Plaza Construction

Plaza ConstructionPlaza Construction is underway with several condominium and mixed-use projects in Florida.
By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Plaza Construction’s work consists of buildings, but the company’s business is actually driven by people, President Brad Meltzer says. “We’re a company that’s focused on our clients and their needs,” he says.

But to ensure that Plaza Construction is serving its clients well, it has to make sure it is hiring the best and brightest. “We spend a lot of time in the HR side of things, investing in our people,” he says.

Based in New York City, the company started operations in 1986, gaining a reputation for high-profile office and residential buildings. Over the years, Plaza Construction grew from a regional organization to holding a national presence with regional offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Meltzer, who is based in Florida, has overseen the company’s expansion with an office in Tampa, which has helped it branch into the city, as well as Orlando. “We believe a lot in those marketplaces,” he says. “We’re excited about this region. . 

“Orlando has been fairly consistent over the years,” he notes, adding that this is largely thanks to the presence of The Walt Disney Co.

But the Tampa/St. Petersburg area has a great deal to offer people looking for waterfront, coastline and residential opportunities. “The barrier to entry in that market is less than it is in Miami due to the lower property values,” Meltzer says.

“The pro forma for developers is very strong,” he continues. “We’re seeing some of the larger, national developers focusing on our market, and those have historically been our clients.”

One of a Kind

Plaza Construction’s current Florida projects include 1000 Museum Tower, a 62-story mixed-use building in Miami that will have 83 living units and a retail component on its ground floor. The building’s amenities will include a double height main lobby, air-conditioned valet lounge and covered motor court on its ground floors.

1000 Museum Tower also will have a pool deck with various pools and cabanas, fitness center, and a full spa on the eighth and ninth floors. Plaza Construction, which plans to finish the building later this year, has already topped out the structure, Meltzer reports.

“We should be delivering condominium units to end users towards the end of this year,” he says, adding that he is proud of the building’s structure, which features an exoskeleton designed by Zaha Hadid and DeSimone Consulting Engineers. Plaza box

The exoskeleton consists of columns formed by glass fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels. But each one has a unique shape and size that was fabricated in Dubai before being shipped to the Port of Miami and distributed on the job site.

This goes against the standard method, Meltzer says. “The way concrete is typically made and prepared is using plywood forms,” he describes. “The concrete gets formed and the plywood is stripped.”

But in this case, the cases of GFRC act as the plywood forms. “Once the concrete sets, the straps that holds these together are removed, and the GFRC becomes the façade of the building,” he says. “It’s the first of its kind that we’re aware of in the world.”

A New, Little City

Plaza Construction also is at work on the Paraiso Bay District, which consists of four condominium towers. These are the Paraiso Bay, the Paraiso Bay Views, One Paraiso and Grand Paraiso, all of which will be in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood.

“They all range from 48 to 52 stories,” Meltzer reports, adding that all four will be located within a block of each other. Paraiso Bay, he adds, has already received its temporary certificate of occupancy, and the remaining three will be delivered later this year.

“We’ve literally created a new neighborhood,” Meltzer says, noting that projects like the Paraiso Bay District require extensive teamwork and collaboration. 

“Building one project is difficult enough,” he says. “But the roads, streets and infrastructure all had to be put in place as though you’re creating a new, little city.” These towers were all built for The Related Group. These mark the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth projects that Plaza Construction has performed in collaboration with the same developer. 

Just in Time 

Plaza Construction also recently expanded the Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla., for Turnberry and Simon Property Group. Located 20 minutes North of Miami, the mall added approximately 350,000 square feet of space for retail.

It also added a million square feet of new parking. “Not only was the design unique with sculptures, restaurants and plaza space, we did it while the mall was completely operating,” Meltzer recalls, adding that the mall is one of the busiest in the country.

The company needed to change traffic patterns in the mall, but with incredible care for safety and operation of the existing stores. “That was done successfully, and it opened in time for Black Friday this past year,” he says. 

“In the retail world, Black Friday is their biggest moment,” Meltzer says. “If you miss that, the malls and stores would have missed a great opportunity. Tight schedules are what we’re accustomed to.”

Making Connections

Another project for Plaza Construction is The Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach. The project will convert the former Miami Heart Institute into “a very high-end, residential condominium building,” Meltzer says.

Piero Lissoni designed the development that will feature 111 luxury condos and 15 stand-alone villages. “In collaboration with award-winning Miami architecture firm Stantec, Lissoni has envisioned each residence as its own concept, he has thought through every space, whether indoors or outdoors, to perfection – opening up the landscape with dramatically framed views that lead the eye to meditation gardens and beyond,” Ritz-Carlton says.

“He has connected inside and out so seamlessly, [tenants] will hardly know where [their] home ends and the gardens begin,” it continues. “This connection to the location is evident everywhere, from the special way the marina lines the walkway to the orientation of the buildings on the lake, to the verdant tropical plantings that lace the property.” This project will be delivered later this year.  

The project also will feature luxurious pools, a spa and garden space that will appeal to sophisticated tenants. “The end users are always looking for incredible amenities,” Meltzer says.  

“They also have an indoor golf facility, something that you don’t often see,” he says. “Developers are continuing to try to deliver an experience to the condominium buyer that is not just a condo with a view.”

Finding the Best

A 29-year veteran of Plaza Construction, Meltzer recently took his role as the company’s president. Although the firm is excited about its movement into Tampa, it expects challenges with staffing.

“I think that market is about to experience some of the struggles we saw here in South Florida five years ago with a shortage of labor,” he says. “If all the work being talked about in that marketplace actually happens, it’s going to be hard to get the best qualified subcontractors.”

But Meltzer is confident that Plaza Construction will adjust and continue finding talent people. “For us, it’s always about vetting and getting the right subcontractors for the right job and confirming their resources,” he says.

The company will make sure to spend time with its subtrades during the planning process to ensure it is employing “the necessary talent they need,” he says. “We’re always looking for good, new qualified subcontractors. We’ve partnered with several of the same year after year in the south Florida marketplace.”

He sees continued success and growth for Plaza Construction, which has many projects in the works. 

 

Respecting the Planet

Plaza Construction says it is a proponent of the green movement. “With accredited professionals, we stand ready to assist our clients in finding the right balance between project costs and desired LEED levels,” it says.

“We have over $4 billion in sustainable projects representing every LEED level of achievement – Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum – and take our responsibility to the environment seriously,” Plaza Construction says. “It has been and continues to be our mission to build projects of lasting value that not only enhance our surroundings, but respect the planet.”

 

Giving Comfort

Plaza Construction has won rave reviews from its clients, including J. David Harrison of W South Beach. “Plaza consistently met all expectations and expeditiously solved problems, allowing the project to stay on schedule,” he said in a statement.

“Plaza operated as an extension of my own staff during the construction of this project,” he said. “They always looked after my interests and related well with the other team members, including the architects, engineers and the hotel operator. Plaza’s ‘open book’ policy towards cost control gave me a comfort level not seen on previous projects.”

Frank Alonso of BBVA also praised the company for its work on his project. “This was not an easy undertaking, as the floor was fully occupied, so we had no room to tolerate any disruption of business and more importantly that our personnel felt safe during the entire construction duration,” he said. “I’m happy to report that we did not endure any negative situations and our space was safe and clean throughout the process.”

Faye Premer of Civic Builders said the company was an ally to her project team, bringing “a value beyond what I believe a traditional project manager or construction manager could or would to my project. They provided us with a team that was well qualified, experienced, practical and extremely dedicated to the project’s success.”

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