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  Mama Mexico Restaurant

Construction Manager

CLIFFS/TROGON, A Joint Venture
560 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NY 07632


NY3 Design Group, Inc. 
362 5th Avenue, #905, New York, NY 10001

General Description

Location: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
Date Bid: July 2005
Construction Period: Aug 2005 to Dec 2006
Total Square Feet: 7,356 Site: 0.3 acres.
Number of Buildings: One. 
Building Size: Basement, 2,655; first floor, 2,655; second floor, 2,046; total, 7,356 square feet.
Building Height: Basement, 10’4”; first floor, 11’1”; second floor, 11’8”; penthouse, 12’4”; total, 35’1”. 
Basic Construction Type: New/Renovation.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade; existing concrete footings. Exterior Walls: CMU, metal stud, gypsum sheathing. Roof: Membrane, single ply EPDM. Floors: Concrete, precast. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

Construction Team

Structural Engineer: R Shatarah Consulting Engineers, PC - 2938 Hempstead Turnpike, #204, Levittown, NY 11756
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: HHF Design Consulting, Ltd. - 1751 Second Avenue, #201, New York, NY 10128
Interior Design: Design Technologies International - 336 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
Cost Estimator: Trogon Construction Management, Inc. - 70 Oakwood Avenue, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

Mama Mexico Restaurant, Page 24

Named for his mother and country, Mama Mexico located in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. marks Owner Juan Rojas Campos first venture in New Jersey, and the third restaurant in his portfolio. A true American success story, Rojas Campos, the oldest of eight sons, immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1977. He launched the first restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1997 and the second in Midtown in 2001. 

Mama Mexico (www.mamamexico.com) was founded on the vision of introducing not only the cuisine but also Mexican culture to the community it serves. Continuing a program started in Manhattan, the restaurant welcomes school groups for free lunches in exchange for an opportunity to expose students to Mexican history, music and dance. 

The project included an existing 2-story structure with a full basement located on a site of approximately 12,300 square feet. Although several non-conformities on the property existed, variance relief was not required based on the design approach adopted by the design team to meet the constraints imposed. The project was conceived as an insertion of a new building structure within the footprint of the existing building, where only two of the original walls would remain in place at full height in order to comply with zoning requirements. 

A staged design, multiple contracts with fast-track scheduling approach was implemented to achieve the benefits of overlapping design and construction. Bringing Trogon Construction Management and Cliffs Construction, Inc. on board as advocates for the project early in the development process, allowed the Owner to gain instant support on difficult issues with significant cost and time impact, while balancing the Owner’s risk exposure on the project. 

The project’s procurement plan separated the work into three work packages: 
1. demolition and structural, 2. building exterior and interior construction, and 
3. MEP. Package 1, was negotiated allowing structural components to advance the detailing and procurement of material. On-going bidding campaign and contractor interest for the remaining work packages as the design developed, allowed for an interactive value engineering evaluation process that contributed to the projects success reporting a 3% variance compared to the original construction budget. 

By creating a GC/CM partnership on an Agency basis gave the project Owner full control of the construction process, cost and schedule enabling the project to proceed immediately by subcontracting the work directly by the Owner. The fast-track approach allowed construction to start five months ahead of the original plan, as compared to the Owner’s original intended Design-Bid-Build approach. The restaurant opened for business on schedule at the end of December 2006. 

A combination of new footings tied to the existing foundation, long span structural steel frame support with a precast concrete plank floor system was adopted to free up floor area and maximize floor to floor heights. The structure sits within the exiting building footprint. The majority of the HVAC mechanical equipment is located on the roof with ductwork running along the outside rear facade of the building and feeding back into the building at each level in order to maximize dining floor areas and ceiling heights within soffits that provide MEP roughing space and create an architectural light cove feature. 

The new project created an upscale restaurant with 208 seats on two levels, of which 100 seats are located on the first floor with a bar, and 108 seats are located on the second floor. A modern, state-of-the-art kitchen is the center piece of the restaurant located in the basement with a 35-foot cooking line, dishwashing area, staff rooms, freezers, coolers and prep areas, to serve more than 200 dishes on the menu. 

The exterior of the restaurant is reminiscent of a charming, romantic Mexican facade, complete with bougainvillea filled, wrought iron mini-balconies. The entrance is a glass-enclosed space, with illuminated steps, leading to the main dining area. 

The interior is a celebratory synergy created through the convergence of modern and traditional design elements. A colorful mural depicting Mexican village life is the backdrop to the sleek, multi-tiered back-bar display of specialty tequilas and an elaborate selection of international liquors. 

For its dedication to excellence, Mama Mexico received the 5 Star Diamond Award for 2007 from The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.  


DIV. 7: EIFS: Finestone; Membrane Roofing: Firestone. 
DIV. 8: Windows: J. Sussman, Inc.; Glazing: Oldcastle Glass; Entrances & Storefronts: REBCO, Inc.; Exterior Sheathing: G-P Gypsum, Owens Corning. 
DIV. 9: Gypsum: USG; Paint: Sherwin-Williams; Wood Doors: The Maiman Co.
DIV. 26: Lighting: Kim, Lightolier, Lutron, Lightalarms.

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