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CASE STUDY: Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Parking Garage at 110 Broad Street | Dan Connolly, Project Manager, Commodore Builders

Have you ever worked on a postage stamp of
construction site?

At 110 Broad this concept takes on a whole new meaning. With limited space, approximately 110,000sf to be exact, we had the challenge of building 36 luxury condo units with 3,500sf of commercial space on the ground level. The challenge came when we had to find a way to provide a parking solution to accommodate 48 spaces. It required the team to get innovated, dig deep (literally) and come up with the best and most unique solution – an automated guided vehicle parking garage (AGV).

Construction of the 12-story cast-in-place post tension concrete residential building on the corner of Broad Street and the Greenway in downtown Boston is moving quickly toward completion. The project creates a visual link between the high-density business district, the Custom House Historic District and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. In keeping with the historic vibe of the area, we preserved two facades of the historic Bulfinch warehouse while incorporating a reimaged entrance and exterior.

The 100,000 sf building includes 36 luxury condo units with 3,500sf of commercial space on the lower level with a café and retail space. The most unique feature of the project is the 48-space fully automated below-ground garage. In fact, it is the first of its size in the City of Boston. Residents will be able to drive their vehicles onto a large platform, which will spin and slide the car into a slotted parking space. Residents simply retrieve their cars by a keycode or smartphone app and the vehicle will be returned to the platform. Sounds easy enough, right? There was a lot of planning and research that went into this unique approach.

 The four-level Park Plus AGV system was set within the buildings 53-foot-deep slurry wall. This innovative approach helped to move the project forward but also required a high-level of creative team work to solving the myriad of challenges. Right from the start, Commodore Builders took an active role in the pre-construction process with the design-build contractor Park Plus. We took site tours of projects in New York that were currently using this system including a visit to the manufacturing facility of the system in New Jersey. We spent countless hours consulting with the engineers who designed the New York parking system and came back fully equipped to begin construction.

One of the first challenges encountered was the tolerance of the slurry wall foundation and the clearances in the garage space to install steel and MEP systems. During excavation multiple obstructions were discovered including an old steel H-pile left behind from the Big Dig. This created a blow-out in the slurry wall which needed to be chipped out with a Brokk to get within the Park Plus tolerance level. The Commodore team anticipated this would happen again and designed the slurry wall cages to include box-outs at the steel within the parking vault.

Another challenge was the layout and sizing of the fire protection system. The final as-built condition is within 1/8” tolerance from the bottom of the heads to the clearances needed for the vehicles. The piping is run tight to the underside of the decking and the heads actually turn up inside the decking and drop over, since the typical install would not allow us to maintain the clearances. This was a collaborative process during the planning phase.  Various options were explored,  ultimately resulting in not resizing the mains, still allowing for pre-fabrication off site with no impact to schedule or cost.

Being the “first” to do anything in the City of Boston is no easy feat. Although there are other automated parking systems in Boston including the Rack and Rail system – the AGV concept was the first in Boston and naturally required an extensive review process by many agencies.

This created a few anticipated obstacles in which the team worked through seamlessly. We are thrilled to be turning over this ground breaking project very soon! 

“Building a ‘first of its kind’ innovative solution to a parking problem has been a unique challenge. There is nobody to turn to that has built one of these AGV systems in Boston.  We need to eliminate the surprises, elevate the experience, and execute with excellence because there are a lot of eyes watching us and waiting to see how we perform.”  
Daniel Connolly - Commodore Builders (Project Manager)

Commodore/Walsh Team
Joe Albanese PIC (Commodore)
Richard Walsh PIC (Walsh)
Chris Sharkey PX (Commodore)
Ryan Desmarais SPM (Walsh)
Chad Vaughn APM (Walsh)
Ed Corey Super (Commodore)
Ross McSweeney Super (Commodore)
Dan Connolly PM (Commodore)
Design Team/Ownership team
Owner – New Boston Ventures
Architect – Finegold Alexander
Structural – McSal
Parking Engineer – Simon Design
Parking Subcontractor – Park Plus
MEP – EM Duggan

Elec. T&T Elec. 

About the author
Dan Connolly is a Project Manager for Commodore Builders  and past Chair of the AGC MA Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Committee.

Commodore Builders is a $350M construction management firm that builds many of the most notable projects within Greater Boston. They provide clients and partners with a construction process that eliminates the unexpected, while elevating the experience, allowing them to execute with excellence. Commodore focuses their expertise within the commercial, tenant interior, institutional/academic, life sciences and hospitality markets.

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