hotels_hyattHuntington Beach, California, has worked for a number of years to upgrade its beachfront to attract more visitors to the laid back atmosphere in Surf City. The Hyatt Regency Grand Coast Resort construction strategically contributes to this transformation by adding a major resort and conference center. Opened in 2003, the Mediterranean-style hotel provides luxury accommodations while preserving the relaxed beach community atmosphere.

The resort’s four-story, 500,000-square-foot super-structure offers 517 guestrooms and 57 suites. It is configured in four wings extending out toward the ocean and offering spectacular views of the Pacific while surrounding the hotel’s scenic courtyards. Both hotel and the 110,000-square-foot conference center of indoor and outdoor function space are supported on a two-level, 400,000-square-foot underground parking garage providing 1,000 parking stalls. The resort provides retail shops, restaurants, and its very own pedestrian bridge across the Pacific Coast Highway, allowing convenient access to the beach and the famed Huntington Beach Pier.

To minimize floor to floor heights, upper hotel levels are 8-inch thick post-tensioned concrete floor plates where approximately 500,000 square feet of slab was cast in a three month period. Spanning 29 feet in typical bays, the floor system allowed flexibility in locating the 14-by-28-inch columns. To accommodate open areas at the lower floors, about 100 post-tensioned concrete girders transferred column loads with minimal deflection. With dimensions up to 4 feet in width by 4.5 feet in depth, the transfer girders utilized up to 44, 0.6-inch-diameter harped tendons. Cast-in-place concrete, 12- to 24-inches in thickness, formed shear walls at the interior and at the perimeter to carry lateral forces to the hotel foundations. Because of dimensional limitations, some shear walls required higher modulus to achieve the desired stiffness, and 7,000-psi compressive strength concrete provided the appropriate and easy solution.

hotels_hyatt_frontThe selection of a concrete structural system for the hotel enabled flexibility in varying the layout at different levels, provided the required fire separation without the additional fireproofing measures, and eliminated the ceiling space. Concrete also provided favorable sound attenuation and vibration control, essential for a luxury hotel.

Combining hotel guestrooms at the upper levels, common gathering and convention areas at the plaza level, and parking below grade created challenging project architecture. Concrete provided the flexibility to accommodate the need for varying column layouts with minimum floor depth and the speed to achieve the desired schedule.

The parking garage is constructed of mildly reinforced concrete slabs supported by concrete columns, interior concrete masonry walls, and perimeter concrete masonry retaining walls. Because the plan dimensions of the parking structure are greater than the hotel and conference center above, its plaza or top level was designed to support the hefty weight of soil and landscaping, including the courtyard fountains. The 500-pounds per square foot uniform load also considered the construction equipment as well as fire truck loading at driveways adjacent to the conference center.

A combination of shallow spread footings under the gravity columns and precast post-tensioned square concrete piles under the shear walls were used for building foundations. The large tension and compression capacity of the piles allowed for shorter and less frequent shear walls. This was particularly desirable for the parking structure large floor plates where restraint of floor shrinkage generated by multiple shear walls would not be favorable. Accelerating construction, three tower cranes simultaneously supported concrete placement sequencing from opposite ends of the project. At the height of the project, a total of 1,350 yards of concrete was placed in a single day.


PCH Beach Resort, LLC, Newport Beach, California

Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo, Newport Beach, California

Structural Engineer:
Ficcadenti & Waggoner C.S.E., Inc., Irvine, California

General Contractor/ Concrete Subcontractor:
PCL Construction Services, Inc., Glendale, California