VOL. 8 | NO. 11 | Saturday, March 7, 2015
After Chisca, Carlisles Simplify One Beale Design
By Amos Maki
When the family-owned Carlisle Corp. joined the redevelopment of the historic but blighted Chisca Hotel Downtown, the project design only called for eight types of units.
But Carlisle Corp. officials, keen on developing a signature project that would make the city proud as they pursue the ambitious One Beale development, chose to go in a different direction.
“In order to make this project work and be a first-class development, something the city can be proud of and be successful when it goes to market, we ended up expanding to 20 unit types with nine derivatives, and for construction that becomes very costly because you don’t reach economies of scale,” said Chase Carlisle, director of real estate and development for Carlisle Corp.
“We had to plead and beg with a cabinet maker to put a bid on a project because he was so scared about all the uniqueness and worried that he would get burned,” Carlisle said. “So we didn’t get a lot of bids and competition, and it becomes very expensive when you have that many unique floor plans.”
The nearly 102-year-old Chisca will leave an important, but largely unnoticed, mark on the proposed One Beale development at Beale Street and Riverside Drive. After discovering at the Chisca just how difficult and costly it can be to use a wide range of unit types, Carlisle Corp. is pursuing more streamlined design and construction options for the $150 million One Beale project.
“At One Beale it’s going to be about finding economies of scale and being efficient,” said Carlisle.
Featuring two soaring towers, One Beale will include 280 apartments, 40,000 square feet of retail and meeting space, 20,000 square feet of office space and a 300-room hotel.
The apartments will go in the 30-story north tower, with each floor including six one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units. The second floor will include a 6,500-square-foot restaurant with public access off Beale. The 22-story south tower will feature a 300-room four-star hotel.
“For One Beale there will only be two unit types, that’s it, and one floor plan, that’s it,” he said. “We have a very efficient model so when I go to a contractor and he goes to his subcontractors it’s really simple.”
The redeveloped Chisca will include a total of 161 units in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom designs, including some loft units and a few penthouse units. In late July, the first residents will be able to move in to the 28 units in the 1961 motor court annex, and the 133 units in the original nine-story building opened in 1913 should be complete by November.
The development team did not have a blank slate at the Chisca. It had to work within the confines of the existing structure, which required customization of units.
Carlisle said he knew allowing 20 unit types and even small changes in those types would cost more but the project would be better for it in the long run.
“We knew that anytime you take on a renovation or restoration there would be costs and challenges, especially with a building that’s over 100 years old and was vacant as long as the Chisca was, but until you really get in there you don’t know how much,” Carlisle said. “We knew there would additional costs because of the way we were driving it, but what we recognized is that the added value far outweighed the increase in costs.”
“The Chisca, we won’t have a high return on it, but that’s not why we did it,” he said. “As we got into the project, it’s really been with an eye on the best product we can deliver versus the highest return we can get.”