480 Main Highway is 69,000 square feet and while the building itself is five stories above grade, it will also feature an underground parking garage and rooftop bar. “This is our first time working with Optimum and it’s been an excellent experience as we are developing a very strong relationship,” Helitzer notes. “We see a long and bright future with them.”Grycon info box

A restaurant will encompass 6,500 square feet of the first floor while the remaining 5,000 square feet will be used for back-of-the-house space, an office for the restaurant, bathrooms and a ramp down to the garage. Floors two through five will be dedicated Class A office space with a floor plate of about 10,500 square feet per floor, totaling 42,000 square feet. “Optimum’s plan is to use the fifth level as their USA corporate headquarters with the remaining levels being leased to other tenants,” Helitzer adds. 

In addition to the restaurant, 3480 Main Highway will feature an exclusive rooftop bar that will offer dramatic, panoramic views of Biscayne Bay, downtown Miami, Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. The design also calls for a private elevator for the restaurant staff to deliver food and drinks to the roof terrace, so it is separate from the guest experience. 

Digging Deep

An underground parking garage is one of the most unique building features of 3480 Main Highway because the building is located just off Biscayne Bay. “We were able to build underground parking 18 feet below grade to accommodate parking for some of the tenants that will be using the facility,” Helitzer says. “This building is built to the property lines, so in order to maximize space on the first floor where the restaurant will be located and accommodate the tenants and guests, the design incorporates underground parking which is not common in south Florida considering how close the project is to the bay.

GRYCON’s biggest challenge was developing an action plan for the underground parking garage because the site conditions were unknown until the excavation started. “You really don’t know what you will run across until you start digging, so we developed a very effective plan in terms of how we would excavate, form, place and finish the basement while holding back the soil without using sheet piles, which is a common and very expensive practice in this condition,” Helitzer adds. “Fortunately, by analyzing the geotechnical report and the structural drawings, we were able to offer a unique value engineering design to raise the entire building slab just a few feet, which allowed us to utilize the natural stable soil, which helped the project tremendously.”

GRYCON spent the first three months excavating a giant hole on site. “We are working in a very tight site, so we don’t have a lot of room to store anything,” Helitzer says. “The underground parking feature is unique to the area because most of the time it is too costly to provide sub-level parking. Typically in south Florida, you excavate three feet down and you penetrate the water table. On this site we were excavating 18 feet and ran into very minimal water besides our elevator pit – we were able to overcome this challenge with our ability to problem solve ahead of time on paper and execution in the field. The natural soil conditions also helped.”

The company has partnered with a mix of new and longtime subcontractors on the 3480 Main Highway project. In May, GRYCON topped out the building structure without a single recordable injury on the project.

Architecturally Appealing

Designed by the world renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica, 3480 Main Highway façade is designed to have a one-of-a-kind look. “The glass is going to sit a few inches inside the building encompassed by a wooden box frame that gives the window a certain depth perception,” Helitzer describes. “Aluminum C Channels used as slab edge covers will be used where the glass stacks on top of one another to keep the continuous look throughout the building.”

The challenge with creating the façade of 3480 Main Highway is ensuring every window opening is perfect before the glass arrives at the site since each opening is different. “There’s no room for error here so we have to make sure the windows, which are fabricated in Minnesota, are going to fit perfectly before they arrive,” Helitzer adds. “We are working closely with our field team and Arquitectonica to make sure this comes out right.” GRYCON expects construction on the core and shell to be completed by the end of October.

Trusted Contractor

Industry veterans who had been working together for more than three decades formed GRYCON in 2008. Although it’s a young company, GRYCON’s management team has more than 175 years of combined experience. 

President Larry Kibler’s philosophy over the past five decades has always been to build long-term, ongoing relationships with clients, subcontractors and vendors. “What distinguishes us is teamwork, a great work environment, corporate philosophy and integrity,” he says. “Our clients come to us to prepare a realistic budget, provide upfront analysis and to provide value analysis for the project.”

The south Florida-based company has expanded over the last few years with a diverse portfolio. Although commercial construction is the company’s expertise, it also oversees the construction of projects in the institutional and industrial sectors.

“We’re flexible enough to meet the needs of any client,” Kibler says. “Construction is all about the process. If you are good at the process, then you can build anything and the byproduct is the successful project.”

GRYCON’s corporate philosophy is focused on delivering outstanding workmanship, complete construction solutions and development of long-term relationships with its clients. The company provides services in several areas, including preconstruction, estimating, scheduling, project management, lifecycle cost analysis, construction management, design/build and project consulting. The company works closely with its clients, design professionals, subcontractors and vendors to add value and produce quality projects.

“We are the most trusted commercial builder in south Florida,” Helitzer says. “We build a wide range of products, which is shown in our diverse portfolio, from industrial warehouses to condominiums, hotels, apartment buildings, educational facilities and office buildings. We can build anything.”

The diversity of the company’s portfolio allows it to seize a plethora of opportunities today in the south Florida market. “The market is really strong right now,” Helitzer says. “We are so diverse that we have an array of projects that encompass each sector of the building industry here. We are building apartments, hotels, condominiums, Class A office space, mixed use facilities, including a recently completed industrial warehouse in Alapattah.

GRYCON does not anticipate a slow down in the market anytime soon. “To take advantage of the opportunities we have really diversified our portfolio and stayed ahead of the competition with developers who are bringing in different perspectives to the marketplace,” Helitzer notes. “Our mission is to deliver complete construction solutions so that our clients vision becomes reality. We stand behind the company’s integrity, teamwork, leadership and the quality of our workmanship.”

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