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JGMA Architects


Miami, FL


50,000 sqft



Paragon Theater Wellington

Often in adaptive re-use work we are faced with the decision of keeping, replacing, strengthening, or adding. At Forefront Structural Engineers (FSE), we have found that in several cases there is a fifth option: Lifting. 

It is not that uncommon for a client to approach us to help them assess an existing building along with both its limitations and possibilities. The process usually starts with a program and/or revenue based idea that requires a critical eye to understand where to look for golden nuggets of opportunity. The Wellington Paragon Theater is a new 12-theater complex that was inserted into an existing facility located in south Florida. Highlights included: 

• Programming needs that expanded 50,000 square feet of unleased spaced overtop of an existing active retail space. In addition to raising the roof, several existing columns required removal by integrating transfer trusses to optimize large theater function. 

• Implementing a roof lifting strategy that permitted construction during hurricane season in south Florida while making significant exterior improvements to draw new visitors. 

• Results that achieved 12 new theaters and revenue for a previously empty space while not disturbing the existing tenants below. 

This project illustrate an effective strategy to help clients who want to increase the performance of their existing buildings without the added expense of demolition and reconstruction. These strategies were accomplished by simultaneously reducing the construction costs and eliminating lost revenue otherwise caused by traditional methods of expansion.

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