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Best Renovation/Restoration: Hotel John Marshall

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Photo by Fred Gerlich Photography
A project team led by Choate Construction Co. performed a complete overhaul of the 84-year-old hotel.
Photo by Fred Gerlich Photography
The property now includes residential units, meeting and conference spaces, retail and restaurants.
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Overcoming the harsh effects of years of neglect and water damage to restore a historic property's original splendor was the core challenge facing contractors renovating the 1920s-era, 16-story Hotel John Marshall in Richmond, Va.

A project team led by Choate Construction Co. performed a complete overhaul of the 310,537-sq-ft hotel, restoring the 84-year-old building while at the same time converting it into a mixed-use property with residential units, meeting and conference spaces, retail and restaurants. Additionally, the contractors rebuilt the hotel's main lobby to its original layout.

All members of the project team—which included a specialty exterior restoration engineer and historical preservation and tax credit consultant—took part in reviewing planned repairs, with a focus on ensuring that the work met structural requirements while also maintaining the building's original exterior appearance.

The exterior was a crumbling mess, according to Choate Construction. Anchor hooks supporting the building's limestone- and brick-clad masonry exterior had deteriorated badly, with numerous pieces of the facade having fallen off the structure.

To remedy the problem, every limestone panel was reattached with bolted-in stainless-steel anchors, which were then expertly concealed. All terra-cotta details at the top of the building were removed, cleaned and repaired, with contractors using glass-fiber-reinforced concrete to re-create ruined pieces of the terra-cotta.

During design, restoration experts identified corridors as historic and unchangeable elements. Historic doors maintained their positions, with original doorknobs.

The walls contained asbestos, which was abated before upgrades could be made to the systems. Crews replaced all existing mechanical and electrical systems and built 34 new 7-ft-tall aluminum letters for the hotel's rooftop sign, using LED lights and thereby reducing future power consumption by 70%. The project achieved three out of four points in Green Globe certification and is registered as a historic site with the National Park Service.

Key Players

General Contractor: Choate Construction Co., Atlanta

Owner: Dominion Realty Partners, Richmond

Lead Design: Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, Atlanta

Structural Engineer: Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates Ltd., Atlanta

Civil Engineer: Rummel, Klepper and Kahl LLP, Richmond

Submitted by Choate Construction Co.

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