Q&A: Frank Wilk of Crain Construction

Frank Wilk is vice president of operations for Crain Construction, the general contractor for Buckingham Companies’ Aertson Midtown. Work is progressing on the 17-story mixed-use development, to be located near Vanderbilt University and that will include 350 apartments, a 180-room Kimpton Hotel and street-level retail. Post Managing Editor William Williams caught up with Wilk to ask a few questions about the project, which is expected to be completed in late 2016.

Aertson is a tight and distinctively configured site. What challenges do you face on such urban construction sites in general?

Typically space is tight, so delivery of materials has to be carefully planned and coordinated. You also have to consider traffic and pedestrian flow around the site. We have worked with Metro and the State so permitting allows the louder work to be done during the day. We also notify the neighboring restaurants and building managers before every concrete pour so that we can eliminate any surprise.

What noise reduction measures are you implementing on the site?

Crain Construction and our concrete contractor, Charter Construction Inc., have implemented several measures to reduce noise.

We do our concrete pours at night. So we constructed an insulated mobile wall panel system, about 10 feet high, around the pump truck to contain the noise within the insulated area. We put insulated “skirts” around the blades of the concrete troweling machine. We also changed the mufflers on the gas-powered machines to reduce noise and switched the back-up alarms, setting them at the lowest level allowed by OSHA.

Any numbers regarding the concrete pours?

The concrete structure is a 15-month process since we are pouring floor slabs for 17 stories and hundreds of concrete columns. We average two or three night-time concrete pours each week between midnight and 2 a.m., sometimes lasting until 6 a.m. Each pour involves 30 truckloads (10 cubic yards) of concrete.

How common are noise-reducing measures and/or equipment in Middle Tennessee?

We haven’t seen it used before. Our goal is to be a good neighbor and that means trying to reduce the noise on the site at night. We fabricated our own insulated skirts and wall panel system because we thought it was beneficial for the project and the neighbors.

Your efforts to minimize noise are being driven, in part, to address concerns from nearby neighbors. Some of these people live in more recently opened residential buildings and are upset about, in addition to the noise, losing their views. But I find it a bit baffling, and contradictory, that a percentage of the concerned folks living in the newer buildings were perhaps not concerned when the residents of, for example, the older Americana or University Square had to deal with noise and the loss of their views when the more recently opened buildings were under construction. Your thoughts?

Our noise reduction efforts are in response to the noise ordinance and because we want to be a good neighbor. We understand there may be frustration when construction is taking place next door, so our team has worked diligently to reduce noise, keep nearby residents and businesses informed, and respond to all concerns. We continually try to find solutions in relation to construction inconvenience as we did similarly with neighbors down the street at both the Home 2 Suites and Hilton Garden Inn sites.

Oct 12, 2015 6:45 AM

Downtown building slated for boutique hotel could be capped with neon sign

Nashville-based BNA Associates will go before the Metro Development and Design Review Committee Tuesday to seek approval for exterior updates — including what could be an eye-catching neon rooftop sign — for a proposed boutique hotel to be called The Fairlane and located in an existing building with an address of 401 Union St.

Bathed in travertine limestone, the modernist building to be reinvented is located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Fourth Avenue North and Union Street within the central business district (see the structure here courtesy of Google Maps).

Philip Welker, BNA co-managing partner, said the development team will soon begin undertaking cleaning and demolition work within the 12-story structure’s interior. Crain Construction is handling the work, with a permit valued at $300,000, according to a Metro Codes Department document.

Welker said Nashville-based Manuel Zeitlin Architects is handling the architecture, with Reunion Goods & Services, a New York City-based company, to oversee interior design efforts. Civil Site Design Group is the civil engineer, with EMC Structural Engineers (structural), MP&E Engineering (mechanical, plumbing and fire) and Kidwell Engineer (electrical) also contributing.

As to the exterior, the most noticeable proposed change involves a large neon sign that would, if approved, cap the 1972-opened building. Nashville-based Sideshow Sign Co. has designed the sign.

Relatedly, Welker said the team will replace all the building’s glass to yield a more environmentally efficient structure. In addition, the design calls for the moving of the building’s main entrance from the corner to the middle of the building fronting Union. That entrance is to offer valet parking and a canopy. A secondary entrance fronting Fourth Avenue would remain.

“We feel comfortable about the proposed exterior updates and we are hopeful the MDHA committee will, too,” Welker said.

The team is not yet ready to disclose a construction timetable, opening date or brand, but Welker said the hotel will contain 72 upscale rooms, a penthouse and a “signature restaurant” on the fourth floor.

The property falls within MDHA’s Capitol Mall Redevelopment District and, as such, the exterior changes to the building require committee approval.


(Image courtesy of BNA)





Oct 5, 2015 1:23 PM

Permit Patrol: 5 October 2015

Aertson's retail space, Google gets going, Bellevue Mall coming down, and more...
Oct 5, 2015 6:50 AM

Places within places

A photo essay of some local industry pros' favorite urban pockets
Sep 20, 2015 10:45 AM

Video shows Aertson Midtown scale and scope

The Buckingham Cos. Aertson Midtown project now underway at the high-profile point at which 21st Avenue, Division Street and Broadway converge promises to loom large on many levels (height, massing, street defintion, pedestrian generation, etc.). This nifty video (view here), courtesy of Buckingham and Crain Construction (the Nashville-based general contractor overseeing the building process for the project), provides an idea of the project's scope.

Jan 23, 2015 9:45 AM

Buckingham lands $71.7M permit for Aertson Midtown

Buckingham Companies has secured a permit for work on its Aertson Midtown development.

Crain Construction is serving as general contractor for the mixed-use project, with the permit valued at $71.7 million.

Read more here.

Oct 31, 2014 11:18 AM

Demo to begin at Buckingham site in Midtown

Demolition is slated to begin at about noon today at the Midtown site on which Buckingham Companies' massive mixed-used project will be undertaken.

Earlier this month, Indianapolis-based Buckingham secured six permits, valued at $110,400, for the demo work. The four structures to be razed include the vintage masonry building last home to Ken's Sushi.

Crain Construction Inc. is the general contractor for the project (read more here), the site for which is located at the intersection of 21st Avenue, Broadway and Division Street.

Aug 26, 2014 10:01 AM

Buckingham lands demo permits for Midtown project

Indiana-based Buckingham Cos. has secured six permits for its Midtown-based mixed-used project for which groundbreaking looms. The development, to feature retail and residential space and a hotel, will be located at the point at which 21st Avenue, Broadway and Division Street converge.

Crain Construction will serve as general contractor for the project, with the six permits valued collectively at $110,400.

The start of the project has been delayed by more than a year. Relatedly, Buckingham Cos. recently unveiled a rendering (see below) that shows the building with a much different form compared to the previous iteration.

Read more about the project here (and see the earlier image).


Aug 6, 2014 11:22 AM

Permit issued for One Hundred Oaks-area project

Gallatin-based real estate investment firm Green & Little LP has secured a permit related to its project planned for a light industrial site located at 2926 Kraft Drive east of Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks. The permit is valued at $1.3 million, with Crain Construction to serve as general contractor.


Aug 1, 2014 6:45 AM

Permit Patrol: 16 June 2014

New construction at Nashville State, office work at Loews, why Pepsi might taste better, and more...
Jun 16, 2014 7:00 AM