TX Childrens Hospital Theproject includes 32,000 square feet of auditorium and conferencespace to host symposia and seminars.

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HOUSTON—A two-floor buildout has been completed within the Janand Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children'sHospital. The project by McCarthy Building Companies Inc. includes32,000 square feet of auditorium and conference space to hostresearch symposia, scientific seminars and other programs.Construction on the project began in December 2018.

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The level seven and eight Duncan project consisted of structuraldemolition and reinforcement of existing structural deck betweenthe two levels and a partial buildout on level eight for balconyauditorium space. This project also included four levels ofmonumental staircases that connect levels six through 13. The steelstringers for these stairs were flown in through an opening onlevel seven and then lowered through the stair shaft and welded inplace from the bottom up.

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"Obviously, completing this project in an existing occupiedlaboratory building took careful consideration but projects withthese types of challenges enable McCarthy to work creatively andcollaboratively," said Preston Hodges, McCarthy Houston divisionvice president.

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A major challenge was minimizing disruptions to sensitiveequipment and ongoing research as the project called for thedemolition of 600,000 pounds of structural reinforced concrete. Theteam undertook several mitigating measures including continualcommunication with building occupants, the installation of noiseand vibration monitors near sensitive research equipment, tookregular 3D scans of the structure to monitor deflection, installeda 5,000-square-foot waterproofing membrane to contain concreteslurry, and used advanced robotic demolition equipment and wiresaws, among other efforts.

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"Creating a world-class assembly space within a facilitydesigned for research presented a significant challenge," Hodgestells GlobeSt.com. "The design and construction teams adapted tothe unique challenge, developed creative concepts, and collaboratedto plan and execute the construction. During the design phase, theteam engaged the end users through the use of visioning sessions,comparable facility tours and 3D imaging technologies. Afterworking through multiple test fits to situate the auditorium withinthe research facility, it was apparent that the auditorium was bestsuited as a multi-floor volume. This decision required the removalof several bays of concrete structure. Completing this project inan existing occupied laboratory building, careful consideration wasalso taken for the potential future design of adjacent spacerenovations and facility maintenance."

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McCarthy's extensive portfolio of multi-phase healthcare andresearch facility projects makes it suited to take on healthcareand research projects of any size or complexity. Its expertiseallowed the facility to remain operational while underconstruction.

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In addition to the previous build-out of 23,000 square feet oflab space on level nine of the Duncan project, some of McCarthy'sother healthcare projects include CHRISTUS Spohn in Corpus Christi,the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Alkek hospitalexpansion and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterPavilion expansion.

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Regarding healthcare assets, medical REITs might be a good betin this current market environment, according to CNN. Many arepositioned well to help manage the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis,particularly companies that own and operate hospitals, medicaloffices, and life sciences and biotech facilities.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of GlobeSt.com. She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.