A Challenging Wind and Flood Design
Opal Sands Resort is a new 17-story plus, 380,000-square-foot premier hotel located directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The recipient of the 2016 ENR Southeast Regional Best Project Award, the Opal Sands Resort was born from the vision of the owner/developer, Ocean Properties, LTD (OPL). The owner desired a new flagship hotel to add to their portfolio of international resort hotels. Soon enough, that vision became a reality because of the innovative work by project architect, Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, Inc. (NBWW) of Coral Gables, Florida, and their team of consulting engineers, including the structural engineers, McCarthy and Associates, a Division of Pennoni, and the general contractor, Moss & Associates LLC.
From the beginning, the apparent structural design challenges were numerous:
- Design a 17-story curvilinear building, with a coastal exposure, to resist Florida’s high hurricane wind loads.
- Design a building located in multiple flood zones including two different FEMA V-zones, the Pinellas Gulf Beaches Coastal Construction Zone, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL).
- Design a heavy concrete building on a site overlaid with loose beach sands.
- Eliminate a critical transfer beam over the lobby during construction and after many of the upper floors had been constructed.