The Plaza Coral Gables

The Spirit of a Visionary Historic Neighborhood, Reimagined

Why InfraSol Advocated for ASSA ABLOY’s Access Control Technology at the New Miami Landmark

Yesteryear
If you go back in time and look at what was originally envisioned for Miami’s Coral Gables Craft Section district, you could say The Plaza Coral Gables has been in the making for over 100 years.

Initially planned in the early 20th century by George Merrick, the district was designed to be a neighborhood for artisans and craftsmen who created furniture, rugs, ironwork, and tile. It was also conceived to be a place where contractors, electricians, photographers, and printers could establish offices and where their workers could live in a nearby apartment complex.

plaza coral gablesMany impressive projects were designed between 1922 and 1925. Unfortunately, magnificent structures like the proposed “Rest Hotel” and “Urmey Arms Apartment high-rise” never came to fruition, due to a major hurricane, The Great Depression and other obstacles through the years.

Over the decades since, a high-rise office tower sprung up along with some parking lots and a handful of single-family homes, but most other areas in the district essentially remained unoccupied until The Plaza Coral Gables broke ground in 2020.­­

loews

Coral Gables 2022
Featuring all new construction developed by Agave Ponce LLC, the project is breathing new life into Miami’s historic business district. It’s the largest mixed-use development in Coral Gables history and features fine dining, shopping, Class A offices, entertainment venues, residential towers, and public outdoor spaces as well as a new Loews Hotel that seems to echo Urmey Arms’ architectural characteristics.

Uniformity in design and functionality has been an absolute from inception, reflecting the artistic and craftsmanship heritage of the area. Uniform quality covers everything from architectural features, surfaces and furnishings to decorative door hardware and the aesthetics of all the wired and wireless locksets, electronic access control solutions and the security system.  That mandate also extends to a harmonized approach among all the partners, construction teams and architect involved.

For their technology integrator, Agave Ponce selected InfraSol to provide a solution for the project’s unified security platform and to cover core network infrastructure that supports wireless, telephony, VoIP, workstations, access control, CCTV, intercoms, emergency phones, fiber backbones and telecommunications room requirements as well as subsystems. The exceptions were AV, building automation and fire alarms. InfraSol’s partners include Genetec (Unified Security Platform), LifeSafety Power, Cisco Networks and ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions.

According to Carlos Delgado, InfraSol’s VP of Business Development, “There are several hundred doors throughout The Plaza Coral Gables office, residential, retail and hospitality complex. To leverage the project’s extensive investment in wireless infrastructure, wireless electronic access control (EAC) solutions were specified for nearly all those openings.”

Specification Reboot
“Originally, the specifications called for EAC locksets from a manufacturer whose solution required Zigbee gateways as an intermediary communication component,” explains Delgado. “That meant the Zigbee gateways would have to be mounted on ceilings alongside sprinklers, smoke detectors, and wireless hubs. Understanding the developer’s design priorities, we really didn’t want to add to the clutter.” Instead, InfraSol turned to ASSA ABLOY for an alternative that would eliminate the gateway requirement and meet aesthetic expectations that went even beyond the desire for a cleaner look.” 

Delgado adds, “Leveraging over three years of successful partnership with ASSA ABLOY, we took a very in-depth consultation approach to fully explore all the options for this project. Ultimately, we recommended the company’s SARGENT IN120 Intelligent WiFi Lock as the best access control solution.”

To support the recommendation, InfraSol made sure Agave Ponce had all the value and cost savings data they needed that allowed them to make the best-informed decision. IN120 locks were more expensive compared to those in the original specs, or at least that was the initial impression when just looking at the cost of the lockset itself. However, after factoring in the extra underlying expense of the other manufacturer’s access controllers and associated cabling infrastructure, conduit pathways and installation labor, it became apparent that the IN120 was the most logical choice.

“Doug Hotaling, the Electromechanical Specialist from ASSA ABLOY, was instrumental in helping us develop and present our analysis,” says Delgado. “At the end of the day, the document clearly outlined the integration benefits and efficiencies of the ASSA ABLOY wireless solution. It revealed that choosing the IN120 would result in about a 20% cost savings overall! There was also the added value of the uniform aesthetic look of their premium levers and locks, which would have been difficult for the other manufacturer to deliver.”

Design Uniformity
“The Plaza Coral Gables expresses a Spanish theme throughout so the subject of decorative hardware and finishes that would complement that style was extremely important,” Delgado adds. “Naturally, it was part of the IN120 discussion in the course of covering electromechanical features, wireless benefits, and installation parameters.

“Although InfraSol’s primary function and responsibility is integrating network and related technologies, we also understand the value of the physical appearance of the integrated hardware, so it often goes hand-in-hand to help inform and guide the selection process,” explained Delgado.

“We teamed up with ASSA ABLOY’s architectural consultant, Hugh Williamson, who worked closely with the development owner and architect. ASSA ABLOY has an incredible range of beautiful door hardware styles and finishes, and Hugh made it easy for the stakeholders to narrow down the selection and find the right choice that would fit in perfectly and provide continuity.”

Along with seamless integration into Genetec’s Unified Security Platform and the uniformity of the locks’ sleek, minimalist design and finishes across all openings, the IN120 wireless solution can support multiple credential types, including mobile for future-proof access control flexibility.

A Trusted Relationship
“Doug Hotaling was an incredible asset and team player,” says Delgado. “From the beginning, he was heavily involved in helping us with identifying value-added solutions and with problem solving. He and his ASSA ABLOY team wrote the hardware schedule for the architect, delivered in-depth training on the technology for our InfraSol integrators and provided application engineers to help with deploying the technology. ASSA ABLOY’s overall attentiveness to our needs and those of our client contributed a lot to the success of this project.”

Delgado goes on to say, “Ever since our CEO Carlos Torres and I met Doug and learned about all that ASSA ABLOY offers and is working on, we’ve never looked back. What sold us was the innovation they’re leading with, the technology that was already available and what the company brings to the table in so many important ways. InfraSol works hard at being innovative as well with the systems and solutions we offer. It’s a great match. Everything we do now for door opening components involves ASSA ABLOY.”