“Finfrock had the opportunity to solve some pretty unique challenges using precast concrete on a project that created a lot of local, and now national, interest.”

Jorge Arboleda


Best All Precast Solution

Surf Style in Clearwater, Fla.

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Festive summer colors and big, bright windows offer an inviting facade to the Surf Style complex, a 175,300 ft2 (16,300 m2) beachside retail center and parking structure in the heart of Clearwater, Fla. The six-level building includes more than 42,000 ft2 (3,900 m2) of retail and restaurant space on the ground and mezzanine levels, with parking for 344 vehicles on five levels above.

Along with a fun and friendly shopping experience, the designers of this facility had to create a structure that could withstand corrosive sea air, meet strict flood zone requirements dictated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and deliver construction on an accelerated schedule within a tight footprint in the midst of a busy beachfront community during tourist season.

An all–precast concrete solution helped the team overcome all of these challenges, says Daniel J. Finfrock of Finfrock Design in Apopka, Fla. “We were able to take each challenge of the project, apply some innovative thinking, and use precast to solve that particular problem,” he says.

The owner of the project was keen to minimize disruption to business as much as possible. “By producing structural concrete products off-site, fast-track construction could begin immediately upon demolition of the existing structure,” says architect Jorge Arboleda of Finfrock Design.

Offsite construction of precast concrete components also reduced the need for extra space on-site, which was vital because the construction zone abutted one of the most active parts of Clearwater Beach. Cornices, reveals, and recesses were cast within the precast concrete panels, eliminating the need for extra trades on-site or added attachment hardware.

“By choosing a precast concrete solution, no on-site lay-down area was required,” Arboleda says. It also dramatically reduced the dust, noise, and other effects of construction.

To meet the area’s FEMA flood zone designation, the designers added a wave wall in front of the building with a 3 ft (1 m) tall concrete cap extending above grade that is supported by vinyl sheet pile extending 20 ft (6 m) below grade. The building was also designed under strict FEMA coastal construction guidelines to withstand the force of 6 ft (1.8 m) of standing water without incurring major damage.

The project team was further challenged when, midway through construction, the owner decided to incorporate a FlowRider surf attraction into the retail surf shop. This addition required an extension to the original project schedule to accommodate the dramatic new feature.

“Since Finfrock handled the design, manufacturing, and construction of the project, structural changes were handled quickly and efficiently, adding only six additional weeks to complete the project,” Finfrock says. “Even with the drastic change of scope, final delivery of the building was three weeks ahead of our contractually obligated schedule.”


Martinot Photos


Owner: LOM Inc., Hollywood, Fla.
Architect and Engineer of Record: Finfrock Design Inc., Apopka, Fla.
Precaster: Finfrock Industries Inc., Apopka, Fla.
Contractor: Finfrock Construction, Apopka, Fla.
Project Size: 175,300 ft2 (16,300 m2)