Cleveland Construction, Inc., a national general contractor, and Lend Lease, construction manager for the privatization of military hotels, celebrated the grand opening of a new Candlewood Suites hotel located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.  The 153,685 square-foot, 310-unit hotel is considered the largest Candlewood Suites branded hotel in the world. The hotel is a part of the Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program, a U.S. Army-led program established as a means to revitalize on-post lodging facilities for soldiers, their families and all government travelers. The goal for this project was to benefit the soldiers and their families by providing a premier lodging facility, on time, on budget, and within an incident and injury free culture. The hotel officially opened to soldiers and their families with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 23, 2014.

The new hotel is a five-story structure totaling 153,685 square-feet with 310 studio and one-bedroom suites. Each room is fully equipped with a kitchen, oversized work area and full bathroom. The hotel amenities include a swimming pool with patio pavilion, business and fitness centers, guest laundry facilities, a breakfast bar and on-post shuttle services.

The structure of the building is comprised of pre-fabricated cold formed structural metal stud panels, gypsum cement floor slabs on floors 2 through 5, structurally suspended first floor concrete slab installed over 8 inch carton forms, grade beam foundations and 30 foot drilled bell piers.

The interior building systems include electrical, mechanical, plumbing, elevators, fire suppression and fire alarm systems. Site improvements include asphalt parking lots, specialty concrete paving, sidewalks, swimming pool, site lighting and trash enclosures.

The hotel structure meets military base structural requirements for progressive collapse and blast impact standards. The exterior building envelope consists of gypsum board sheathing, fluid applied vapor barrier, EIFS, TPO roofing system, and blast resistant windows and storefront systems.   

“The project proved to be extremely challenging, but I believe that because of the hard work and extraordinary efforts put forth by Lend Lease and our project teams, our goals for the project were realized,” said Elliot Christiansen, Project Manager for Cleveland Construction. “Rest Easy, IHG, and more importantly our soldiers have a premier facility to enjoy for years to come.”

From the start of construction in August 2012 through completion in August 2014, Lend Lease and Cleveland Construction made every effort to ensure that the project was completed in the spirit of the Lend Lease’s Incident and Injury Free Culture. Cleveland Construction’s management team continuously monitored construction activities to ensure a safe working environment for all tradesmen. Cleveland Construction also implemented a recycling program that resulted in 94% of the construction waste being recycled.

“Through constant coordination meetings and collaboration with the Lend Lease site team and their own trade partners, Cleveland Construction always challenged themselves to think outside the box, and never take no for an answer,” said Richard Blanz, Lend Lease General Superintendent. “Every time this team was faced with a challenge, they figured out a way to overcome it and challenge the status quo.  Cleveland Construction has embraced Lend Lease’s Incident and Injury Free (IIF) Culture and rigorous Quality Control requirements by constantly communicating with the ones that ultimately get it done.”

Five safety audits were conducted over the life of the project resulting in consecutive perfect 100% scores from Lend Lease’s insurance provider, gaining the respect and admiration of the entire Regional PAL Management Team.

“The level of safety achieved on this project is a significant accomplishment for our company. Receiving consecutive 100% ratings from the owner and insurance safety audits validates the safety leadership of our project team” said Mitch DaDante, Safety Director for Cleveland Construction. “A senior risk engineer with Zurich Services Corporation called this the best site he had ever visited based on the physical conditions and the positive safety management, something we can all be very proud of.”

Cleveland Construction’s most recent work for the PAL program includes the renovation of Keith Ware Hall into a Holiday Inn Express at Fort Hood Military Post located outside of Killeen, Texas as well as a multi-phased renovation of a 5-story Holiday Inn Express conversion of Knadle Hall located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia that was completed in May 2014.