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May 15, 2015

Construction Award • Tenant Improvement
Under $5 million

Photo courtesy of J.R. Abbott Construction
Team members from different trades assisted each other during the Cinerama renovation.


Location: Seattle

General contractor: J.R. Abbott Construction

Owner/developer: Vulcan

Primary designer: Studio 440

The Cinerama project upgraded a beloved, historical theater in the heart of Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.

The project included select demolition of the existing ceiling for the addition of speakers and spotlights; removal and upgrade of all seating; improvement of concession facilities; new draperies, curtain and screen; a new mural on two exterior walls; new digital visual display boards; new floor coverings; replacement of all rooftop HVAC equipment; and a new laser projector and state-of-the-art Dolby sound system.

The success of this remodel started with J.R. Abbott Construction’s innovative approach to pre-construction. By removing the lines between trades, all team members agreed to be accountable to each other and to work with one vision.

Abbott designed and encouraged the team members to assist each other if needed. At various points in the project, electricians would assist drywallers with gypsum wallboard, and the entire site crew assisted in pulling concrete pump hoses during a pour. By project end, all subcontractors stated that the project was like no other they had experienced.

Abbott also cut exploratory holes in the ceiling while the theater was still operating to investigate structural and mechanical conflicts. At the end of each night shift, the holes were patched and the theater was returned to its normal appearance.

Due to the tight schedule, Abbott carried an $80,000 allowance for overtime, yet less than $10,000 of this budget was used, enabling additional improvements without increased cost.

The project team truly worked as one entity, which not only improved the schedule, but safety, quality and commitment as well. Ultimately, the Cinerama project was delivered ahead of schedule, within budget and with no recordable injuries.

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