Before these buildings were revitalized to become the Ampersand property, it was the home of the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper for over 40 years. Located in San Diego’s Mission Valley, the property originally consisted of a 5-story office building and a 3-story industrial print building. The 13-acre site was purchased in 2015 by the Casey Brown Company and renamed Ampersand, the last character printed by the Union-Tribune in this building. The project successfully transformed an industrial facility into a modern Class A office complex.

While the project consisted of an overall refresh of the campus, the focus was on the Press Building, a 172,000 sf structure dedicated to printing the newspaper. The building was split into thirds, with east and west wings separated by a central open courtyard. Through this revitalization, Coffman executed the owner and architect’s vision of opening the center of the building into an open-air courtyard, adding a new 65′ long steel Warren truss bridge across the courtyard and cutting new large-format windows through the perimeter concrete and brick shear walls to allow daylight into the space. By employing an ASCE 41 Tier 3 analysis and design, Coffman saved an estimated $2 million in construction cost and fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) extents. Retrofits included shear wall upgrades via FRP and opening infills, diaphragm upgrades, new micropile strengthening of the foundations, and various unique one-off detailing conditions, all while maintaining the building’s original exterior brick façade.

The Ampersand project challenged Coffman to get creative with our structural design approach and details for unique and unforeseen field conditions. By salvaging a building that may have otherwise been demolished, we were proud to create a one of a kind office space and aid in the redevelopment of the Mission Valley riverfront.

Photo credit: Jasper Sanidad


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  • Structural Engineering