The Pacific Plaza building in downtown Tacoma, WA was once a four-story, decades-old, crumbling parking garage. Now, the striking new six-story structure is state-of-the-art and Washington’s only LEED Platinum core and shell construction project.
The $35 million, 250,000 sq. ft. project features two new floors of 68,800 sq. ft. Class A commercial space; 32,000 sq. ft. of refurbished storefront office and retail space; and a 28,000 sq. ft. green roof.
More than 26,000 sq. ft. of Metl-Span CF insulated panels were used to clad the inhabited portion of the office building/parking garage structure. The 3” panels were finished in Weathered Zinc and installed horizontally in 24”, 30” and 36” widths.
The Metl-Span panels interface with a cement composite façade system used to clad the exterior walls on the parking garage portion of the building.
Pacific Plaza is the result of a successful public-private partnership between the City of Tacoma and the local development team of Pacific Plaza Development, LLC. The City replaced a seismically deficient garage with a larger, like-new facility while the developer obtained street front retail space and air rights for commercial space without the burden of providing structure parking. The result has rejuvenated a key commercial district.
Design for the award-winning project was provided by BLRB Architects, Tacoma. “We were the only development team that proposed to keep the existing building and not put it in a landfill,” said Ben Ferguson, project manager and lead administrator on the project. The original parking structure, built in 1970 as part of a HUD urban renewal effort, was clad with a hammered concrete finish. “It was stylish at the time but aged quickly,” according to Ferguson.
Ferguson reports the firm had not used Metl-Span before but was familiar with the concept of insulated metal panel products. “Our contractor looked around for different brands and the Metl-Span was the most price competitive by far,” Ferguson said. “From an architectural standpoint, the Metl-Span enabled us to get the very flat aesthetic that we wanted. It creates a very monolithic, structured and polished look.”
BLRB designers used a peel and stick air and vapor barrier. “By having the insulation outboard, it enabled us to break our dew point outside the air and vapor barrier which helped eliminate any concern for mold in the cavities of the walls,” according to Ferguson. “What we really like about Metl-Span is that the system is really an air and vapor barrier on its own. The building is extremely tight and energy efficient.”
Installation of the Metl-Span material was done by Kenco Construction, Inc., Seattle.
Pacific Plaza was named the 2010 Sustainable Project of the Year by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
In addition to BLRB Architects, the development team included Absher Construction, PCS Structural Solutions and the City of Tacoma.