SBC Project Spotlight: Baidu
Baidu, which literally means “hundreds of times,” takes its name from a Chinese poem about a long search for a missing beauty. Thus, the name behind China’s dominant search engine.
Yet South Bay Construction (SBC) did not have to search far and wide for the Baidu tenant improvement project that was recently completed by the firm. Rather, the project found SBC because of existing relationships. One of Silicon Valley’s top brokers asked, SBC partner, JB Cahoon to have a look at an older generation, concrete tilt-up building in Sunnyvale.
The broker wanted to secure the listing assignment to market the property for lease but not before the building was repositioned and fully modernized to attract the types of tenants in today’s market. SBC subsequently worked with the broker and owner to develop a vision for the property with a focus on substantially increasing the building’s “curb appeal,” or aesthetics. Specifically, SBC provided preliminary construction estimates to help the owner reach a critical decision in the process, which was to formally move ahead with a major renovation of the building by enlisting the services of Gensler.
Once they were brought on board, the building owner hired SBC on a negotiated basis and the repositioning project was officially on. To give the project the needed appeal, a two story pop out at the entrance with a metal skin (aluminum panels) was constructed. Then, a new lobby entrance, complemented by the new landscape design, created an indoor-outdoor amenity for the occupants.
From a construction perspective, this posed an early challenge because once the old mansard roof was removed to make way for the new feature, it caused structural problems. So a structural engineer had to be hired for additional permitting requirements, and ultimately the entire building had to be sheer walled to meet code.
The other new appealing feature added was all of the window openings were expanded and replaced with new glass. The change accomplished two things – more natural light for the occupants and the new windows met Title 24 requirements for energy conservation.
As a premier Bay Area construction company, SBC built entire project to LEED Silver Standards. Significantly, and mostly because of the new landscaping, water consumption at the property should be reduced by 40 percent.
Mid-way through rebuilding the shell portion of the project, Baidu signed on as the tenant.
The tenant improvements took 20 weeks to complete, and SBC crews and subcontractors worked 20 consecutive weekends to finish the job and get the tenant moved in. One of the greatest accomplishments of this job was the ability to execute on the vision of Baidu and their team of advisors to deliver a building where some of the most innovative thinkers and researchers impact the future of innovation.