Merging History with Bold and Trendy
In 2013, the 11-story former Tulsa City Hall experienced a bold transformation to a trendy hotel and conference center. The historical building was initially completed in the 1960s and after decades of local government business, it had been vacant (and an eyesore) for several years. Residents and officials alike wanted the building in the center of the city torn down, but it was saved when a hotel chain provided the tired building with a new purpose. Owned by Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide, the building has become the new Aloft Tulsa Downtown Hotel and boasts 164 loft-inspired hotel rooms, a conference center and a pool.
The local developer, Brickhugger LLC, has redeveloped several downtown treasures, and they quickly decided to keep the original marble walls and terrazzo floors and mix them with Aloft’s signature light fixtures and ceiling designs. The building needed a complete facelift, including a new plumbing and hydronic distribution system from Uponor.
Palmer Mechanical, a local company, put service and project Manager Todd Ringgold in charge of the installations for the Aloft Tulsa Downtown. Palmer Mechanical has been working with PEX almost exclusively since 2007 when they merged with Pace Mechanical.
“When we work directly with developers in our own design builds, we almost exclusively specify PEX because of the savings we are able to bring to the projects,” Ringgold said. Palmer Mechanical has been involved with other historical renovations in Tulsa, and Ringgold said that the engineers have built a high level of trust in their recommendations, including using PEX-a for plumbing.
In this project, Palmer Mechanical used approximately 19,000 feet of Uponor AquaPEX® ranging from 2" to ½" for the main line and the water distribution between floors. “We were able to use some of the existing risers and the existing building services which helped us speed up the installation,” Ringgold said.
Palmer Mechanical also installed the hydronic distribution piping for heating and cooling and they chose to install Wirsbo hePEX™ from Uponor. “We are so comfortable with the ProPEX fitting technology, and we felt that it only made sense to utilize the same technology in the hydronic distribution piping installation,” Ringgold said. They installed more than 20,000 feet of Wirsbo hePEX pipe varying in size from 2" down to ½", and the existing main risers were in excellent condition and did not need to be replaced; again, helping speed up the installation.
The project didn’t come without its challenges. “In a redesign job there is usually limited workspace and this job was no exception,” Ringgold said. “We worked with a very tight ceiling space – the hallways were dropped only two feet – and we needed to accommodate fire sprinklers, fresh air, san sewer, exhaust air, heating, cooling, domestic hot and cold water and lighting in a tight space. But PEX allowed us to run our lines in such a way that we avoided conflicts with the other trades and we kept up with our deadlines without interrupting other installers and without compromising the integrity and quality of our installation.”
Ringgold is also quick to add that Palmer Mechanical came in on-time and on-budget on this project “in large part due to the efficiencies that PEX-a offers in an installation,” he said.
Today, the Aloft Tulsa Downtown Hotel stands proudly as a testament that an abandoned historic site can become a one-of-a-kind hotel combining elements of its former distinctive charm with modern amenities, high performance and energy efficiency.
• 1960s Historical Building Renovation
• Uponor PEX-a Plumbing System
• Wirsbo hePEX™ Hydronic Distribution
• Installing Contractor: Palmer Mechanical, Tulsa
• 19,000 feet of Uponor AquaPEX® pipe sized from 2" to ½"
• 20,000 feet of Wirsbo hePEX™ pipe sized from 2" to ½"
• ProPEX® Engineered Polymer (EP) Fittings
• Milwaukee ProPEX Expansion Tools