Murray & Roberts Construction appointed Main Contractor at Melrose Arch Piazza

Posted On Tuesday, 24 July 2007 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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The Melrose Arch Piazza comprises street-level shopping and offices in the successful Melrose Arch mixed-use precinct in northern Johannesburg.

Construction IndustryMelrose Arch is owned by Southern Palace, a joint venture between Amdec Property Development and Property Partners. Amdec is also the appointed development manager for Melrose Arch, driving the roll-out of all development projects on this prestigious mixed-use precinct. The Melrose Arch Piazza Scheme is financed by Nedbank.

Nicholas Stopforth, Melrose Arch Development Company director, explains that the appointment of Murray & Roberts Construction follows the company’s successful involvement in the first-phase construction of the mixed-use precinct.

“Murray & Roberts Construction’s combination of engineering disciplines and expertise will ensure the delivery of world-class solutions to the Melrose Arch Development Company. This is a high-profile project, and as a leading contractor in major retail developments, we are proud to have been appointed as the main contractor,” Colin Steyn, Murray & Roberts Construction director, says.

The Melrose Arch Piazza essentially forms an extension to the existing mixed-use fabric of Melrose Arch, meaning that the new development has to be integrated carefully with the old in terms of matching façades. The office buildings also have to integrate seamlessly with the existing basement parking and above ground open-street movement patterns, with clearly defined public and private domains.

Melrose Arch Piazza comprises nine separate highly individualised buildings with street-level retail and prime office space in the upper levels, located at the northern end of the existing development. There will be 28 000 m2 of retail and leisure space and 31 000 m2 of lettable office space above the retail space. The shopping component is scheduled for completion by Easter 2009, while the office component will be completed a month later.

DHK Architects and Boogertman & Partners, the architects and town planners on the project, state that the attractive, flexible and readily subdivisible office buildings will have varied façades. The urban street edges will be positioned carefully around the new Piazza, which forms the heart of the new precinct.

The architecture of the Piazza, which will have a total footprint of 42 000 m2, will extend the existing ‘contemporary African feel’ of Melrose Arch’s integrated urban fabric. This will be achieved by using First World and natural construction materials.

Commenting on quantities of materials to be used, Rui Santos, Murray & Roberts Construction project director, says the project will consume 50 000 m2 of concrete, 130 000 m2 of slab formwork, 4.5-million bricks, 81 000 m2 of plaster, 11 000 m2 of shopfronts and 10 500 m2 of tiling.

Following a lengthy negotiation process, Murray & Roberts Construction began working in January this year, after four months of bulk earthworks undertaken by Diesel Power. This included removing 250 000 m3 of soil to make way for the new basement parking. It also involved relocating this material to the neighbouring James and Ethel Gray Park as part of a R5-million upgrade sponsored by Melrose Arch.

Murray & Roberts Construction also acquired a brand-new Liebherr readymix batch plant, which was erected on-site and became operational in June. The staffing level will peak at approximately 50 permanent employees, while the labour force is expected to top out at 1 500 to 2 000 workers. A water bowser also operates constantly to minimise dust on the single access road.

In terms of specific project challenges, Santos says initial foundation work encountered a large quantity of rock, which complicated the bases as well as the lift shafts. The Piazza will have about 16 lifts and eight escalators. The presence of rock necessitated blasting and excavating, and trimming with hydraulic hammers fitted to excavators.

“Our quality of work, as well as meeting project deadlines, resulted in us clinching this project,” Santos notes. He explains that initially, during construction of Melrose Arch Phase 1 in 2000, four main contractors were involved with the landmark precinct. “Given the complexity and scope of this project, it is a real testament to our total-solutions capability to be appointed as main contractor on the Melrose Arch Piazza.”

Stopforth reports that the development rollout of Melrose Arch is proceeding well, with over 175 000 m2 of a total of 315 000 m2 in the precinct either built or under construction. First transfers of the sectional title offices at 1 and 3 Melrose Boulevard are expected in August 2007. Construction of Melrose Square on Oak Lane, another development on the Melrose Arch precinct where Murray & Roberts are the appointed main contractor, is already several floors above ground level.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:34

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