30 Oct

Orem Celebrates Rebirth of Midtown Village Project

By Genelle Pubmire, Daily Herald

City officials and other dignitaries are celebrating the rebirth of the Midtown Village project, now called Midtown 360, following a re-groundbreaking and press conference Wednesday.

The project, which began in 2004, now has an aggressive construction schedule managed by the partnership of The Ritchie Group and Allen Kreutzkamp. The sale of the property closed last week.

Kreutzkamp said the development will have the south tower completed in six months. The north tower will be finished within 18 months.

The entire project — with the addition of west-side apartment buildings — is expected to be complete within the next three to five years. Big D Construction will be the contractor leading the work.

The Midtown Village project started in 2004 as a mixed-use development. Hale Center Theater Orem had planned to build a new theater on site. But by 2007, the real estate market plummeted and the development went into bankruptcy, then foreclosure.

“This has been many months in coming,” said Paul Ritchie of The Ritchie Group. “I’ve driven by many times over several years and asked myself what happened. Until a year ago, I didn’t understand the history.”

Ritchie said a lot of people were hurt over the years. Several lenders lost money and were taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Fannie Mae could no longer buy the paper on the project.

“It was not feasible to go forward,” Ritchie said. “There was three years of litigation, and a lot of other reasons why it took so long.”

That said, Wednesday was understandably a day for celebration, particularly by Mayor Richard Brunst, who introduced Kruetzkamp to the project while he was still campaigning last year.

“A year ago while I was running for office, I was asked every day about the eyesore on State Street,” Brunst said. “My campaign promise today is solved.

“This is going to be a premier project for Orem. It is fully funded from the start. They’re ready to go.”

It was Big D Construction that held on to the dream and saved the project from complete ruin and demolition. With more than 19 developers denied, The Ritchie Group proved to be the right group with the right financing and backing.

“It has been quite a journey,” said Rob Moore, of Big D Construction. “It has been a long battle, but we never gave up. I’m a big fan of never giving up.

“This project is back. This project deserves it.”

“This is huge,” said Rona Rahlf, president of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We are thrilled to see the business it will bring to the valley.”

Midtown 360 will feature apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, businesses and resident amenities. The colors and architectural finishes reflect an urban feel with the use of greys, taupe, tans and browns, grained wood and steel with accents of pale blue. Nearly every apartment will have its own balcony, large windows, granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

“Our goal is to make sure what was started is finished, and that this site becomes one of the premier residential and commercial spots to live and do business,” said Ryan Ritchie, founder of The Ritchie Group. “The term 360 connotes a complete turnaround, which symbolizes the transformation about to take place at Midtown 360.”

When complete, the project will feature 550 residential units, 60,000 square feet of Class A retail space, and amenities including a community library, fitness center, indoor basketball court, rooftop lounge and central atrium in both towers.

“If you look at Midtown 360’s current tenants, you can see the site location is obviously set up for success,” said Lew Cramer, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain, in a prepared statement.

Businesses that may be attracted to the area include a corner market, hair salon, daycare center, dental offices, dry cleaners and other outlets that would be central to the needs of those living in the complex and for the entire community.

To see the full article, click here.

09 Oct

Big-D Construction Employees Elected as 2014-2015 NAWIC Officers

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Salt Lake Chapter 90 has selected new officers for 2014-2015, including two Big-D Construction employees.

Cheryl Kay, Big-D project assistant, has been elected as the chapter’s President for the second consecutive year. Jana Cochell, Big-D subcontractor manager, has been elected to the Board of Directors, as well as named the CAD Competition Chair and Membership Chair.

Additional officers for 2014-2015 include:

  • Vice President: Paula Sorensen, Arco Electric, Inc.
  • Secretary: Brenda Baxter, R & O Construction
  • Treasurer: Kathy Bonnett, CCI Mechanical, Inc.
  • Board of Directors: Karla Steele, Associated Representatives; Jennifer King, M.C. Green & Sons, Inc; and Tonya Timothy, GeoStrata Engineering.

“I support NAWIC because it promotes outstanding careers for women in construction, and gives us all an opportunity to support education and the future success of our industry and communities,” said Jack Livingood, CEO of Big-D Construction.

26 Sep

Construction Underway on New Shakespeare Festival Playhouse

The Utah Shakespeare Festival Fall season is in full swing, and so is construction of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts.

As William Shakespeare’s words resound on stage at the Randall Jones Theatre in Cedar City, outside bulldozers are tearing down buildings and making way for the new open-air playhouse, coming soon to the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

“It is kind of awe-inspiring. I know a lot of our staff has been out here sort of with jaws dropped as buildings have come down,” said Davis Ivers, artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “There has been a little sadness at some buildings and great happiness at other buildings coming down.”

Nine buildings, including administration offices, hair, makeup and costume shops and an apartment complex, were demolished to clear space.

“I have watched the demolition of buildings that we used, and used with great joy for years, and to see them come down, and then to realize what they are coming down for is something even more exciting and challenging for us,” said Fred C. Adams, founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The $38.5 million Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts stretches over 8 acres, which will bring the festival a block and a half closer to Cedar City’s Main Street.

“It’s going to be an exciting new change for us,” said R. Scott Phillips, executive director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. “And I know people are concerned, but I guarantee you, we are working very carefully to make sure we keep the same kind of festival experience alive.”

The project will include an 890-seat theater, a youth education and rehearsal space, elevator and ADA access, dressing rooms and backstage space for artists.

The project also includes two new Utah Shakespeare Festival theaters, an artistic and production facility, and the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

The new Engelstad Theatre will replace the aging outdoor Adams Shakespearean Theatre.

“I’m constantly asked the question: Why are we taking the Adams down? Why did the lovely memorial Adams Theatre have to be removed?” Adams said. “Right from the beginning, it was a temporary building in the sense it was all wood and bolted and put together in a manner that could be unbolted and removed.”

The new center will mean many things to many people, but to the founder of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, it’s a dream realized.

“I think it’s going to serve a whole lot of people, not just the actor and festival family, but I think it is going to serve, in a genuine and generous way, patrons for generations to come,” Adams said.

The current season ends Oct. 18. Festival administrators say they will open the 2016 season with a flourish and that new theater.

To view the full article, click here.

23 Sep

Hundreds Turn Out for Celebration of Life Memorial


By Amy Nay, KUTV

Hundreds turned out for the Celebration of Life Memorial Saturday in downtown Salt Lake. The southwest corner of Library Square has been the site of a memorial since 2004, but it is now much bigger with a more prominent profile.

“It’s really amazing to see,” Julia Horsley told 2News Saturday, coming to the memorial wall along with her entire family to find the name of her mother, an organ and tissue donor, who passed away this past year at the age of 80, “It’s just been an amazing journey. It was a beautiful ceremony, but pretty hard on all of us.”

Julia herself is an organ donor, giving a kidney to a woman she said she barely knew, “And she is alive and well today. If I had another kidney, I’d probably do it again. Of course, if I had one to spare!”

“We’re here to celebrate the life of my son,” Debi Waddell of Idaho told 2News with her daughter by her side, “He was just 19, but saved the lives of four people and affected so many more. He lives on in them.”

Donor families and recipients came together to see the newly dedicated memorial wall which features the names of more than 5,500 donors from Utah. At the ceremony, nearly 490 names of donors from this year were honored for their gift, with their names newly etched into the wall.

To see the full article, click here.

To view more photos of the event, click here.

22 Aug

Big-D Construction Talks About Building Ogden Temple

By Rachel Trotter, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

OGDEN – It’s not every day that someone in the construction business works on a building that they plan to visit regularly, but Carl Turner got to do just that for a little longer than three years.

Turner was chosen as the superintendent for Big D Construction for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ogden Temple project and since April 4, 2011 worked at least 12-hour days until the job was complete before the open house. He also completed a few more finishing touches after the open house began.

Turner said this was the biggest job he ever led, as well as the most rewarding and challenging.

Turner is from North Ogden and grew up with the Ogden Temple in his backyard. He and his wife both took out their endowments there, his parents and siblings were sealed there and he has taken countless trips there to do work for the dead.

“It is a special place for me and means something very personal to me,” Turner said.

Since the open house began, Turner has been speaking in sacrament meetings, firesides and youth conferences to share his experiences working on the inside and outside of the temple and tabernacle.

“I gained a greater testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel,” Turner said of his experience. “Satan was fighting so hard to stop this project. We had problems upon problems which makes me know how important it was,” Turner said.

At one point he was blaming himself for the problems, thinking he was doing a terrible job because nothing was going right. Problems with having the right amount of stone and some flooding issues were a great frustration. One day he was talking with one of the service missionaries and expressing his frustration when that person told him it had nothing to do with him.

“They told me it was Satan trying to stop this work. Since then I realized that was true. I was glad we had that conversation,” Turner said.

Turner said officials didn’t push the date back of the opening when problems arose, but they just worked through it. “We knew our contract date of when to have the job done. We didn’t know the dedication date or open house dates until it was announced by the church,” Turner said.

Turner was able to get to work on the project soon after the temple was closed in 2011 and before it was “decommissioned” by the church because he holds a current temple recommend. The temple closed the first week of April, but construction workers didn’t start with the demolition until the end of May, but Turner walked through with the plans and started working details out before that time.

About 250 to 300 construction workers were on site on any given day and about 3,000 underwent safety training and worked on the temple in all. While Turner had other superintendents with him, he oversaw everything.

Turner wasn’t able to talk a lot about the project while it was in construction because of an agreement with the LDS church, but now enjoys answering questions, like about the Angle Moroni. It’s the same Angel that was on the original Ogden Temple. Big D had to put the spire and angel up early in the process because of the large cranes it took to lift both the spire and angel on to the temple.

“We needed to get close to the building and if we had waited, it wouldn’t work,” he said. The spire itself weighed 66,000 pounds. By comparison, the angel only weighed 800 pounds. “I took him off and put him back on,” Turner said with a laugh.

Turner’s wife, Tiffany, was impressed with how hard her husband worked. “He has always gone to work early, but he would head out around 5 a.m. and not get home until 5:30 or 6 at night most days,” Tiffany Turner said.

Toward the end of construction, those 12-hour days turned into 20 hour days sometimes. She kind of viewed the job in three different ways, spiritually, business and from a mom’s perspective.

“Initially I thought it was cool from a spiritual standpoint that my kids and grandkids would be able to say their dad and grandpa worked on that,” Tiffany said. It makes her happy to think of the legacy it has left for her family. Carl Turner agrees, but also feels humbled by it as well.

“From a business standpoint, it was the biggest job in the state at the time and I felt he deserved a huge pat on the back,” the wife said.

But she said the mom perspective was the hardest. She is the mom of six children and one was serving a full-time mission during most of the time the temple was constructed. “I don’t know if I would ever want him to do it again. Toward the end, my kids would go days without seeing their dad,” she said. But at the same time she knows it was worth it.

Both admit the experience has given them extra love for the Ogden Temple. “We always say that the project belongs to the owner but in some ways I am the owner of the project,” Carl said with a laugh. “I don’t mean because I pay my tithing or anything, but because this is my temple and I love it with all my heart,” he said.