Aerial shot of the Hollywood and Highland construction project. (Photo by Warren Aerial Photography, Inc.)
HOLLYWOOD, CA — “Tight spacing; that’s been the main challenge for us,” says Vic Markarian, senior project manager for ACCO, the hvac contractor for Holly-wood’s new $300 million entertainment/retail complex, scheduled to open in August of 2001.

“The building itself has been designed very tight — tight architectural design and features. That means a minimum of spacing for ductwork and equipment.”

Markarian says that “In certain areas, we’ve had only a one-inch clearance. That’s been particularly true with a lot of the equipment rooms. We’ve had to custom build isolation exhaust and supply fans because of the height limitations.”

Having worked for ACCO since 1968, Markarian considers these challenges part of doing business. “I’ve worked on many large complexes throughout my career,” he says. “So many I can’t remember them all. Sure, we would have liked to have had more space, but that’s the way the structural engineers and architects designed it.

“So much was already fabricated and already in place when we came on the job. The whole parking structure was prefabbed. So, yes, our biggest challenge then became making sure we could fit all our equipment and ductwork in.”

Upscale tenants

Owner TrizecHahn Hollywood, Inc., hopes the complex will become one of the “must-see” attractions the almost 24 million tourists who visit the Los Angeles area each year — and, of course, a favorite repeat spot with Southern Californians.

The original plan called for four cinemas. “That has been upped to six,” says Markarian, who has been a part of the design-assist project since budgeting began in November of 1997.

ACCO, a $250-plus million company based in Los Angeles, is responsible for all core and shell hvac. The project includes the 3,500-seat premier theater that will be the new venue for the annual Academy Awards presentation, the Grand Ballroom, cinemas, and mixed-used retail space.

In addition, “The design and installation of the grease exhaust systems and the location of major equipment for the kitchens is a challenge for some 20-plus high-end restaurants,” Markarian says.

Some 500,000 sq ft of retail stores, restaurants, recording studios and nightclubs are planned for the complex. Markarian says ACCO has made proposals to future tenants regarding their hvacr needs, but contracts have not been signed as yet.

“Tenants are responsible for their own TI work,” he says. “Depending on who the tenant is, we’ll develop an hvac system for them. The space is about 60% leased at this point, and the tenants are all upscale businesses, so there is great potential.”

“You can’t consider this a normal retail space,” Markarian comments. “It reminds me of the kind of multi-level shopping complexes you see in Hong Kong. It’s six to seven stories high, depending on where you are in the complex, and it’s going to have quite a few restaurants — as many as 24.”

The challenge with so many eating establishments “becomes the question of how you’re going to clean the exhaust air. How do you handle the ductwork that’s going to be traveling through another tenant’s store? You have to make sure it’s architecturally feasible to travel through an adjoining space, so the other tenant’s space isn’t compromised.”

Yet another challenge is sound levels for the planned TV broadcast stations, recording studios, cinemas, and ballroom.

“We have to make sure the systems we install are not going to pose noise problems. This is going to be critical in spaces where any background noise will cause problems for the tenant’s operations.”

Beyond construction

“ACCO has a few thousand service contracts throughout the country for the work we’ve completed,” Markarian says. “We’ve made proposals to service and maintain the equipment we install at Hollywood and Highland, but we’re not to the point yet of signing contracts.

“The owners are also talking with the various energy companies, most of which have personnel to handle the equipment, but, sure, we’d like to see that business come our way.”

Sidebar: Job specs

  • 2 million sq ft total floor space (including parking garage)

  • 500,000 sq ft of retail stores, restaurants, recording studios, nightclubs and ballrooms

  • 1.1 million sq ft, six-story underground parking structure to accommodate more than 3,000 vehicles

  • $300-plus million overall cost of building and grounds

  • 3,500-seat Premier Theater

  • Six cinemas with a total of 2,400 seats

  • Three water-cooled centrifugal chillers totaling 4,200 tons

  • Four cooling towers

  • Five boilers (totaling 20,000-plus-Mbtuh input)

  • 150 air handlers (2 million cfm total)

  • 70 fancoils

  • 120 fans (ventilation, toilets, smoke removal)

  • 80 variable-frequency drives

  • Number of kitchen supply and exhaust fans and terminal units to be determined

  • ACCO principals included senior project manager Vic Markarian; project engineer Russell Wright; assistant project manager Robert Martinez; and engineers John Bonsich, Bark Tong and Kenny Lin

  • 60 field sheet metal technicians during the period of peak installation (Gene Spence, sheet metal superintendent; James Napoli and Roger Brock, sheet metal detailers)

  • 40 field piping technicians during the period of peak installation (Bill Brandt, piping superintendent; Tom Martinez, piping detailer)