St. Louis Business Journal: “With future Covid-19 impact unclear, focus turns to ‘key piece’ in NGA construction”
ST. LOUIS – May 29, 2020
While Covid-19 may be changing today’s real estate environment, it’s less clear what that will mean for the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters when it’s fully operational in 2025.
The pandemic, though, has yet to impact construction or alter the design of the facility as builders work through a key phase of development, officials said.
“We’re in 2020 now .. we just don’t know what the environment will be in five years as a result of Covid-19,” said McCarthy Building Cos. Vice President of Operations Jeff Boyer.
Currently, crews from Castle Contracting, a member of the McCarthy HITT design-build team leading the $1.7 billion project, are doing the mass grading of the 97-acre site, which entails moving more than 775,000 cubic yards of soil. That’s the equivalent to filling Busch Stadium with dirt one and a half times, officials said.
“It’s the key piece that kicks off construction,” Boyer said.
How that grading is done — with an individual working alone in the cabs of heavy equipment and with others spaced out on the site — has been conducive to adhering to social distancing, he said.
Castle, a part of the McCarthy Holdings enterprise, is employing technology such as GPS and sub-surface utility mapping to better ensure all underground utility lines, piping and other hazards are found before actual construction of the facility begins. It’s considered a “balanced site,” meaning no dirt has to be hauled off or trucked in to prep the land for construction, Boyer said.
Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
McCarthy is one of the partners of the McCarthy HITT design-build team, which includes McCarthy, Virginia-based HITT, Kansas-based Black & Veatch, Washington, D.C.-based Gensler and Virginia-based Akima LLC.