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Andersen Construction used bridge engineering techniques to troubleshoot high groundwater

The Buckman neighborhood at Southeast 11th Avenue and Belmont Street is about to liven up.

By the end of March, The Goat Blocks is scheduled for completion — including three mixed-use buildings anchored by Market of Choice and Orchard Hardware, with active walkways through a small retail alleyway topped by high-end apartments.

Formerly known as LOCA, the superblock project has one building already complete, with the other two rolling out completion by the end of April.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS - This famously large development with 97,000 square feet of retail and 247 apartments is known for its site, which used to be home to a herd of goats.

Andersen Construction's Chris Copeland is the senior project manager on the job, which he's been working on for two years now.

"It's a nice project overall. It's a little bit out of the norm for that neighborhood, in that everything you need is right there in the superblocks," Copeland said. "That's the unique thing about it, and what I enjoyed the most was doing something unique to that area."

The Goat Blocks

"There are a lot of really cool things. The market walk up on the first floor is going to be very nice … the podium decks where residents' amenities are going to be very nice, the apartments are pretty high-end," Copeland said.

There are three buildings included in the Goat Blocks project on the north, south and east sides: ten10, ten25 and 975, are all under the same contract. Building 888, also part of the Goat Blocks built by Andersen, is part of a different contract.

Year-round roof decks top studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with 400-year-old reclaimed wood and quartz countertops.

"They've started leasing apartments in the east building now. It's kind of a rolling completion date," Copeland said. "From the general public perspective, it will look completely done by the end of the month."

The Business Tribune recently featured The Goat Blocks' design for its retail alleyway, or what Copeland calls a market walk.

"You'll be able to walk from that corner of 10th and Belmont up those stairs, across that walkway with those retail spaces, and then when you get between the north and south buildings you're going to be able to turn and go between the buildings, cross the street, cross through the east block and go all the way to 11th," Copeland said. "There's a natural corridor for people from the neighborhood to get through and around the new project, and it will expose them to all the micro retailers as they come through."PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS - This mixed-use development consists of three separate, large buildings spread across two superblocks, the size of four regular city blocks that surround it.

The retail and residential tenants will be moving in throughout the summer, including Schilling Cider and Kachka, a Russian restaurant currently located along Southeast Grand Avenue, as a tenant on the east block.

"There will be storefront that might not be full (yet), but when it fills up I'm sure it will be very vibrant," Copeland said. "It's going to be very nice and have great views. It's going to be pretty special when it's done."

Bridge engineering

Copeland said the most difficult part of the project was the excavation and concrete work on the underground garage because of the high water table.

"There is an underground parking garage area on the south end of the superblock, so we had to put a cofferdam in and stop the groundwater with a cofferdam and a plug before we could work there," Copeland said. "That was probably the most technically difficult thing we did was to get a dry area to put that part of the parking garage in."

The garage's level is beneath groundwater level now, and Andersen's heavy-duty plan for the anticipated problem is working.

"There is high ground water in that area, so we had a plan that we executed and it worked, but it was unique," Copeland said. "Because of the storm sewer capacity in that area, we could not pump unlimited water to the storm sewer, which is what you normally do — you usually put in a series of interception walls around the project and pump the water table down, but we couldn't do that because there was no place that would accept that much water."PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS - Along Yamhill Alley, concrete steps rise to a plaza with downtown views and access to multiple small retail stores, some of which are as small as a few hundred square feet. Yamhill Alley and Market Terrace feature plants growing up greenwalls and vines overhead.

Andersen had help on this from subcontractor West Coast Contractor, based in Coos Bay.

"We had to take another strategy, we used a cofferdam, put in sheet pile and poured a plug in it and basically made a dry area there just like you would do for a bridge pier," Copeland said. "You don't usually see people do that for buildings. It was a very unique application of technology that's usually used in rivers."

The amount of underground parking also makes this garage unique.

"Not many buildings I can think of in that area have that, and so hopefully it'll ease the congestion in that area a little bit, particularly for the new people who live there," Copeland said. "The way it incorporates and invites people in is really going to benefit all those retail people, and I think it's going to be a focal point for that area. There's going to be restaurants, shops, two big anchor retailers and all those people living there — it's going to be a hub."

Once completed, The Goat Blocks will add a total of 247 apartment units, 97,000 square feet of retail, 412 underground parking spaces and 510 bike parking spaces for residential and retail use to the neighborhood.

"I've been doing this for awhile. My gratification comes from seeing the final product and we're very close to seeing that," Copeland said. "I'm sure that it will be really nice to walk around here in a month or two."

By Jules Rogers
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