Independence Excavating, Inc. (IX) partnered with the Gilbane Building Company on the construction of The Lumen at Playhouse Square. As the largest residential project in downtown Cleveland in over 40 years, IX was honored to be a team member on this history-making development in the heart of the largest theater district outside of Broadway. The building was constructed on a one-acre site at the corner of Euclid Ave. and E. 17th Street, and consists of a 34-story tower, housing 318 luxury apartments, over 22,000 square feet in amenities and a new 550 space parking garage. Rising to almost 400 feet tall, The Lumen towers high above all other buildings in the Playhouse Square District. The total project cost was just over $135 million. IX was awarded the excavation and utility bid package in late 2017 as a Subcontractor to Gilbane, the project’s General Contractor providing full pre-construction and construction phase services for Playhouse Square and their development manager Hines.
Immediately our engineering team sprung to action designing the temporary earth retention system that allowed for deep excavation of the building’s foundations, while protecting adjacent roadways and neighboring buildings. IX’s scope of work included removal of existing buried building foundations, over 50,000 square feet of sheet pile installation, 150 tie-back anchors drilled under City of Cleveland roadways, 40,000 cubic yards of excavation up to 28 feet deep, temporary dewatering for building construction, grading for the mat foundations, backfill of the new structure and installing new utility services up to the building.
IX broke ground in March 2018, and from the first bucket in the ground, IX discovered the first of many building foundations that had been abandoned intact under the existing asphalt parking lot. Although a challenging discovery, through the partnership of IX, Gilbane and Hines, a plan for removal of these foundations was developed. Our crews worked six days a week to clear the way for construction, in a way that mitigates excessive costs and limits impact to the project schedule. Other site challenges included the removal of the buried foundations adjacent to the foundations of the historic Hanna Building. The Lumen, sits within inches of the almost 100-year-old 16-story structure. Through a joint project team effort, IX was able to develop a plan to successfully remove these foundations, and maintain the schedule, preserve the Hanna and allow for the placement of the new garage foundations. IX worked expeditiously to complete initial excavation of the site in order for Gilbane’s caisson contractor to mobilize. Upon completion of these caissons, IX returned to complete the final excavation and grading in order for Gilbane’s concrete subcontractor to begin the concrete mat foundations. Due to the efforts of the entire team, the project met all initial critical milestones. Opening spring of 2020, the Lumen will illuminate and forever transform the Cleveland skyline. IX is proud to be a part of another historic downtown transformation.