Crain Wins ABC’s Excellence in Construction for Turnip Truck renovation

Interior view of the Turnip Truck west grocery store

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Associated Builders and Contractors Greater Tennessee Chapter has recognized Crain Construction with a 2020 Excellence in Construction Award for its Turnip Truck West project.

Crain Construction renovated a 1940s structure on Charlotte Avenue and repurposed it for a new Turnip Truck natural foods grocery store to serve a growing West Nashville population. Manuel Zeitlin Architects designed the building renovation.

“We overcame numerous challenges while repurposing the building so having the project recognized for excellence is gratifying,” said Michael Rankin, Crain Construction president/CEO.

Challenges during the renovation project included a tornado scattering and damaging new store equipment, an extremely wet Tennessee spring and inspections delayed by COVID-19.

The original 15,667-square-foot structure on Charlotte Avenue was built in several phases and previously served as a Cash & Carry store and an auto repair garage.

During the renovation, Crain Construction eliminated an awkward loading dock, leveled the floor to correct a six-foot drop, and built a two-story clerestory for offices, a breakroom, employee bathrooms, water filtration system and the building management system that controls the electrical, boilers, refrigeration and other systems.

Crews installed new HVAC and electrical for the building and removed part of the concrete floor to install under-slab plumbing. The existing concrete floor was then grinded, stained, polished and left exposed, blending in with the new concrete over the plumbing area. Refrigeration lines, conduits and drainpipes were tucked into the ceiling between the store’s deli section and prep area.

A new 1,035-square-foot loading dock, a pit and a special lift to accommodate carts were added to keep pallets out of the store and make bulk deliveries of responsibly farmed, local and sustainable produce, meat, seafood and other quality-sourced products more efficient. Delivery drivers no longer have to enter the store to unload and damage to goods is minimized.

The new Turnip Truck interior blends modern and old. Three-foot tall windows on the east side were unblocked, bringing natural light into the building from three sides. The drywall and acoustical ceiling were removed to reveal the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which was left exposed and painted to showcase the steel and wood elements. Existing steel and concrete structures were left exposed to highlight the renovations. Brick columns were wrapped and painted green to compliment the Turnip Truck colors. A two-story windowed main entrance was added to allow natural light into the store.

Pops of vibrant orange and green, juxtaposed with a neutral gray exterior paint scheme, are a nod to Turnip Truck’s East Nashville store. Insulated metal panels painted a bright white wrap the south and southwest sides of the building with Hardy Plank panel on the north side facing Charlotte Avenue. Bright orange wings accent the second-floor windows on the west side, encase downlights and throw some shade into the mezzanine level.

New wide sidewalks and curbs were installed along Charlotte Avenue. Permeable paving and two bio-retention ponds were added to control storm water runoff.

Solar panels were mounted on the roof, a complex area of different heights and shapes, and provide 15 percent of the store’s energy. Adding solar panels required lots of coordination and extensive overlays of the systems to ensure safety and access. To keep everyone on track, Crain Construction conducted a weekly conference call involving 20 engineers and contractors scattered across the southeast and Midwest.

ABC’s Excellence in Construction award program annually honors innovative, top quality construction projects and safety programs. Entries are judged by an independent panel of industry experts who score each project in areas such as complexity, attractiveness, unique challenges overcome, completion time, workmanship, innovation, and safety.

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