Starwood Capital Group asked Nordic PCL Construction to take over and finish Kauai’s newest 381,000 square-foot luxury wellness resort, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, after 80% of the renovations were completed by another general contractor. It was no small feat.
The long-awaited opening in February 2023 comes after a multimillion-dollar renovation along Kauai’s iconic hillside. In just six months, the team identified solutions to many challenges and opportunities on the resort involving miscellaneous carpentry work, reorganizing the job site and successfully leading the subcontractors to finish renovations – allowing 1 Hotel to keep its commitment to open in February.
The project is monumental for Kauai’s well-preserved culture and community as its design honors the island’s natural beauty with environmental sustainability at the core. According to 1 Hotel, the re-imagination rather than a complete rebuild has already saved 144.6 tons of materials from entering landfills and 73.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. Starwood bought the former St. Regis Princeville Resort in 2018 and the resort became part of its 1 Hotels and Resorts brand. The resort features 252 rooms and suites, a 7,900-square-foot wellness center, renovated pools, an 18,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and more.
Phil Cassalia, project executive for 1 Hotel, played a key role in bringing Nordic PCL in during a critical time for the project. Cassalia is a construction manager with East West Partners, the development partner for Starwood.
“Changing contractors mid-project is extremely complicated, so when Nordic PCL pretty much air dropped in to turn this troubling project around, it quickly became clear that this was going to be a completely different experience,” Cassalia says. “PCL saw the challenges and was never discouraged by the work ahead, but rather proactive and transparent in their approach to find cost-effective solutions together. Their high level of expertise is only matched by their professionalism, positive attitude and quality of work.”
A project takeover and quick assembly of a team is nothing new at PCL. However, the unique challenges of this project including the quick turnaround and shortage of available resources and labor, made this project success story that much sweeter.
Once Nordic PCL officially took over 1 Hotel renovations in August 2022, Hawaii’s operations manager, Andrew Fernandez faced a big challenge: to build a project team and to build it fast. With PCL’s depth across the U.S. – more than 1,600 active employees – Fernandez was able to assemble a team of professionals from other PCL offices across the country who were ready and willing to start immediately.
“We had to move fast, but also find the right people to come on board,” Fernandez says. “We needed talent who had the experience, knowledge and enthusiasm and embraced the industry’s mobility culture.”
Seasoned veterans as well as new employees stepped up to help the team bring this project across the finish line.
“We came from various parts of the United States with diverse backgrounds in culture and work experience, and gelled so well,” says Eliana Aguilar, project engineer. “I truly believe it’s because we all walked in with the same mindset that the only way to complete 1 Hotel successfully is if we band together – and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The dynamic group of project and field engineers, superintendents, and others were led by PCL veterans including senior project manager for 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, Chance Barnes. His leadership and experience at PCL helped deliver 1 Hotel on time and on budget.
“Establishing a project team where we get work done together, provide solutions through proactive teamwork and build a communicative culture through open dialogue speaks to our one-company mindset and culture of ownership,” Barnes says. “Every day, during our daily briefs, we made sure to listen to others and weigh in on our tasks, and through the constant communication and care for one another, we built something great.”
For Cassalia, a former PCL employee who is now on the client’s side, his knowledge of PCL’s vision and purpose inspired confidence that the company would deliver results.
“I know from experience that no matter which PCL office you work with, the company’s culture of being solution providers is the same,” Cassalia says. “Across the company, I believe PCL employees exemplify their purpose to build success together as a team and produce amazing builds that benefit the owners as well as the community.”