Moving to Sacramento: Greg Shehtanian, PE

Office News, Project

Ashley & Vance is excited to open a new office in Sacramento, California, and help guide smart building initiatives and urban renewal projects, including the Fort Sutter Hotel in midtown Sacramento, engineered by Greg Shehtanian, Matthew Tropp and Michael Iannelli. Here’s what Greg had to say about moving to Sacramento and this project…

As Sacramento grows into a thriving metropolitan area, Ashley & Vance is excited to open our new office there and help guide smart building initiatives and urban renewal projects in California’s state capital. First up, the Fort Sutter Hotel in midtown Sacramento, engineered by Greg Shehtanian, Matthew Tropp, and Michael Iannelli. Here’s what Greg Shehtanian, PE, had to say about his recent move to Sacramento and about the Fort Sutter Hotel project:

Fort Sutter Hotel Sacramento California

Personally and professionally, why did you move to Sacramento?

Having previously lived in the Bay Area and LA, I’ve always liked how Sacramento is a big enough city to offer many amenities without having the level of congestion that the Bay Area and LA do. Often, I’ve found myself in Sacramento, visiting family and friends or heading to the mountains for the weekend. The fact that you have big city amenities yet are minutes away from the mountains and Lake Tahoe is what appeals to me most about Sacramento.

How will Ashley & Vance fit into Sacramento’s building scene?

Sacramento is in the middle of an exciting time of transformation right now. It’s been the fastest growing metropolitan area in California over the past decade. High cost of living in other areas of California are causing an explosion of population around Sacramento, which means housing and infrastructure demands are high. Ashley & Vance is excited to be able to contribute our expertise in smart urban design to help the area meet these demands.

Explain challenges in designing a mixed-use building like the Fort Sutter Hotel.

The biggest challenges on the Fort Sutter Hotel project in midtown were coordinating all the different structural systems and consultants to work together to form a single structure. The foundation alone consisted of three different systems: conventional foundations, drilled piers, and a mat foundation. The superstructure consisted of 5 floors of wood over a post-tensioned concrete deck at the second floor. Not only was careful consideration paid to where the transition of materials occurred, but the 5 floors of wood required a special continuous rod hold-down system and the concrete deck required steel post-tensioning tendons, both of which required an additional third-party supplier and designer to be brought on board.

How did architectural/design choices play into structural engineering of Fort Sutter Hotel?

The architectural and client objectives were really what drove our structural design choices. Our structural system selections were made to harmonize both structure and architecture.  Extensive coordination between us (structural engineers), the architect, and other consultants and a lot of custom detailing were required to ensure that the building was able to include the desired features, while also being structurally safe and serviceable. Seeing how incredible the building turned out and how great of a hotel and space it is, it made all of the coordination and attention to details worth it.

What advice would you give other design teams/engineers about similar projects?

Coordinate early and coordinate often. When working on a building that requires both complex structural systems and very concrete and defined architectural objectives, early and frequent coordination are paramount to a smooth, successful building process. Seek to understand what other members of the design team are trying to achieve and allow that understanding to inform your design decisions. At the end of the day, we are all on the same team with a common goal in mind, and that is to create a safe, functional and economical structure. When the design team works together to achieve that goal, it can be a lot of fun and extremely rewarding.

Check Fort Sutter hotel out for yourself at