Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering Helps Developer with Pico Gateway Apartments Project Success

Terra-Petra designed the environmental engineering designs and waterproofing systems for this multifamily property in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood just sold for $22.4M a few years back. As always, Terra-Petra is quite proud to be a part of the revision and revamping of land that was up until today, unusable. The revitalization of the LA Basin continues with environmental engineering being a key component of developers' success stories. So now, in what is becoming to be known as an increasingly popular Westside area, this building is being described as a “very high-quality property in a great location." 

This Week's LA Deal Sheet

The fully occupied Pico Gateway Apartments location offers 48,275 SF of rentable space, including 7,500 SF of ground-floor retail, 39 apartments and more than 135 underground parking spaces. Just two blocks from Beverly Hills, which is also a draw, apartment amenities include double sinks for preparing kosher meals, maple hardwood floors, double-paned windows to block out street noise and appliances. 

There is also an optional Shabbat elevator for residents to use on the Jewish Sabbath. Projected growth in the area is making the neighborhood increasingly popular. A recent study shows the population on the Westside could grow by 3.4% over the next five years. 

Read the full story about this properties sale at: Bisnow.com

Terra-Petra Sponsors the Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® October 22-25, 2015

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering will participate in the ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CONFERENCE AT YOSEMITE® this Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, October 25 at the Tenaya Lodge  (“The Gateway to Yosemite”). As a sponsor of this event, Terra-Petra will be giving away candy and stress balls to all who stop by to visit at the Terra-Petra team's table in between conference sessions. The Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® is nationally recognized as the largest and most prestigious gathering in California of leaders in environmental, land use, and natural resources law. 

Yosemite National Park - Celebrating 150 YearsConference attendees will earn 11.25 Hours MCLE Credit, of which1.5 Hours Applies to Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession.

Following a long tradition of outstanding conferences, the year's event will feature an exciting line-up of speakers including California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez, Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Professor Manual Pastor, Professor Jody Freeman, Professor Richard Lazarus, photographer James Balog, and many others.Conference Program Materials and Merchandise

Conference registrants will receive a USB storage device with an electronic version of all program materials complements of West, a Thomson Reuters business. Before the Conference attendees will receive a link with information on how to review and download the Yosemiteprogram materials from the Internet. It may be helpful to review a program’s reference materials before the class, so please take a moment to check the materials for classes you plan to attend. This website is not available to the public, and access is given only to Conference registrants. Late-breaking supplemental materials not available before the Conference will be added to this site at a later date. We are pleased to announce that wireless Internet service will be available in all education program rooms, compliments of Caldwell Leslie & Proctor PC.

Essential Information
Program Schedule
Printable Brochure



Update on Terra-Petra’s Pacific City Oil Well Abandonment Project

Joe Morelli, Fire Protection Analyst of the HBDF, and Terra-Petra's Larry Barnes consulting near an abandoned oil well trenchNearly two years after commencing environmental work on the Pacific City project in Huntington Beach, California, the site is prepared for further construction. After intensive environmental work to verify the integrity of the on-site oil and water well abandonments, all necessary permits are in place to start constructing the foundation of the approximately 190,000 sq. ft. property. Terra-Petra is proud to have taken part in such a notable development project while contributing to tremendous cost savings for the client.

In order to bring incredible value to the project, Terra-Petra came to a practical remediation plan contradictory to one which may have been reached by blindly conforming to re-abandonment codes and procedures. After a careful review of all information obtained from field explorations and well documents from the DOGGR, Larry Barnes – Terra-Petra’s Senior Petroleum Geologist – determined that a minimally intrusive remediation approach would be sufficient for the site. This approach involved shortening all wells to a depth between 6 and 10 feet below grade, recapping each well head with a circular metal plate, and installing a methane mitigation vent cone at each well head. Rather than disturbing the abandoned wells and replacing all cement plugs with costly drilling expenses, this much more non-intrusive approach was deemed more than adequate for preventing any future leaks and site contamination.

In convincing the governing agencies that is safer to leave the wells relatively undisturbed and proceeding with the aforementioned action plan, Terra-Petra was able to successfully save the client millions of dollars while simultaneously reducing their risks on this sizeable development project. With the combined expertise of the construction team Terra-Petra was able to meet the expedited construction schedule. The client is now in the process of grading the site in preparation for foundation construction. Terra-Petra will be on hand to proceed with the necessary methane gas mitigation measures on the foundation of the site for the safety of future site residents.

[PHOTO: Joe Morelli, Fire Protection Analyst of the HBDF, and  Terra-Petra's Larry Barnes consulting near an abandoned oil well trench.]

Terra-Petra helps deveolper save millions with oil well remediation plan

Excavation equipment unearthing an identified oil wellTerra-Petra’s construction division was recently contacted to prepare an Oil Well History Report of 20 oil wells located on an 18 acre site in Huntington Beach, California. In accordance with the requirements of the Huntington Beach Fire Department, Terra-Petra’s team performed a “sniff test” on the oil well heads, then followed up with appropriate necessary re-abandonment activities in order to stop any leakage and contamination. 

Photo on right: Excavation equipment unearthing an identified oil well.

See more photo highlights below.

The scope of work began with surveying and staking the location of all 20 oil wells and providing excavation equipment and labor to uncover 15 of the abandoned wells while making them safe for entry. Dave Lucero, Terra-Petra’s Senior Project Scientist, was responsible for managing all excavation/backfilling operations and overseeing the entirety of field activities.

Dave also monitored all soil stockpiles for V.O.C. emissions and dust control per the requirements of the South Coast Air Quality Management District's Rule 1166.1. With Dave's extensive field experience and expert project oversight all oil wells were located, excavated, and exposed for sniff testing.

Larry Barnes, Terra-Petra’s Senior Geologist, took charge of conducting the sniff testing of each of the 15 excavated oil wells, 5 vented oil wells, and monitoring for fugitive gas emissions at each well head per the requirements of Huntington Beach Fire Department City Spec. 422 and the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

As a California Licensed Petroleum Geologist, Larry’s duties included documenting the wells’ history, the casing and liners of the wells, the type of cement used to complete the well abandonments, preparing well diagrams, and recording information on all oil/gas zones. With this comprehensive information Larry was able to provide the developer with an ongoing Oil Well History Report for the Huntington Beach site. His expert knowledge in the geological field and long-standing relationship with the DOGGR facilitate the process of determining the level of safety for structures to be built over or near the wells and the corresponding safety recommendations.

After a careful review of all information obtained from field explorations and well documents obtained from the DOGGR, Terra-Petra came to a practical remediation plan contradictory to one which may have been reached simply by conforming to re-abandonment codes and procedures. Rather than disturbing the abandoned wells and replacing all cement plugs with costly drilling expenses, it was determined that a much more non-intrusive approach would be more than adequate for preventing any future leaks and site contamination. This approach involved shortening all wells to a depth between 6 and 10 feet below grade, recapping each well head with a circular metal plate, and installing a methane mitigation vent cone at each well head. In convincing the governing agencies that is safer to leave the wells relatively undisturbed and proceeding with the aforementioned action plan, Terra-Petra has successfully saved the client millions of dollars on this notable development project.

With the combined expertise of the construction team Terra-Petra was able to meet the expedited construction schedule. The client is now prepared to proceed with the necessary gas mitigation measures for the safety of future site residents.

Photo highlights

An excavated trench revealing an abandoned oil well cap, 
















An excavated trench revealing an abandoned oil well cap.



 Terra-Petra excavation equipment compiling a soil stockpile near an abandoned oil well trench.


Terra-Petra excavation equipment compiling a soil stockpile near anabandoned oil well trench.

























Joe Morelli, Fire Protection Analyst of the HBDF, and Terra-Petra's Larry Barnes consulting near an abandoned oil well trench.

























A safe-to enter trench revealing the location of an oil well.
























An excavated cement well plug.

Terra-Petra Welcomes San Francisco Bay Area Account Executive, Mark Wagner

Terra-Petra recently welcomed account executive, Mark Wagner, to the company’s San Francisco office. He will handle the management of the increased environmental engineering project workload coming out of a developing San Francisco Bay Area market. Mark’s degree in engineering and prior experience working for a Northern California firm that handles contaminated soil and water remediation makes him the perfect person to serve as Bay Area account executive for Terra-Petra.  

Mark received his engineering degree from Messiah College in Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania—where is also held a position as student project manager for the school’s Biodiesel Project. In this role, he conducted research for possible uses of glycerin from the biodiesel production process and led a team of peers to focus on engineering design project management. While attending Messiah, he also spent time as an intern for HCJB Global in Ecuador, gaining experience in topographical map development as well as direct project oversight and successfully led the development of a spring preserve for a community of 85 residents to access clean water in the Amazon. 

Mark gained his most recent project management experience serving as project coordinator for Innovative Construction Solutions. At Innovative, he had the opportunity to gain insight into environmental remediation working with multiple project managers, and tracking progress on multiple projects throughout the Bay Area. Mark Wagner is a true pioneer in the environmental engineering industry and the perfect fit for Terra-Petra’s expansion into the Bay Area.

Terra-Petra and the environmental engineering industry shows well at I.CON ’15

Terra-Pettra Silver Sponsor I.CON '15 NAIOPTerra-Petra was very excited to serve as a Silver Sponsor of I.CON '15: The Industrial Conference (for the commercial real estate industry) AS June 10th and 11th at the Westin in Long Beach California.

I.CON is produced and presented annually by the NAIOP – commercial real estate development association. 

Terra-Petra client representatives (Prologis, CBRE and the Sares Regis Group, among others) served as either panelists or moderators during many of the conference presentations which included "Can American Cities Accommodate Industrial Development?," "Regulatory Environment and Its Effect on Development," and "Industrial Investment Outlook."

Terra-Petra at NAIOP I.CON '15 CEO Power luncheon










Each year, I.CON offers the most up-to-date trends and information available presented by the most notable names in industrial real estate including e-commerce trends, the logistics supply chain, demand for new industrial development and trends in current and future industrial facilities.

The event was NAIOP’s national conference for the industrial real estate sector. Overall, the Terra-Petra team had the opportunity to network with many of the company's current and new/potential clients as well as learn more about the commercial real estate industry.







Terra-Petra’s GM/VP Justin Conaway to speak at the Colorado Environmental Management Society March 10

JustinConawayVPGM Terra-Petra GM/VPCEMS March Luncheon – Engineering Control Trends in Vapor Intrusion Mitigation – March 10

Speaker: Justin Conaway, Vice President |General Manager and Patrick Guan, Regional Manager, Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering.

Tuesday, March 10, 11:30am – 1:00pm.  There will be no CLE for this presentation.

In recent years the implementation of vapor intrusion mitigation systems has become more common for ground-up development. There are many different forces and factors that are influencing this rise in popularity. There are also numerous engineering controls available to protect a given building from vapor intrusion. This presentation discusses the Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Engineering Control Trends that are being specified and installed today on new construction projects. The benefits of these systems will be outlined and we will identify how various stakeholders have influenced the current trend.

Justin Conaway, VP/GM of Terra-Petra has been with the company since 2004. In this time he has developed a unique knowledge of the vapor intrusion industry in that he has been involved with nearly every aspect of the vapor intrusion cycle from site characterization through installation.

Mr. Conaway has a wealth of experience and competencies, including: Construction Quality Assurance Inspection, Mitigation System Design, Permitting, Document Submittal and Negotiations with Governing Agencies, Risk Management Decision Making Process with Developers, Contract Negotiation, Installation Costing, On-Going Operation and Maintenance Monitoring and Reporting, and Research and Development to launch innovative vapor intrusion products.

Patrick Guan, Regional Manager for Terra-Petra has been with the company since 2012. In this time, he applied his vast experience in sales/marketing, strategic planning, operational management, and superior customer service skills that he developed over the past 17 years working for fortune 500 companies to help drive the ambitious expansion goals of Terra-Petra from a regional success story to a thriving successful nationwide operation. He has done this by executing a clear and concise marketing campaign that presented a positive compelling brand identity for the company. He helped increased the company’s market share throughout the country by emphasizing Terra-Petra’s expertise, and superior value driven customer service that has made it so successful in the West Coast region.

LOCATION: The EPA Conference Center located on the 2nd floor of the EPA Region 8 Headquarters building at 1595 Wynkoop Street in Denver, Colorado. 

To register, please visit this link

Terra-Petra’s Justin Conaway review of the 4th Annual San Francisco State of the Market Address

4TH ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO STATE OF THE MARKETTerra-Petra Vice President, Justin Conaway, was one of 600 industry professionals who attended the 4th Annual San Francisco State of the Market Address hosted by Bisnow. The event took place on January 20, 2015 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco and presented the current and projected state of the residential and commercial markets in the Bay Area. The format was set up as a series of panel discussions that included a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including residential and commercial developers, city planning commissioners, contractors and entitlement lawyers. San Francisco is booming and is now the number one real estate market in the U.S

On behalf of Terra-Petra, Justin's goal was to get a sense of the future projections in the City and surrounding Bay Area. The topics of discussion that dominated conversation among most panelists (other than their favorite restaurant) included the fact that increased demand for housing in San Francisco is leading to a supply crisis, how companies are managing the escalating costs of construction, the uncertainty of impact of Prop. M on development, as well as the Affordable Housing issue.

Tony Natsis of Allen Matkins served as the Keynote moderator during the interview of John Kilroy, CEO of Kilroy Realty Corp. Mr. Kilroy spoke passionately of the benefits of developing new properties rather than re-entitling existing structures and renovating them into commercial or residential properties, and claimed that he was “scared to death of the entitlement process.” More importantly, in his experience, it is always easier to develop a best-in-class facility for the long run, from the ground up, than it is to renovate an existing structure. According to Natsis, the Millennials entering the work force in San Francisco are now looking for non-traditional work spaces, huge floor plates and high ceilings. “These are scarce commodities that aren’t found in existing structures. John and his team have elected to lead the parade by building what the clients are demanding rather than to get run over by it,” he said.

The second panel discussion on residential development included the following panelists: Eric Tao (AGI Capital), Oz Ericson (Emerald Fund), Carl Shannon, Tishman Speyer and Bruce Berardi (Lend Lease), and Paul Zeger (Polaris Pacific), who served as the moderator. This panel spoke primarily about the current housing crisis in the City, escalating construction costs, the imbalance of new apartments to new condos and the affordable housing issue.

Oz Ericson stated that there are currently 8,000 residential units under construction in the city. 80% of which are apartment units, the other 20% is comprised of condos. Why such an imbalance? It is based on financing and tax “disincentives” as Mr. Shannon explains it. Apparently securing a loan for a new condo project is becoming next to impossible. Ericson shed some further light on the issue, “we have been sued on every condo we have ever done.” Eric Tao with a bit of comic relief added “we know all of the condo attorneys. We know they are going to sue us.  It’s not personal, its business.”  Basic economics also plays into the decision making process. Apartments are being sold at $1.7M per unit whereas condos are fetching $1.2M per unit.

Eric Tao spoke of a potential slowdown in new construction due to construction costs: “We are not going to build until there is an adjustment in pricing.”  Bruce Berardi added that the increased construction costs are due to general economics: “demand is an awful lot and that drives up costs.”  Ericson further stated that the cost of construction has doubled in the last 4 years to a point where the “cost per door” (price per unit) is approximately $725,000. “At this price it is absolutely impossible to rent for $1,000/month.”

Mr. Ericson claimed that “affordable housing is the most serious issue in San Francisco right now.” Currently San Francisco requires that a certain percentage of all new residential units are rented below market rate to low income families. Residential development is becoming uneconomical with disappearing margins due to the rising costs of construction and the exhaustion of bond subsidies for affordable housing units. Mr. Tao echoed this sentiment when he said “as an industry we all need to help support the affordable housing bond. If it doesn’t pass construction will shut down.”

The third and final panel consisted of retail industry professionals and was moderated by Matt Macko (Environmental Building Strategies) and included: Cameron Falconer (Hines), Alexa Arena (Forest City), Jes Pederson (Webcor), Matt Field (TMG Partners) and John Rahaim, City of San Francisco Planning Director. Prop M commanded the most attention from this panel as “the cap” is coming close to being reached. Prop M, a law approved in 1986, only allows the addition of 875,000 sq. ft. of large office space to the city limit each year.

John Rahaim started the panel off by explaining that 2015 is the year that the City of San Francisco finally “fishes or cuts bait” on the affordable housing question and the affordable retail question. Rahaim projects growth over the next year, then a leveling off for the next couple years.

The panel, as a whole, spoke about the challenges they are currently facing in the retail market. These include market scarcity (80% of the growth is on 40% of the land), availability of land near transportation hubs, affordability of construction, rent control and Prop. M.

The 4th Annual San Francisco State of the Market Address provided a great balance of information on the state of retail and residential development in San Francisco. The seminar was well attended which implies that we are experiencing a thriving industry. 

So what is Justin Conaway's (and Terra-Petra’s) overview of and takeaway from the event?

Development will continue for the next several years despite the grievances of many of the panelists regarding affordable housing mandates and rising construction costs. Positive indicators include city planners’ expectations to greenlight a record number of office space projects in 2015, including TMG Partner’s 50M First Street project in Transbay, Forest City’s 5M project, and the proposed Armory redevelopment. With the demand for housing and office space so high, the market has no other option than to adjust to accommodate it. Several theoretical resolutions were offered during this seminar alone that gives us confidence these issues will be resolved.

Terra-Petra going “underground” (aka below grade) in Denver and beyond…

at Haselden ConstructionWe are very excited about the new opportunities that have developed for Terra-Petra in the Denver area, as well as the state of Colorado, and other surrounding states including Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma as of late. One of our key contacts that we met with is working for Haselden Construction out of Wyoming. The company is working on the final stages of a hospital building project in Laramie. Terra-Petra is looking to take on some potential future waterproofing design consulting projects with Haselden. We would also like to plan to work with Haselden in the Wyoming area and support them with more below grade waterproofing, as well as some environmental consulting needs in the near future.

It looks as though the “wild-west” area is booming again thanks to certain industries – particularly with regard to below grade waterproofing needs. There are also many construction sites that are subject to some sort of contamination issue due to the fact that Denver, for one, is growing very fast. Multi-unit housing complexes going up in droves to support (population) growth in this area. The oil, mining, and legal marijuana industries, in particular, are driving this kind of speedy growth.

To that end Denver appears to also have plenty of waterproofing requirements, but they also have their share of environmental concerns. However, the Denver area still does not have a tremendous amount of regulations in place with regard vapor barriers and mitigation systems (like there are in cities like in New York or Los Angeles). So owners/developers in the Denver, as well as in many of the surrounding (Rockies/Midwest) areas, are now in a rush (or will soon need to be in a rush) to put these specific measures in place for current/older and new buildings —and this will become more and more of a necessity in order to maintain the clean environmental conditions in the area(s). We all know that there are many environmentalists residing in places like Colorado, so the consensus is that it is just a matter of time before tighter measures and regulations are put into place and owner/developers will be required to go down certain mitigation paths to better conditions.

Terra-Petra is looking to be the “go-to” environmental engineering firm as the construction industry (in the “wild west” area) continues to catch on to a growing environmental protection concern where building and land development is concerned. Yes, there are plenty of big environmental engineering firms located in Denver including URS and AECOM. This indicates that there is a market for larger scale environmental projects now and on the horizon. It’s going to be another wild ride in the west!