COVID-19 Response   Learn More

Mark Skender Named CEO of Skender Manufacturing; Justin Brown Appointed President and CEO of Skender Construction

To fully support its construction and modular manufacturing businesses during the next phase of the economic recovery, Skender today announced that Mark Skender has chosen to step away from his role as CEO of Skender Construction and is formally assuming the role of CEO of Skender Manufacturing. Justin Brown will assume the role of CEO and continue his role as president of Skender Construction, which remains focused on general contracting services for all property types.

This move solidifies Mark Skender’s current leadership role in the manufacturing business and allows him and the other Skender Manufacturing leaders to concentrate on attracting investment and securing modular manufacturing projects.

“I have long been passionate about the transformative possibilities of modular construction for our industry and society. I am excited to embrace a leadership role fully dedicated to realizing the potential of modular building,” said Mark Skender. “This leadership realignment represents a natural evolution for our company and positions each of our unique businesses to be as strong as possible moving into the future.”

Mark Skender will direct the Skender Manufacturing leadership team of Pete Murray, president; Tim Swanson, chief design officer; and Stacy Scopano, chief technology officer. The leadership team will maintain a strong alliance with Skender Construction while operating as separate organizations for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Skender Tops Out on Six-story Women’s Shelter on Chicago’s North Side

Skender recently reached the final height on a new 36,000-SF, six-story supportive housing facility in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for Sarah’s Circle. This nonprofit organization serves women who are homeless or in need of a safe space by providing services such as food, clothing, shelter, housing and clinical services for domestic violence and trauma.

Located at the intersection of Sheridan and Leland, this steel and precast building will include a basement, 38 units for long-term housing and emergency overnight space for 50 nonpermanent beds. The shelter will also feature a food hall, walk-in commercial freezer and hot room.

Skender is working in collaboration with design firm Perkins+Will and owner’s representative Brinshore Development to successfully complete the project.

Skender Foundation Appoints Two New Board Members

Skender Foundation today announces the appointment of Monica Bomani and Kathleen St. Louis Caliento to its board of directors.

Monica Bomani serves as director of community giving & engagement at Assurant, where she manages social responsibility programs including global volunteer and community engagement initiatives, as well as manages charitable partnerships and oversees Assurant Foundation global grants. Monica has more than 18 years of experience in various nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate citizenship roles, including global community investment manager for McDonald’s Corporation and most recently global social responsibility manager at Abbott. Prior to her transition to the corporate sector, Monica held fundraising and grants management roles with the Oprah Winfrey Philanthropies, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the American Heart Association (Greater Midwest Affiliate). Monica holds a master’s degree in international public service management from DePaul University.

Kathleen St. Louis Caliento is the chief learning and design officer of the Academy Group. Previously, Kathleen held several leadership positions at Spark, including executive director in Chicago. Prior to Spark, Kathleen was chief program officer for Project Exploration, director of program investments for The Chicago Public Education Fund, and taught in New York City. She has spent two decades committed to urban education and student success. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy (2017), and a current Leadership Greater Chicago fellow (2020). A published author, she earned her doctorate and master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and graduated with a bachelor’s from SUNY Stony Brook.

As board members, Monica and Kathleen will help oversee the nonprofit business activities and build new partnerships. “Monica and Kathleen embody the spirit of philanthropy and bring talent, enthusiasm and expertise to the table,” said Skender Foundation Chair and President Cheryl Skender. “We are looking forward to leveraging their nonprofit experience and networks that will further guide us in our strategic growth and outreach.”

Skender Completes Construction on 60-unit Independent Senior Living Facility in Crystal Lake, IL

Skender recently completed construction on Residences of Crystal Lake, an affordable, independent senior living facility located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The 63,000-square-foot, 60-unit facility is owned by Turnstone Development, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that has developed over 1,680 affordable housing units for low-income families and seniors in Illinois and Florida since 1998.

The three-story, wood-frame facility features 48 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units, including six ADA-accessible units, 12 adaptable units and two sensory units. Residents also have access to a fitness area, theater room, community rooms, computer rooms, a gazebo and other outdoor spaces on approximately five acres of landscape and hardscape. This project is the largest multi-unit residential project in Crystal Lake in recent history.

Providing preconstruction and construction services, Skender broke ground on the project in May 2019, substantially completed it in February 2020, and it officially opened in April. Skender collaborated with architect UrbanWorks, civil engineer Groundwork and developers DKI and TH Associates. Residences of Crystal Lake is the most recent of 10 similar residences that Skender has built in the last five years as part of its award-winning multifamily residential practice.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of Mondelēz International HQ in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 90,000-square-foot headquarters of Mondelēz International, a global leader in snacking. Mondelēz is the anchor tenant in the new five-story building at 905 W. Fulton Street with private access to the building’s 5,000-square-foot roof terrace that was built out by Skender as part of the base-building scope.

The innovation-rich office space features a café/lobby open to the public with a coffee shop, bakery and Chocolatier, two connecting stairwells, outdoor roof gardens, dynamic company branding, open-office workstations, private offices and a wide range of conference rooms.

Skender collaborated with HPA, the design firm responsible for the project’s first-floor retail space component; design firm SCB which is designing Mondelēz’s office space; engineering consultant IMEG Corp.; and owner’s representative CBRE. Skender’s work continues to shape office, hotel and retail development in the popular Fulton Market corridor. Other Skender construction projects in the area include ground-up projects like 1100 W. Fulton Street and Hyatt House, as well as the corporate interior for Vital Proteins, Glassdoor and Aspen Dental.

Construction Tops Out at 1100 W. Fulton, a Five-Story, Single-Tenant, Mixed-Use, Commercial Building for Fulton St. Companies and Herman Miller

Skender recently reached the final height on a 45,000-square-foot five-story, single-tenant, mixed-use, commercial building at 1100 W. Fulton St. The office and retail project, when complete in December 2020, will consist of historical masonry preservation at the existing building along with a brand-new concrete structure that will have three-story and five-story sections.

The façade will be comprised of exterior glazing and masonry along with a usable roof deck. The existing building is landmarked by the City of Chicago, and Skender will be preserving the existing façade elements on its north, south and east sides. This core and shell building is being constructed for developer Fulton St. Companies and their tenant Herman Miller, a furniture company that provides modern home and office furniture options.

Herman Miller is relocating from its existing headquarters in the Merchandise Mart after an 80-year run to be the sole tenant in this build-to-suit project. Skender will also complete the interior build-out of the showroom and office space for Herman Miller, which will take place from May through December 2020.

Skender, serving as general contractor, is collaborating with architect Hartshorne Plunkard, CBRE, Fulton St. Companies and ConopCo Project Management to successfully complete the project on a tight site footprint and schedule by December 2020.

Skender Named One of Crain’s 2020 Best Places to Work in Chicago

Skender has been named one of Crain’s 2020 Best Places to Work in Chicago. The complete list of winners, in alphabetical order, is available here.

In partnership with Best Companies Group, Crain’s surveyed thousands of employees on the types of working conditions, benefits and corporate culture that make a company a great place to work. The awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the 100 best companies to work for in Chicago.

Winners were determined by the results of a weighted survey of employees and employers, conducted by Crain’s in partnership with Best Companies Group.

To be considered for participation, companies had to:

  • Be a publicly or privately held business
  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business, or government entity
  • Have a facility in the Chicago area (including the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake in Illinois, Lake in Indiana, McHenry or Will)
  • Have a minimum of 25 full-time or part-time employees working in Chicago
  • Have been in business a minimum of one year

Determining the Best Places to Work in Chicago involved a two-step process. The first step consisted of evaluating each participating company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of employee surveys aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. This part was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the best companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process and analyzed the data and used its expertise to determine the final ranking.

This is the fourth time in seven years that Skender has earned the Crain’s recognition; and makes nearly 30 best place to work awards (by multiple awarding bodies) in total over the last dozen years. Skender will be honored at the 2020 Best Places to Work in Chicago awards event on Friday, April 17 at the Hilton Chicago. The ranking of the 100 top employers will appear in the April 20 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of Paragon Biosciences’ New HQ

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed the interior renovation of the 23,000-square-foot headquarters for Paragon Biosciences LLC (Paragon), a fast-growing life science innovator that invests in, builds and advises bioscience companies. Paragon relocated to the 35th floor of 330 N. Wabash from its current office space in Northbrook, IL.

Paragon’s new technology-rich office space offers a wide range of amenities to support a highly collaborative and productive workplace. Key spaces include open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café. A drywall cloud component extends through much of the space and features branded signage mounted on the walls.

Skender collaborated with Gensler and CBRE to successfully complete the project.

 

Building More Sustainably: Assessing the Impacts of Suppliers, Materials, Recycling and Waste in Your Projects

There are countless different sustainability certifications, rankings and claims used by builders and suppliers – so how do clients and designers know which choices to make for their projects? Karin Miller and Jeff Frost of Brightworks Sustainability, a sustainability consulting firm, join us to talk about the impacts of our design and construction decisions on health and the environment.

Jeff and Karin together explore issues around waste, recycling, material selection, and what tools and resources have emerged to determine customer impacts and sustainability. They delve into what is at stake, and what an ideal future looks like in terms of sustainability and environmental impacts.

About Karin Miller

Karin Miller, LEED AP (BD+C, O+M, ND), LFA, WELL AP, Fitwel Ambassador, is a project manager at Brightworks Sustainability, a sustainability consulting firm that helps clients in over 25 industries establish and implement sustainability programs.

Tapping into ten years of experience in Chicago, Portland and New York, Karin Miller supports a full spectrum of sustainability project types, including sustainability strategy, research, certification coordination, materials management and educational curriculum development. Karin’s experience in the full life cycle of project development allows her to guide teams through the integration of sustainability strategies from the master plan phase to the design and construction of individual buildings – and see complex projects through to successful completion.

In addition to extensive experience managing green building certification programs, she brings a substantial background with healthy and sustainable materials consulting. Her instincts to seek out, observe, listen and learn from multiple perspectives equip her with skills necessary to facilitate discussions amongst stakeholders.

About Jeff Frost

Jeff Frost is a Project Manager at Brightworks Sustainability, a sustainability consulting firm that helps clients in over 25 industries establish and implement sustainability programs. He is recognized as a national subject matter expert on a wide array of material issues affecting the built environment.

Jeff is the co-founder of the mindful MATERIALS collaborative; an industry-led initiative making healthy and sustainable products selection easier for building professionals. He’s an invited member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Material Knowledge Working Group (MKWG); a group of industry professionals shaping the AIA’s approach to materials. Jeff’s a member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) and is co-chair of the Content Inventory Technical Sub-Group (TSG); tasked with developing the content and structure of the Health Product Declaration (HPD). He joined the USGBC’s MR TAG early in 2018; a group of elected professionals that develop and approve revisions and improvements to LEED.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of AbelsonTaylor’s New HQ in Old Post Office

Skender recently completed interior construction of the 85,000-square-foot headquarters for AbelsonTaylor, a Chicago-based health and wellness advertising agency and the fourth office tenant to lease space in the 2.8 million-square-foot Old Post Office building.

Located on the entire sixth floor of the north building and a portion of the fifth floor of the south building, the new space features private offices, open-office workstations, open-collaboration areas, conferencing, two café / social hubs, photography and editing rooms, storage and intermediate distribution frame (IDF) rooms. The floors are separated by just a few staircases, essentially functioning as a single office space spanning two floors.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with HED, Syska Hennessy Group and Cushman & Wakefield to successfully complete the project. Currently, Skender is the contractor for nearly 600,000 square feet of office space being constructed at the transforming Old Post Office, including projects for Walgreens and PepsiCo.

Chris Cable Joins Skender as Vice President of Preconstruction

Skender announced today that Christopher Cable, LEED AP, has joined the integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm as vice president of preconstruction. With 20 years of experience, Cable brings to Skender an impressive background in construction cost estimating, planning and procurement with expertise spanning 18 states and Canada.

“Chris has a sophisticated approach to estimating and is well-suited to address the unique and evolving needs of our developer clients,” said Afshan Barshan, executive vice president of Skender. “His experience advising and estimating on a wide range of ground-up project types will help us to continue providing world-class construction services to our clients.”

Cable joins Skender from Leopardo and has previously worked at Walsh and Skanska. He received a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and management from Purdue University.

Skender Launches Interior Construction of New 536,000-SF Bank of America Flagship Office

Skender recently started interior construction of the 536,000-square-foot office relocation for Bank of America’s (BofA) downtown Chicago offices. Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Relocating from its current Chicago location at 135 S. LaSalle, close to half of the downtown BofA employees will move to the Bank of America Tower at 110 N. Wacker, a new construction Class A+, 56-story high-rise. Encompassing 17 floors of the building, BofA’s new space will include private offices, open workstation areas, conference rooms, work cafes / pantries, support space and other modern workplace amenities. Unique features include a trading floor, a barista bar and market cafe and two dedicated outdoor terraces. In addition, the interior will include an internal monument staircase connecting a two-floor conference center / executive suite.

Serving as general contractor, Skender is collaborating with Interior Architects and JLL to complete the project with delivery beginning in Q4 of 2020.

Skender Begins Buildout for Upwork Expansion

Skender has started construction on a 34,000-square-foot expansion to Upwork’s current space at AEW Capital Management’s 525 W. Van Buren in the West Loop. The initial buildout of Upwork’s space for roughly half the 67,730 square feet it leased from AEW was completed in December 2018.

Read the full story at Connect Chicago.

Major Growth Expected for Prefabrication and Permanent Modular Construction, New Study Finds

Dodge Data & Analytics released the findings of a landmark study that provides a comprehensive examination of the current state and future expectations for prefabrication and modular construction. The Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020 SmartMarket Report was published with the support of Bradley Corp., the Modular Building Institute, Pinnacle Infotech, MCAA and Skender and takes a close look at critical drivers, obstacles and benefits of using these methods, based on insight from architects, engineers and contractors already leveraging them.

The report shows that architects, engineers and contractors that have used these methods plan to significantly increase their engagement with them, especially for healthcare facilities, hotels and motels, multifamily projects, and college buildings and dormitories, which are at the vanguard of the new wave of interest in these methods. Critical trends in the construction industry, such as shorter project schedules and workforce shortages, are several drivers of wider use of these methods, and technology – like building information modeling – is enabling increased use.

In order to better understand the critical drivers and obstacles for using these methods and the benefits achieved, the study focuses on the architects, engineers and contractors that are already using them.

When it comes to methods already in use, the study shows that:

  • Prefabricating single-trade assemblies (such as plumbing assemblies behind the wall in hospital rooms) is widely practiced, with 62% of respondents using prefabricated single-trade assemblies in the last three years.
  • 48% of those doing modular are using panelized modular components (such as wall or floor panels).
  • Use of each of these methods is also expected to increase in the next three years, with the percentage of those leveraging them on 10% or more of their projects nearly 15 points higher than present use.

However, most interesting growth is expected in practices less widely used now:

  • Prefabricated multi-trade assemblies, which involve the work of several trades combined together (such as a corridor rack in a hospital) will be used by 58% of those doing prefabrication in general—up dramatically from the 33% using this approach now.
  • Equally dramatic growth is seen among those doing modular construction in the use of full volumetric approach, in which entire parts of buildings (such as bathrooms or hotel and hospital rooms) are delivered preconstructed onsite and assembled together. A striking 61% expect to employ that method at least 10% of their projects in the next three years, up from just 44% of those doing modular construction who report using this method currently.

“It comes as no surprise to us that more developers and GCs plan to use modular construction over the next few years,” said Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of the Modular Building Institute. “The lack of adequate housing and the shortage of skilled labor, coupled with chronic cost and schedule overruns are leading more people towards this process.”

And when it comes to benefits of use:

  • About 90% report that they achieve improved productivity, improved quality and increased schedule certainty when using these methods compared to traditional stick-built construction.
  • 80% or more also report that they see improved cost predictability, reduced waste and increased client satisfaction.
  • Improved schedule performance, decreased construction costs and improved quality are also the top drivers for increasing their use of prefabrication and modular construction in the next three years.

“Dodge’s research clearly shows that prefabrication and modular construction are providing significant improvements and efficiencies, and charting a new course in our industry,” says Jon Dommisse, Director of Strategy and Corporate Development for Bradley Corp. “Throughout our almost 100 years, Bradley has kept a close eye on emerging trends that impact our business and customers. We appreciate the partnership with Dodge in helping us examine innovative opportunities to hone our business strategy.”

The use of building information modeling (BIM) is also tied to the experience of those benefits. Among those using BIM on the majority of their projects, 60% credit it with improving the schedule performance of their prefabricated or modular projects, and 50% with improving budget performance. “BIM improves the prefabrication and modular process by providing the means to accelerate the design early enough to take advantage of these approaches and then offering certainty during the entire process,” says Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights at Dodge Data and Analytics. “Having these tools helps enable the industry to invest more in the use of multi-trade assemblies and volumetric construction in particular, and may be contributing to the strong growth expected in these areas.”

The greatest growth in the use of these methods will be in building types in which they are already well established, such as healthcare facilities, hotels and motels, multifamily and college buildings and dormitories. However, a sizable percentage also expect low-rise offices, K-12 schools, public buildings and commercial warehouse to experience a high frequency of use of prefabrication or modular construction.

The Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020 SmartMarket Report is available for free download at https://www.construction.com/toolkit/reports/prefabrication-modular-construction-2020.

Skender’s Lisa Latronico Named One of Crain’s 2020 Notable Leaders in HR

Lisa Latronico, partner and vice president of people and culture at Skender, has been recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of the area’s “Notable Leaders in HR” for 2020. Editors at Crain’s selected and honored executive human resources leaders who have made a significant impact within the Chicago business community.

Latronico, who joined Skender in 2001 and has overseen the HR function since 2006, advocates for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as strong mentorship and talent management. According to the editorial feature in the February 3 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business, “Lisa Latronico has boosted the representation of women [at Skender] to 21 percent. That compares to 9.1 percent in the U.S. construction workforce, according to the National Association of Women in Construction.”

Under Latronico’s leadership, Skender has earned more than two dozen “best place to work” awards from three different awarding organizations.

“Lisa and her team are a driving force behind our culture and embody our core values of true partnership, refreshing and proactive,” said Mark Skender, CEO, Skender. “They inspire us all to go above and beyond and achieve excellence not just in our work, but in our relationships with one another.”

Skender Starts Interior Construction to Expand Upwork’s Chicago Office

Skender, serving as general contractor, has started construction on a 34,000-square-foot expansion to Upwork’s current space in Chicago, located at 525 W. Van Buren, which Skender originally built out and completed in December 2018.

Upwork, the leading online talent solution, has been rapidly expanding its presence locally since moving into its current space and is expected to grow its Chicago workforce to 346 employees by the end of 2020. This phase of construction incorporates an open-office concept for workstations with technology-rich meeting areas, an all-hands meeting space and café, server room, large training room and collaboration/breakout space. The expanded space will provide a day-one occupancy of up to 204 employees with infrastructure to expand to 250 workstations.

Skender is collaborating with architecture/engineering firm CannonDesign and tenant representative Cresa to complete the project by the end of April 2020.

Skender Advances Five to Senior Positions on Growing Operations Team

Underscoring its commitment to an award-winning employee culture that fosters talent and innovation, Skender is pleased to announce five key leaders have been promoted:

Clay Edwards to Executive Vice President and Partner. Since joining Skender in 2006, Edwards has managed millions of square feet of interior tenant improvement (TI) projects throughout Chicago. A client-centric and results-oriented leader, Clay is the head of Skender’s Tenant Improvement market and founder of the firm’s Construction Technology and Self Perform Groups. Clay’s expertise is integral to Skender’s business development efforts as he cultivates new and existing relationships, and his interior tenant improvement teams are consistently at the forefront of many of Chicago’s top tech, legal and corporate HQ projects. As an industry thought leader, Clay is frequently cited in commercial real estate news media outlets regarding tenant improvement interior construction topics and is often a featured speaker and writer on related trends. He holds a Bachelor of Science in construction engineering from Purdue University.

Andy Halik to Project Executive. Since joining the firm in 2011, Halik has led numerous interior construction teams on transformational buildouts in Fulton Market, Merchandise Mart and the Old Post Office. These include Google, Conagra Brands, Walgreens and others. Halik is recognized for fostering long-term client relationships in multiple market sectors. He earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Ashlee Pforr to Project Executive. Since joining the firm in 2010, Pforr has overseen numerous interior construction teams on award-winning buildouts, including HERE Technologies, Bank of America, SRAM, Echo Global Logistics, Cars.com, Hinshaw & Culbertson and others. Pforr is recognized for her mentorship and talent development. She earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Iowa State University.

Rob Shilney to Senior Project Manager. Since joining the firm in 2014, Shilney has been an instrumental leader on numerous buildouts for global clients in the technology sector, including Facebook, Glassdoor, Dentons, Morgan Stanley and others. He earned a Bachelor of Science in technical resource management and construction management from Southern Illinois University.

Al McReynolds to Senior Superintendent. McReynolds joined Skender in 2015 and has more than 20 years of industry experience. He has been an asset in ensuring the success of Skender’s field operations at Northwestern Medicine. He has served as superintendent for numerous high-profile buildouts at Northwestern Medicine and will continue to help lead Skender’s healthcare field operations teams.

“Each of these individuals embodies Skender’s core values of building proactive and positive partnerships with all clients,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “As we begin 2020 with bright prospects, Clay, Andy, Ashlee, Rob and Al will certainly contribute to our continued success.”

“Wild, Audacious Collaboration”: How Technology has Democratized Design and Where the Built Industries are Headed

How far have the architecture and construction technology fields come in the past decade, and where will these industries be in another decade?
As we close out a decade, Skender Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson and Chief Technology Officer Stacy Scopano sit down to discuss the past, present, and future of construction, design, and the technology that supports those industries. Tim and Stacy delve into how technology has democratized the design industry, and predict what lies on the horizon in terms of “wild, audacious collaboration.”

About Tim Swanson
Chief Design Officer
Tim leads Skender’s team of architects and designers—bringing his passion for integrating the design and construction process to the firm’s clients. In his former position of Chicago office director at CannonDesign, he was the youngest office leader in the history of the century-old firm. Throughout his decade there, Tim oversaw a team of more than 200 architecture, engineering, and planning experts. He also led its City Design practice, a national group focused on helping cities around the world grow and prosper. Having lived in Abu Dhabi, rural India and major American cities like New York and Chicago, Tim brings a unique, global perspective to his design work. He is an advocate for smart growth and sustainable development, working with leaders at the intersection of urban planning, public health, and education. Tim earned a Master of Architecture with a specialization in urban development and infill from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and undergraduate degrees in fine arts and economics from Colgate University.

About Stacy Scopano
Chief Technology Officer
Stacy ensures that Skender is continually evolving its technological capabilities and integrating industry-leading innovations across the company. His experience includes a broad spectrum of technologies used by real estate, architecture, engineering and construction industries. Most recently, Stacy was vice president of innovation at Skanska USA, a subsidiary of the multinational construction and development firm. Previously, he was the senior strategist for building construction at Autodesk, Inc., where he partnered with the global construction community to identify, develop and deliver innovative digital workflows. Stacy has served as a past chairman of technology for the AGC BIMForum. Currently he is a member of the Social and Economic Policy Advisory Board for the RAND Corporation, an international research organization that develops policy solutions to make communities safer, healthier and more prosperous. He holds a degree in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Skender Begins AbelsonTaylor’s Chicago HQ

Skender has started interior construction for AbelsonTaylor at their new headquarters within the Old Post Office building in Chicago. The health and wellness advertising agency plans to move from its current space at 33 W. Monroe St. to the 85,000-square-foot office at 433 W. Van Buren St. by March 2020. The company closed the lease at the beginning of this year in a deal arranged by Cushman & Wakefield. To bring the project to fruition, Skender partnered with HED, Syska Hennessy Group and Cushman & Wakefield.

Skender Starts Interior Construction of AbelsonTaylor’s New HQ in Iconic Old Post Office

Skender recently started interior construction of the 85,000-square-foot headquarters for AbelsonTaylor, a Chicago-based health and wellness advertising agency and the fourth office tenant to lease space in the 2.8 million-square-foot Old Post Office building.

AbelsonTaylor is relocating from its current offices at 33 W. Monroe St. to accommodate growth while reducing overall space. Located on the entire sixth floor of the north building and a portion of the fifth floor of the south building, the new facility will accommodate private offices, workstations, an open collaboration area, conferencing, a break room, storage and intermediate distribution frame (IDF) rooms. The floors will be separated by just a few staircases, essentially functioning as a single office space spanning two floors.

Serving as general contractor, Skender is working in collaboration with HED, Syska Hennessy Group and Cushman & Wakefield to complete the project by March 2020. Currently, Skender is the contractor for nearly 500,000 square feet of office space being constructed at the transforming Old Post Office, including projects for Walgreens and PepsiCo.

Modular Builder of the Year: Skender

Modular building, or the practice of constructing components in a factory through controlled manufacturing techniques and assembling them on the site, offers a lot of low-hanging fruit to the construction industry. It keeps workers away from perilous jobsite elements, allows for more efficiency and autonomy, reduces waste and cuts down on project time.

But offsite is not just an interesting proposition anymore.

Instead, it’s a way for the construction industry to self-actualize, according to Skender.

It’s the only way for the entire building process to be completely vertically integrated, allowing for the most advanced, efficient delivery of a structure from start to finish, the firm says, adding to a sentiment McKinsey & Co​. may have said best in a report on the market this year: Modular construction transforms the practice from project-based to product-based.

Chicago-based Skender, a traditional construction firm for 64 years that’s now primarily known as a modular builder, says it’s on the cusp of a proposition that is as efficient a business model as the industry can imagine. And it’s ready to scale, with a “brilliant pipeline that’s validating its strategy,” according to Chief Technical Officer Stacy Scopano.

Skender Named U.S. ‘Modular Builder of the Year’ by Construction Dive

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm, has been named America’s “Modular Builder of the Year” by Construction Dive, a leading industry news publisher.

Skender’s pioneering turnkey, steel modular solutions allow it to deliver high-quality, scalable building projects in multifamily, hospitality and healthcare. Leveraging industry-leading Lean expertise, Skender opened its 105,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility in Chicago in May 2019 with a commitment to delivering world-class modular projects that achieve tangible schedule, quality, environmental, safety, social and cost benefits.

“Modular’s exemplaries such as Skender, a 64-year-old conventional builder at its core, are looking at the method of assembling 90%-complete buildings offsite as a way to solve fundamental societal challenges one module at a time,” Construction Dive Editor Joe Beeton recently wrote. “From Construction Dive’s point of view, Skender offers the most promising model, heritage and leadership for modular’s next big step, and has gone out on a limb to recognize the firm’s potential,” Beeton added in his award announcement.

“We are truly honored to be selected by Construction Dive as Modular Builder of the Year,” said Mark Skender, CEO, Skender. “We believe modular building is an important construction delivery method of the future that will revolutionize the way the building industry and developers bring new buildings of all kinds to American communities.”

The 2019 Dive Awards recognize the industry’s top disruptors and innovators. These executives, companies, trends and breakthroughs are transforming the industry. Winners were chosen by the editors of Construction Dive based on thorough and independent research, reporting, and analysis.

“The people and organizations that win the Dive Awards are trailblazers and leaders in their markets,” said Davide Savenije, editor-in-chief of Construction Dive’s publisher Industry Dive. “Their achievements in 2019 are shaping the future of where the latest strategies and trends are going.”

Read the full Construction Dive story

 

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. Headquartered in Chicago, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

About Construction Dive

Construction Dive provides in-depth journalism and insight into the most impactful news and trends shaping the construction and building industry. The daily email newsletter and website cover topics such as commercial building, residential building, green building, design, deals, regulations and more. Construction Dive is a leading industry publication operated by Industry Dive. Our business journalists spark ideas and shape agendas for 7+ million decision makers in the most competitive industries.

Skender Director of Residential Design Named to Chicago Power Women & Rising Stars List

Skender Director of Residential Design Angela Spadoni, AIA was recently named to Bisnow’s Chicago Power Women & Rising Stars list as an honoree. With more than 10 years of international and domestic experience, Spadoni has an impressive background in multifamily, condominium, retail and mixed-use high-rise design. At Skender, Spadoni oversees multifamily design projects, including the design of housing modules produced in Skender’s new Chicago manufacturing facility.

Sponsored by Bisnow, this annual initiative aims to shine a light on women making a big impact on the commercial real estate industry. This year, Bisnow is honoring both leading power women and ‘rising stars’ in the community. Rising stars are women who are early on (under 20 years) into their careers who have been identified as the next generation of leaders in Chicago commercial real estate.

A celebratory event will be held this Wednesday, December 4 at 325 W. Huron Street. For more information, visit https://www.bisnow.com/events/chicago/chicago-power-women-rising-stars-2672.

Modular Monitor: Why does offsite construction matter?

Hype for modular construction has hit a level of ubiquity.

It seems like every month another prefabricated hotel tops out at a record height for the delivery model, or a city official lauds the practice as the panacea for affordable housing — and the labor pinch —​ or a new offsite-based startup follows Katerra in stacking up investment funds.

But for every modular-related headline, there’s a project supervisor barking safety orders at a crew on a cold jobsite who is thinking of modular as niche and questioning the impact it has on the industry as a whole.

In other words, she’s asking, “Why would modular matter to me?”

This new column sets out to answer that, putting in place one deep-dive installment every month to create a comprehensive overview of where the business model is (and isn’t) making inroads, what opportunities are on the horizon and how much your business stands to be disrupted.

To start, here’s an overview on where modular fits in the industry now.

Modifying old traditions

“There’s a deep, historic industry that has called itself modular,” Timothy Swanson, chief design officer of Skender, told Construction Dive. The idea typically conjures up images of double-wide trailers carrying a single-family mobile home, Bob Vila’s do-it-yourself kits, portable classroom modules and other relatively simple, one-piece structures.

Skender’s Healthcare Portfolio Growing as Firm Completes Several Projects for Major Chicago Health Systems

Skender’s healthcare team has won construction management assignments for several projects throughout Chicago. Among the projects recently started or completed:

  • Major West Suburban Hospital (Maywood, Illinois) – Two 1,500-square-foot build-outs of pharmaceutical retail locations featuring high-end millwork finishes, added security and infrastructure.
  • North Suburban Hospital (Skokie, Illinois) – 12,000-square-foot build-out on the second floor of a medical office building for which Skender previously completed the basement, first- and third-floor build-outs. Features two practices with 25 exam rooms and three care team stations.
  • North Suburban Hospital Loading Dock Expansion (Evanston, Illinois) – While keeping the hospital’s only loading dock operational, Skender installed precast paneling to expand the enclosure to the edge of the dock bay. The project included five new coiling doors. Up front planning, coordination and communication were key to this project’s success.
  • West Suburban Pediatric Rehabilitation Outpatient Clinic Renovation (Wheaton, Illinois) – 8,000-square-foot build-out that includes the renovation of existing office space, treatment rooms and sensory rooms dedicated to helping children overcome disabilities.
  • West Suburban Rehabilitation Hospital (Wheaton, Illinois) – Phased millwork replacement and refresh of finishes for three floors. Met a tight schedule to turnover each 3,000-square-foot gym in three weeks.
  • Downtown Hospital MRI and CT Room (Streeterville, Chicago) – High profile build-outs to add two MRI rooms and a CT room that required facilitating the transportation of the MRI machines through a roof hatch using a crane pick. Each imaging room is 800-square-feet and features state-of-the-art imaging technology.

Skender’s team has successfully completed renovation and new construction work for other healthcare clients with a strong Midwest presence, including Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Esperanza Health Centers, University of Chicago Medicine and Rush University Medical Center.

Fearless and Fully Committed: How to Grow, Advance Your Career, and Enact Real Change in Your Work

Dr. Suzet McKinney, the CEO and Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District (IMD), and Jenny Han, Skender’s Director of Healthcare Design, continue their conversation from Future Built Episode 5 with a focus on career growth, ambition, and mentorship. In her work with the IMD, one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States, and West Side United, a collaboration working to build community health and economic wellness on Chicago’s West Side, Suzet follows the mantra “Go big or go home.”

Tune in to hear the advice Suzet and Jenny give to young women that is applicable to anyone looking to achieve more in their work and advance professionally. And listen through to the end for Suzet’s answer to the question on many people’s minds: Will she ever run for office?

 

About Suzet McKinney

Dr. Suzet M. McKinney currently serves as CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. She is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), where she oversaw the emergency preparedness efforts for the Department and coordinated those efforts within the larger spectrum of the City of Chicago’s Public Safety activities, in addition to overseeing the Department’s Division of Women and Children’s Health.

Dr. McKinney has earned a reputation as an experienced, knowledgeable public health official with exceptional communication skills. She has served as an on-camera media expert on emergency issues including biological and chemical threats, natural disasters, pandemic influenza, and climate-related emergencies. A sought-after expert in her field, she has also provided support to the U.S. Department of Defense’s, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, lending subject matter expertise in biological terrorism preparedness to the country of Poland.

Dr. McKinney serves on the Board of Directors for Susan G. Komen Chicago, Thresholds, and the African-American Legacy of the Chicago Community Trust. Dr. McKinney is Co-Chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), Health and Medicine Division’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies and is a member of the NASEM Board on Health Sciences Policy. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC).

In academia, Dr. McKinney serves as an Instructor in the Division of Translational Policy and Leadership Development at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for the Biomedical Sciences Careers Project, also at Harvard University. She is the co-author of the text: Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Practical Solutions for the Real World (2018), and was named one of Chicago’s Notable Women in Healthcare (2018 and 2019).

Dr. McKinney holds her Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She received her Master of Public Health degree (Health Care Administration) and certificates in Managed Care and Health Care Administration from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.

Pilsen Nonprofit’s $20 Million Affordable Housing Development Approved By City Committee

A Pilsen nonprofit’s plan to build a $20 million affordable housing development in the neighborhood was approved by a key city committee Tuesday.

The city’s Committee on Zoning unanimously approved the Resurrection Project’s plans to build a five-story affordable housing building at 1850 S. Racine Ave. The Skender-designed building will include 37 apartments, 31 parking spaces and a ground floor amenity space for residents.

Chili Cook-Off 2019

It’s that time of year we all look forward to, the annual Skender Chili Cook-off! We had seven contestants enter with Tim Rogers taking the title for the fourth year in a row! Only 364 days till the next Chili Day!

VIM and Skender partner to provide pre-manufacturing visualization of modular building solutions

VIM, a virtual information modeling firm providing the most efficient 3D format for building design data, and Skender, a pioneer of Lean construction and modular manufacturing, announced a partnership to implement VIM’s software in Skender’s Chicago modular manufacturing facility.

VIM’s platform, which provides 3D, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) building models, will help Skender clients visualize their modular buildings and make informed design decisions before manufacturing and construction begins.

“This is a breakthrough in digital collaboration and communication,” said Stacy Scopano, chief technology officer, Skender. “VIM gives Skender clients and integrated project teams an important lens to see what is possible through modular building. It helps them understand their complete palette of design options, including materials, finishes and systems. It also provides critical context, helping clients experience their building on the city street where it will be built. This is a powerful tool to inform early decision-making and maximize value.”

VIM and Skender Partner to Provide Pre-Manufacturing Visualization of Modular Building Solutions

ATLANTA (November 14, 2019) – VIM, a virtual information modeling firm providing the most efficient 3D format for building design data, and Skender, a pioneer of Lean construction and modular manufacturing, announce today a partnership to implement VIM’s software in Skender’s modular manufacturing facility. VIM’s platform, which provides 3D, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) building models, will help Skender clients visualize their modular buildings and make informed design decisions before manufacturing and construction begins.

“This is a breakthrough in digital collaboration and communication,” said Stacy Scopano, CTO at Skender. “VIM gives Skender clients and integrated project teams an important lens to see what is possible through modular building. It helps them understand their complete palette of design options, including materials, finishes and systems. It also provides critical context, helping clients experience their building on the city street where it will be built. This is a powerful tool to inform early decision-making and maximize value.”

“Today, the industry approaches each project as a custom consortium, where designers, builders, vendors and suppliers come together, many for the first time, to deliver on an owner’s vision,” said Joel Pennington, VIM’s Head of Product. “Along the way, typical implementation challenges are addressed by diluting design integrity, sustainability features and material quality. It’s an age-old scenario that is radically changing as VIM’s approach to better, more sustainable designs joins forces with Skender’s breakthroughs in high-quality, super-efficient modular construction.”

Where it’s working
In the face of unprecedented demand for affordable housing and increasing construction labor shortages, Skender’s modular solutions provide significant schedule reductions and quality gains for multifamily projects, as well as healthcare and hospitality. In Skender’s upcoming Chicago projects, multifamily housing modules will leave the factory 95% complete. Once on-site, apartment modules will be stacked together with a bolt-and-pin system and additional welding. Stone accents and brick claddings can be added to help the building blend into the specific neighborhood, bringing the project in at least 40% faster than that of a traditional model.

“VIM’s advances in mixed reality, connectivity, compute power and data management are helping Skender merge digital and physical worlds into a single, blended and seamless working environment to realize the promise of modular construction,” said Christopher Diggins, Head of Research at VIM. “By migrating many building processes to a factory model, all supported by VIM’s parametric technology, Skender can achieve standardization and continuous optimization.” Both VIM and Skender are hiring additional professionals as they prepare for increased demand.

“The synergies of VIM and Skender pay off when high-end specifications intersect with repeatable work, dispelling the misconception that a modular approach sacrifices quality,” said Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer, Skender. “We recently unveiled a smart apartment prototype that surprised visitors with its luxury features and finishes. By front-ending the effort with VIM’s 3D software, we will also preserve higher levels of light, oxygen, circulation and safety. One of the reasons the VIM/Skender alliance works so well is the common vision of both organizations to deliver better buildings without compromising our increasingly fragile environment.”

See the synergies live: Autodesk University
Owners, designers, and builders are invited to learn more by visiting VIM’s booth (AE220) at Autodesk University Expo, November 19-21 in Las Vegas (sign up for VIM demonstrations here).

Also, at the Autodesk University preconference on November 18, Stacy Scopano, Chief Technology Officer at Skender, will present “PIVOT: A Legacy Builder Relaunches as a Design, Manufacturing, and Construction Firm.”

For more information and a full schedule, visit https://www.autodesk.com/autodesk-university/conference/las-vegas/overview.

# # #

About VIM
VIM provides the universal format for fast BIM access, enabling construction industry professionals to visualize, construct and operate better buildings. By migrating the parametric data code into compelling real-time experiences VIM unlocks large, complex BIM implementations into accessible, game-ready content. By removing the artificial barriers between AEC disciplines, VIM enables teams to deliver and sustain a building’s design intent, from its originally approved conception to its ongoing operation – for years to come. By combining our decades old expertise in business, art and science, VIM pioneered the industry’s rallying cry to assure a better future for our planet’s population.

About Skender
Skender integrates design, construction, and manufacturing in its 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chicago. Using its unique model, Skender delivers predictable, quality construction outcomes along with reduced time and money through its modular construction techniques which it has applied to various healthcare, hotel and apartment projects. As a leading pioneer of Chicago’s Lean construction movement, Skender is a founding member of the Lean Construction Institute’s Chicago Community of Practice. Skender has been delivering its unique brand promise through its team of more than 300 industry experts for more than 60 years.

Media Contact
Alexa Wolford
pressrelease@vimaec.com
(404) 702.9199

The value catalyst for building advantage

Isn’t it interesting when we talk about getting more out of something we say we need to ‘extract’ value? It’s a bit of an oxymoron when what we’re trying to do is infuse value into our work, our processes and our products and ultimately deliver it to our customers.

The practice of value engineering has traditionally equated value with cutting costs, making it cheaper, reducing the investment needed to complete a project. The concept of lean construction on the other hand pits value as the opposite of waste, not expense. It speaks to a proactive process of redefining what waste is – throughout the construction process – in planning, design, and build.

Eighth Annual Harvesting Hope Raises $43,000 for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Comprised of philanthropic-minded professionals, Builders’ Board of Skender Foundation hosted its annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser on October 17 at Venue West. This year’s charity partner and beneficiary was Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH). More than 300 people attended the event and raised $43,000 for CCH.

Founded in 1980, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is the only nonprofit in Illinois dedicated to advocating for public policies that curb and can ultimately end homelessness. CCH leads strategic campaigns, community outreach and public policy initiatives that target the lack of affordable housing in metropolitan Chicago and across Illinois. In addition, CCH presses for access to jobs, training and public schools.

“Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is honored to have been chosen as the beneficiary for this year’s Harvesting Hope fundraiser. We are so grateful for the incredible partnership of the Builders’ Board and all the work they did to make the event such a success. Funds raised will support our Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic, which reaches more than 4,000 homeless youth and students each year. Thanks to you, CCH will be able to help even more homeless young people access shelter, healthcare, education and legal ID records,” said Beth Malik, Lead Youth Futures Attorney at Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

“We are beyond thrilled with the outcome of this year’s Harvesting Hope event,” said Skender Foundation Executive Director, Belinda Moore. “It is an honor to support Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in such an impactful way and bring recognition and awareness to the important work that they do in our city. Many thanks to attendees, sponsors and silent auction donors for their generous contributions. Without their help, we couldn’t help local charities that promote health, wellness and education.”

In previous years, Harvesting Hope highlighted Purple Asparagus, Snow City Arts, Embarc Chicago, Foundations of Music, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Emergency Needs Fund, Common Threads and Urban Initiatives.

Creating a Contemporary, Collaborative Place for HERE Technologies’ Future

When a company builds location technologies, it only makes sense for its office locations to represent the company culture. In 2018, HERE Technologies, or just “HERE” – a global leader in mapping and location intelligence, autonomous driving and “smart city” technology – needed to bring two offices together to create a new Americas headquarters.

After negotiating a lease extension at 425 West Randolph Street in the Chicago Loop, the company called upon three other pioneering Chicago companies to help: Gensler Design, to visualize the transformation; Skender, to build it and bring the new headquarters to life; and JLL, to provide guidance and overall project management.

It’s a given that innovative firms such as tech companies offer their employees modern and exciting offices. These spaces are designed to convey brands, inspire people, and become a physical representation of the firm’s forward-thinking business model. What isn’t a given is the time, money, design skill and technical knowledge it takes to achieve these offices.

For the HERE project, two particular challenges confronted the design and construction teams:

  1. balancing the investment in the space in a way that maximized the benefit to employees, and
  2. minimizing workforce disruption while enhancing productivity. The final design had to reflect the company’s vision, brand, and history of innovation, while also bringing together employees from across multiple departments.

HERE leadership chose to expand its presence at 425 West Randolph, making room for employees from another Chicago location to unify in one headquarters. The project’s aim was to reuse or repurpose existing elements and cohesively integrate the company’s new branding elements across all floors.

Extensive interviews of key HERE stakeholders were conducted to best understand ways of working; the understanding formed the basis for the design plan.

For 10 months, the eight floors comprising the HERE office were transformed into a contemporary environment, including space for more than 1,400 employees in an open-floorplan seating arrangement that facilitates better and faster collaboration.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of Coworking Brand “Spaces” for IWG

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 8-story, 80,000-square-foot Spaces location, a pioneer in creative, flexible workspaces, owned by IWG. Spaces has assumed occupancy of the former Sports Authority building at LaSalle and Ontario and, as sole tenant, will enjoy private access to the building’s roof terrace also renovated as part of Skender’s scope.

At its new location, Spaces can provide workspace access to over 500 business professionals from companies of all sizes. Workers can enjoy desk space to meet any business need from private desks to collaborative business lounges to secure conference rooms. The technology-rich office space provides a wide range of amenities to foster community, creativity and growth, while retaining elements from the original building like the exposed brick throughout and high, open ceilings. Key gathering areas include a gym space, large reception area and conference rooms of varying size.

Skender collaborated with an Atlanta-based group of architects at Nelson Companies, Loring Engineers out of North Carolina, local owner’s representative Himes Associates and Spaces Brand owner IWG to complete the project for an October 1 move-in date.

“As we continue to grow our Spaces brand, we are always on the lookout for metros that have a solid demand for flexible workspace,” said Michael Berretta, VP of Network Development of IWG, owner of Spaces. “We see Chicago as a city that is hungry for co-working options and we’re excited to set up our HQ at such an iconic location in River North.”

This will be Spaces’ third location in Chicago to go along with Spaces Chicago, Fulton Market and Spaces Chicago, Near North Side. Parent company IWG also has a strong presence in the area, operating under its Regus brand.

Inside the Builders Board: How and why the Skender Foundation’s junior board supports the community

What is the Builders Board, why does it exist, and how can you get involved? Tune in to hear from two Builders Board co-chairs about this impactful and inclusive organization. Listen through for a surprise interview with Beth Malik, Associate Director of the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Each year, the Builder’s Board selects a local Chicago organization as its fundraising focus, and this year Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is the focus organization. Learn more about the organization, the vital work it does in the Chicagoland community, and how you can come out and support by attending this year’s fundraising event, Harvesting Hope.

Click here to purchase your ticket for Harvesting Hope on October 17!  

About Beth Cunningham Malik
Elizabeth (Beth) Malik is an attorney and the Associate Director of the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Prior to becoming Associate Director in 2015, she worked as the Youth Futures attorney, a role she has held since joining the CCH staff in 2007. A 2005 graduate of University of Denver Law School, she previously worked 18 months at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center. She earned a bachelor’s in English and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2010, Ms. Malik was honored with the Kimball R. Anderson and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship, a significant honor awarded by the Chicago Bar Foundation. Beth continues to coordinate CCH’s Youth Futures Mobile Legal Clinic, which provides civil legal services to over 400 homeless youth throughout metro Chicago.

About Lili Silva
Lili Silva is a co-chair of the Builders Board for the first time this year. She served as silent auction co-chair in 2018, where she surpassed all previous years’ fundraising goals. Lili loves giving back and seeing what an impact the Builder’s Board can make towards deserving organizations in the Chicago area. Lili works as a senior project coordinator at Skender, where she has worked for two years.

About Colin Malone
Colin has been a member of the Builders Board for the last 3 years and co-chair for the last 2 years. He joined the Board in hopes of providing a helping hand to the organizations that the Builders Board sponsors with their Annual Harvesting Hope event. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and from a professional perspective he has been in Technology for 15 years and is currently a VP of Sales for Windstream, a Fortune 500 Manager Services Provider.

Skender Launches Construction of New Mondelēz International HQ in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, has launched interior construction of the future 90,000-square-foot headquarters of Mondelēz International, a global leader in snacking. Mondelēz will serve as the anchor tenant in the new five-story building at 905 W. Fulton Street, and enjoy private access to the building’s 5,000-square-foot roof terrace built out by Skender as part of the base building scope.

Mondelēz is relocating 400 employees to the rapidly developing Fulton Market District from its current corporate global headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, as part of its new, dynamic and more consumer-centric growth culture. The HQ expansion will also include Enjoy Life Foods, a snacking company focused on ‘free-from’ snacks, acquired by Mondelēz in 2015 and currently based in Schiller Park, Illinois.

The innovation-rich office space will offer a wide range of amenities to support a highly collaborative and productive workplace. Key spaces include open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, a large reception area, a warming pantry, a large café and two separate communicating staircases.

Skender is collaborating with HPA, the design firm responsible for the project’s first-floor retail space component; design firm SCB which is designing Mondelēz’s office space; and owner’s representative CBRE to complete the project by April 2020. Skender’s work continues to shape office, hotel and retail development in the popular Fulton Market corridor. Recent Skender construction projects in the area include the new Vital Proteins headquarters, Hyatt House hotel and Aspen Dental’s Midwest headquarters.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. Headquartered in Chicago, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

About Mondelēz

Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) empowers people to snack right in over 150 countries around the world. With 2018 net revenues of approximately $26 billion, MDLZ is leading the future of snacking with iconic global and local brands such as Oreo, belVita and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com or follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDLZ

“Safe, secure and part of a community”: How local nonprofit Sarah’s Circle is using built space to serve women who are homeless

On any given night in Chicago, there are more than 2,000 women who are homeless. Sarah’s Circle is a nonprofit organization located in Chicago’s Uptown community with a mission of serving women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. Sarah’s Circle currently has a Daytime Support Center open to any woman in need, a 50-bed interim housing (shelter) program for women who are currently homeless, and permanent supportive housing for women who have a disabling condition and have been chronically homeless. The organization is in the process of constructing a new building to house their programs and operations, with Skender serving as the general contractor for the project.

Skender has broken ground on the new, 42,000-SF supportive housing facility in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for Sarah’s Circle. Located at the intersection of Sheridan and Leland, the six-story steel and precast building will include a basement, 38 units for long-term housing and emergency overnight space for 50 nonpermanent beds. The shelter will also feature a food hall, walk-in commercial freezer and hot room.

Executive Director Kathy Ragnar sits down with Senior Project Manager Sean Moran, who is coordinating the Sarah’s Circle construction project, to talk about the project, the organization and why this project matters so much to the women of Chicago.

Click here to learn more about Skender’s in-progress project with Sarah’s Circle.

 

About Kathy Ragnar

Kathy Ragnar, MBA is the Executive Director of Sarah’s Circle. Kathy received her Bachelor of Science in Economics and MBA in Finance and Economics from DePaul University. She joined Sarah’s Circle in October 2006 as Executive Director. Prior to her position with Sarah’s Circle, Kathy served as the Executive Director of Infant Welfare in Evanston where she worked to renovate the agency’s facilities and expand programming for women and children residing in shelters. Kathy started her career in banking with Northern Trust. After Northern Trust, she moved to Price Waterhouse as a manager in the financial services consulting group.

Skender Manufacturing Adds New VP

After delivering a new office for LinkedIn, Skender has added Michael Merle as vice president of business development for its Manufacturing division. Merle will oversee the manufacturing’s business development efforts—in particular in the hospitality sector—as well as showcasing the operations of the company’s manufacturing facility where the production of modular building components, including smart apartment units and health-care pods, are being made.

Skender Manufacturing Hires Michael Merle as Vice President of Business Development

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm based in Chicago, today announced it has hired Michael Merle as vice president of business development for Skender Manufacturing. With more than 25 years of experience in construction, building products and strategic business development, Merle will be charged with continually evolving and promoting Skender’s modular capabilities, in particular across the hospitality sector.

Merle’s new role will include oversight of the advanced manufacturing’s business development efforts and showcasing the operations of Skender’s manufacturing facility, where production of modular building components, including smart apartment units and healthcare pods, is currently underway.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michael to our growing manufacturing team. He brings to Skender significant experience in the hospitality sector and a strong passion for driving modular solutions in the building industry,” said Pete Murray, President of Skender Manufacturing. “As we continue to grow our practice, Michael’s solution-oriented approach to revolutionizing the hospitality building process through modular will prove invaluable to our business development efforts.”

Most recently, Merle served as vice president of business development at Guerdon Modular Buildings, a systems-built, off-site producer of large modular construction projects and modular multifamily housing, based in its office in Boise, Idaho. There, he headed up the business development team, leading and growing its hospitality initiative while driving acceptance of Guerdon’s modular solution across all engaged markets. Merle holds a degree in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University with concentrations in marketing and economics.

“I’m excited to join the Skender Manufacturing team and ready to build on the team’s strong launch into the modular space. Skender’s initiative and strategy to bring a vertically integrated model into the hospitality industry will be very well received and provide huge benefit to this segment,” said Merle. “Skender and I share the vision that the modular solution is effectively transforming the commercial construction industry, making it safer and more cost efficient while driving quality and speed to market.”

LinkedIn – Interior Expansion

Well this is awkward. Sorry to post about LinkedIn on YouTube, but check out our latest project and the employee-focused features at the expanded LinkedIn Chicago HQ, in collaboration with Gensler, ESD Global and Avison Young.

Skender Breaks Ground on Supportive Housing in Uptown

Skender has broken ground on a new 42,000-square-foot supportive housing facility for women in the North Side’s Uptown neighborhood. The construction management firm is working in collaboration with design firm Perkins+Will and owner’s representative Brinshore Development to complete the project in 14 months on behalf of nonprofit Sarah’s Circle.

Skender Breaks Ground on New Women’s Shelter on Chicago’s North Side

Skender has broken ground on a new 42,000-SF supportive housing facility in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood for Sarah’s Circle. This nonprofit organization serves women who are homeless or in need of a safe space by providing services such as food, clothing, shelter, housing and clinical services for domestic violence and trauma.

Located at the intersection of Sheridan and Leland, the six-story steel and precast building will include a basement, 38 units for long-term housing and emergency overnight space for 50 nonpermanent beds. The shelter will also feature a food hall, walk-in commercial freezer and hot room. During demolition of the property’s existing building, old materials were preserved for reinstallation in the new structure, including marble for the stairs, timber and terracotta pieces with facial designs that preserve the old neighborhood aesthetic.

Skender is working in collaboration with design firm Perkins+Will and owner’s representative Brinshore Development to successfully complete the project in 14 months.

Skender completes construction of LinkedIn Chicago HQ expansion

Skender, serving as interior construction manager, has completed construction of LinkedIn’s new 46,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters expansion project at 525 W. Monroe Street. LinkedIn, a global business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps, expanded its office footprint with a communicating stair connecting the existing space to two floors and various other new elements.

Skender Completes Construction of LinkedIn Chicago Headquarters Expansion

Skender, serving as interior construction manager, has completed construction of LinkedIn’s new 46,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters expansion project at 525 W. Monroe. LinkedIn, a global business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps, expanded its office footprint with a communicating stair connecting the existing space to two floors and various other new elements.

To accommodate an expanding workforce, LinkedIn added numerous employee-focused features to its new office space, including large open collaborations areas, all open benching workstations, a salon, mother’s room and faith room, unique rhythm-based graphics and millwork on the sixth floor. The new fifth floor amenity space consists of a garden lounge, game room and fully equipped music room.

Skender collaborated with Gensler, ESD Global and Avison Young to complete the LEED CI v4 Gold Certified project in June 2019.

Skender starts interior construction of Paragon HQ

Skender recently launched the interior renovation of the future 23,000-square-foot headquarters for Paragon Biosciences LLC, a life science innovator that invests in, builds and advises bioscience companies.

Paragon will be relocating to the 35th floor of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed 330 N. Wabash from its current office space in Northbrook.

Continuing Education: Modular Construction

For generations, prefabricated housing has had a bad rap. Visions of ticky-tacky buildings in identical rows with no connection to context pushed modular construction to the fringe. But with global population increasing, the middle class rapidly expanding, and household size shrinking, some 2 billion new homes will be needed by the end of the century. That far outstrips what current construction methods can supply.

Skender Starts Interior Construction of Paragon Biosciences’ New HQ

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently launched the interior renovation of the future 23,000-square-foot headquarters for Paragon Biosciences LLC (Paragon), a fast-growing life science innovator that invests in, builds and advises bioscience companies. Paragon will be relocating to the 35th floor of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed 330 N. Wabash from its current office space in Northbrook, IL.

Paragon’s new technology-rich office space will offer a wide range of amenities to support a highly collaborative and productive workplace. Key spaces include open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café. A drywall cloud component will extend through much of the space and be featured in branded signage mounted on the walls. Additionally, the reception and café areas will feature large format tile.

“An Innovation Center for new portfolio companies will be a key feature of our expanded headquarters,” said Jeff Aronin, Paragon’s Chairman and CEO. “Shared workspace in the Innovation Center will enable the independent leadership teams of incubating portfolio companies to directly access advisory services from Paragon’s experts in R&D, advanced sciences, clinical operations, and regulatory affairs.”

Skender is collaborating with Gensler and CBRE to complete the project in Fall 2019.

Skender Pursues a Mission to Boost Its Modular Capabilities

On a hot day in early June, Peter Murray and Stacy Scopano discussed how to set up a modular apartment production line at Skender’s 105,560-sq-ft manufacturing facility on Chicago’s southwest side.

“We’re playing with it at this point,” Murray, Skender’s president of manufacturing, said back then. Murray has nearly 30 years of experience in both modular building and medical-device manufacturing.

“It’s fast. [Conduit and piping] come pre-bent, and we’re building this line over and over again and refining our process. As we fine-tune our process, our suppliers can fine-tune their processes. It’s not a job shop where they build 30 of them and we never see the supplier again. They’re tooling up as we are,” he said.

Skender, IKEA Initiatives Bring Promise of Prefab Senior Housing Closer to Reality

Large players such as Skender and IKEA are betting that prefab building practices can help meet the rising demand for senior housing.

Chicago-based Skender has morphed in the past 18 months from a general contractor to a vertically integrated manufacturer of prefabricated modular building components for multifamily, senior housing, health care and commercial buildings. The company cut the ribbon on a production facility on Chicago’s Southwest Side in February, and had its first prototype modular units built four months later. Skender has built senior living projects utilizing conventional methods and already is seeing interest from senior living developers in its prefab process.

Will Factory-Made Affordable Housing Succeed?

The key to affordable housing could soon roll off a production line in a Chicago factory.

Skender, an Illinois-based construction company, has begun building modular, multi-family housing in a plant on the Windy City’s southwest side.

The vision is to build and ship finished “modules,” effectively rooms or entire apartments slated for a three-story, three-unit building, in six days.

“We’re completely changing the paradigm here for the construction process, which will drive the price of the home down,” Stacy Scopano, Skender’s chief technology officer, told WBEZ in May.

Fleet Fields – Lincoln Yards

In partnering once again with Sterling Bay, we recently completed a youth community artificial grass soccer field Fleet Fields in the Lincoln Yards neighborhood! Huge shout out to ForeverLawn, Inc. in the turf installation as well as Ailey Solar Electric, Inc. that will help offset 92% energy at the field.

The Old Main Post Office: A Historic Landmark Gets a High-Tech Facelift

Almost 100 years after it was first constructed — and 20 years after the U.S. Postal Service suspended its operations there — Chicago’s Old Main Post Office is nearly ready to welcome its first office tenants.

The iconic building spans two full city blocks and an interstate highway and is the subject of an $800M renovation effort from 601W, a New York-based development firm. With floor plates 10 times larger than the bulk of Chicago’s downtown office buildings and structures that date as far back as 1921, the Old Post Office is set to capitalize on a growing demand for airy office space with an aura of history.

“As an offering in the Chicago market, it’s pretty incredible,” said Andy Halik, a senior project manager at Skender, a Chicago-based construction, design and advanced manufacturing firm. “With that volume of space, the opportunity is immense.”

Modern office tenants are embracing spaces with a historic patina and exposed structures, but they still demand modern amenities, including gyms, food and beverage, green space and high-speed internet. Chicago has become a crucible for this kind of construction — it boasts a family of mega-buildings, including the Old Post Office, the Merchandise Mart, the Macy’s building at 111 North State St., 600 West Chicago Ave. and 900 North Kingsbury St.

For Skender and other construction companies involved in the renovations, the Old Post Office has presented a thicket of challenges due to its former state of disrepair, its size and the preservation laws that protect its historic floors, walls and beams. However, it has also given them a massive, three-dimensional canvas where they can explore innovative design and construction ideas to create one-of-a-kind office spaces.

The Post Office landed its first tenant, Walgreens, in June 2018. The pharmacy chain chose Skender to represent its interests in the building. A handful of other tenants have inked leases, including advertising agency AbelsonTaylor and the Ferrara Candy Co. 

The building is actually three buildings in one. The east building was constructed in 1921 with floor plates around 37K SF, not much bigger than the average office building in Chicago today. By the 1930s, Chicago had become the mail-sorting capital of the United States, thanks to Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck & Co., two mail-order department stores based in the city that in their heyday accounted for millions of pieces of mail every week.

All that demand necessitated a major expansion, so the city built the nine-story north and south buildings, which featured floor-to-floor heights as tall as 19 feet. These additions were then connected to the existing east building, which was only six stories tall, with 16-foot ceilings.

Those mismatched floor heights have created numerous logistical hurdles for Skender, but Halik said they have also opened up functional benefits for the building’s occupants.

“Tenants in the building may want an assembly space to gather all of their employees at once,” Halik said. “The location in between two buildings can provide that opportunity through stairs, stadium-style seating or balconies.”

The ability to house an entire company headquarters on a single contiguous floor is something Halik said will appeal to companies that prize collaboration. He said there is a particular energy to having all of a company’s employees housed on a single floor.

The lofty ceilings also present numerous design possibilities as tenants decide how to partition their space.

“They can run walls all the way up to the deck, or leave them at a lower datum line,” Halik said. “There’s so much you can do with the height.”

Dealing with the endless possibilities of space is nothing new for Skender. In 2014, the company oversaw the construction of Motorola’s headquarters in the historic Merchandise Mart, where the telecommunications giant once occupied 600K SF between the four top floors and the roof.

Halik said Motorola’s offices set off a wave of projects throughout Chicago that married history and modern design, transforming massive floor plates into top-tier office spaces. Skender has been at the center of the trend, building out flagship offices for ConAgra Brands in the Merchandise Mart, Echo Global Logistics at 600 West Chicago Ave. and, most recently, Google, whose 357K SF headquarters in a former cold-storage facility on North Morgan Street helped turn Fulton Market into the booming office center it is today.

But along with the possibilities, the Skender team also faces a host of constraints, many in the form of historic preservation rules. The rules are intricate and vary wildly across the different parts of the building.

“Depending on the condition, what may be required in the north building might not be allowable at all in the south building,” Halik said. “One of the biggest challenges for tenants is understanding what the historic opportunities and limitations are and appreciating that they vary building by building.”

Much of Skender’s job in representing tenants’ interests in the building is anticipating the financial and design implications of the historic requirements, and applying resources thoughtfully. To that end, the company has invested in an extensive pre-construction process to avoid surprises during construction.

To Halik, though, all those logistical challenges sound less like constraints and more like a fascinating puzzle.

“Being the first has been incredibly powerful for us and our clients,” Halik said. “As the first, not only do you gain a complete understanding of what is possible within the building, but you develop a deeper understanding of why each opportunity is possible. Rather than being given a very clean list of requirements from someone else, you were the one to figure it all out.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow and Skender.

Skender Completes 100,000-SF Renovation for New South Side Charter School

Skender recently completed the conversion of the 100,000-square-foot former Soft Sheen building at 8522 S. Lafayette into a middle and high school for Perspectives Charter Schools.

Founded in 1997, Perspectives Charter Schools (PCS) is one of the first charter schools in Illinois whose mission is to develop ethical leaders. Today, PCS manages five open enrollment, tuition-free public schools serving students in grades 6-12 in the communities of Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, South Loop and now Chatham.

Construction included interior and exterior alterations to an existing two-story steel-framed structure with a masonry exterior. For classes starting next week, the new charter school will provide STEM-forward classrooms, a monumental staircase that will also serve as seating for an auditorium, two large gymnasiums and flexible outdoor space for a future athletic field.

Serving as general contractor in a joint venture with The Bowa Group, Skender worked in collaboration with Perkins + Will and ConopCo Project Management to complete the project by fall semester for PCS students to enjoy a new, healthy and productive school environment.

Skender Completes Renovation of WBEZ Headquarters

Skender recently completed interior construction of a 37,000-square-foot renovation project at the headquarters for WBEZ, a nonprofit media organization located at Navy Pier in Chicago.

WBEZ renovated its current offices to include an upgraded AV package; densification for new workstations; additional common areas, including a high-end, client-facing pantry and community room; as well as the replacement of the existing rooftop and air handling units.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with Charlie Greene Studio and ConopCo Project Management to successfully complete the project.

Vital Proteins – Interior Project

Even more epic interior construction completed by Skender in the West Loop. The latest: Vital Proteins’ new HQ in Fulton Market. Check out the fast-growing health supplement retailer’s new digs.

2019 Summer Eclipse

This year’s Summer Eclipse event saw over 500 attendees and raised $411,000 to benefit Little Wish Foundation and other charities geared towards health, education and wellness—amazing! On behalf of Skender Foundation, thanks again to everyone involved for making an impact.

Eighth Annual Summer Eclipse Raises $411,000, Highlights Little Wish Foundation

Skender Foundation hosted its annual fundraiser, Summer Eclipse, on Thursday, July 18 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. A total of $411,000 was raised in one night by sponsors and more than 500 event attendees. Of that, $30,000 will be donated to Little Wish Foundation while the balance will be dispersed to other charities dedicated to education and wellness throughout the year. In 2018, Summer Eclipse donations went to more than 100 different charity organizations.

This year, Skender Foundation highlighted Little Wish Foundation at Summer Eclipse. Founded in Indianapolis in 2010, Little Wish Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that grants wishes of pediatric oncology patients. The wishes may be small (most cost between $500 and $1,000), but their impact on children’s lives is immeasurable. The organization services fourteen children’s hospitals in seven states, including Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Rush University Children’s Hospital. To date, Little Wish has granted 1,950 little wishes to children with cancer during their treatment period.

“Each year, Skender Foundation hosts Summer Eclipse with the goal of providing opportunities, tools and resources to those in need. We chose to highlight Little Wish Foundation to help brighten the lives of children suffering from cancer, and feel honored to be able to make a positive impact on their journeys,” Skender Foundation Executive Director Belinda Moore said regarding the motivation behind Summer Eclipse.

Since its 2012 inception, Skender Foundation has raised over $5,600,000 for more than 300 charitable organizations. To learn more about Little Wish Foundation, visit littlewishfoundation.org.

Five Must-Dos When Designing a Law Firm Workplace

Law firms are placing ever-increasing importance on thoughtful workplace design to attract and retain top talent, making every office build-out or renovation a critical opportunity to win the talent war. With millennials expected to comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, law firm design trends are being driven by an evolving culture that prioritizes individual workplace experiences, health and well-being, and ubiquitous technology.

The future of law firm design is rooted in change. Designers are not just designers anymore—they’re change management consultants. Architects and contractors often work with law firms’ human resources teams, facilities managers and the lawyers themselves to align the existing workforce culture with a realistic design approach. In doing so, five considerations are typically front-of-mind, if not mandatory:

1. Recruitment and Retention of the Next Attorney Generation

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come (or stay), and one size does not fit all. It boils down to getting to know your people, recognizing the culture and understanding the aspirations of young attorneys moving up in the workplace before applying something across the board.

For example, the idea behind open office workstations for attorneys is rooted in thoughtful cost reduction, however there are many factors that influence whether that may or may not work, including the ever-present client confidentiality factor (both from an acoustical standpoint and from a visual standpoint) and requisite privacy.

Junior-level attorneys still view the location and size of their office, and migrating from a smaller to a larger office, as a reflection of professional progress. They aspire to the highly coveted “corner office” or larger office. It seems that private offices, whether varied in size or a universal size, are a permanent fixture in law firms for myriad reasons.

A modern alternative to open officing that promotes connectedness and increases workforce facetime is the increasing application of an intercommunicating stair. Rather than a library, additional secretarial space or mock trial rooms, law firms installing a communicating stair between floors are attempting to align themselves with the collaborative nature of tech firms and corporate HQs.

2. The Workplace Experience for the Individual

While the value proposition of a dedicated private office is still strong in law firms, attorneys appreciate having choices or offices available to them outside of the four walls of their office. If the technology is available to support them, attorneys are placing more value on breakaway spaces in which to work in a collaborative setting or in an environment that is still solitary but in a different footprint, such as a comfortable-yet-functional indoor “lounge” space or outdoor space for mild weather. It has become necessary to provide law firm attorneys and staff with options to show consideration of the individual workplace experience.

Given the tremendous pressure placed on attorneys to maximize billable hours, the more opportunities they are given to leave their desks, work solitarily in a different room surrounded by something different on the wall or a different color, with different acoustics, or even meet in a small room or hang out in the café, the better.

3. Health and Well-being in a Demanding Workplace

Wellness is paramount for overworked law firm attorneys and staff. While the legal industry has historically been a slow adopter of modern office trends, it’s taking a step forward in wellness. Law firms are showing greater sensitivity to nutrition through a fresh market kind of approach, offering fruit, yogurt and different water options as opposed to soda and candy bars in vending machines. Many new law firm offices feature yoga and retreat rooms, which are only starting to be featured in other markets.

Perhaps most significantly, many law firms are creating a director of well-being role, charged with cultivating a healthy work environment and helping drive work life balance initiatives. Well known for their long hours and the struggle to maintain work life balance, law firms, beginning with office design decisions, must adopt more sensitive and thoughtful initiatives that contribute to the well-being of their people. This will help to avoid the increased trend of younger associates burning out and leaving the industry for good.

4. The Power of Ubiquitous Tech

In order to achieve work-life balance, law firms must create and follow through on work-remote policies. To successfully support such a policy, firms need a strong technology infrastructure. Ubiquitous technology is the idea that attorneys and law firm staff can be technologically supported both internally in the workplace and externally outside of the office.

Although client confidentiality concerns preclude certain platforms and technologies from being stored on the cloud, ubiquitous technology holds law firms accountable to make investments on speedy infrastructure previously limited due to operational cost controls.

In 2005, large law firms invested in technology in their conference centers, but not on the work floor. Now they are spending more throughout their spaces on AV because it’s critical to their business. Tenant workplace investment has shifted away from high-end finishes, millwork and stone to greater investment in technology and glass facades that introduce light to the interior desks sitting just outside of the perimeter office landscape.

This shift over the past 10 to 15 years means technology infrastructure improvements now represent 40-45% of the tenant improvement factor. Response time, client accommodation, speed and access are so paramount to the business that without this reallocation of investment, law firms will fall drastically behind.

5. Future-Proof Updates

Future-proofing a law firm is more possible than ever, but it requires clients to spend a great deal of time planning and analyzing what role the workplace will need to serve seven to eight years into a lease term. Firms must budget accordingly to accommodate the impact of foolproof flexibility. Potential growth, staff increases, space decreases, infrastructure concerns with shifting technology, and future density must all be taken into account to minimize capital expenditure over the lease term.

If possible, companies should utilize a modular approach to allow for inexpensive future changes, budget accordingly and plan for what-if factors. Firms must consider the repercussions of changes; for example, what elements would be costly to move if a wall comes down, such as a sprinkler system, and which are more flexible, such as lighting.

Traditionally, law firms renew office leases in older buildings that contain perimeter private offices and only think about future changes in carpet and paint. But, older buildings are optimal in allowing firms to build-out using modules to accommodate future change with minimal impact, maintaining the traditional perimeter-office style and allowing for increased collaboration space in the core.

With the one-attorney-to-one-secretary ratio nearly obsolete, using glass as private office facades to shed light into the interior space is not as important as it was 10 years ago. The next big question in law firm design is: how do you make that interior zone experience as welcoming and desirable as that coveted perimeter?

As law firms prepare for a workforce centered on factors such as connectivity, flexibility and wellness, their workplace must reflect that shifting dynamic and be able to continually evolve. By working with their design and construction teams, firm HR and facilities leadership can create office spaces that reflect their future-focused culture.

This article was authored by Skender Vice President and Partner Clay Edwards and Nelson Principal and Legal Workplace Practice Co-Chair Marty Festenstein, and originally published by REJournals.

Designing the Law Firm: Slow Adopters of Change, or Emerging Trend Leaders?

The legal industry has traditionally been a slow adopter of architectural and design change. Typical office layouts with perimeter offices and career growth indicated by office size have persisted, despite other industries moving toward new trends like open offices. The unique nature of the legal industry mandates much of the reliance on standard office layouts of the past – but is there change on the horizon?

Hosting this episode is Skender Vice President and Partner Clay Edwards, an office interiors industry thought leader with extensive experience in law firm construction. Clay is joined by two guests from Nelson, a global architecture and design firm. Marty Festenstein serves as NELSON’s Legal Practice Group Leader, and Kristin Cerutti is an experienced lead project designer.

Marty, Kristin and Clay take a deep dive into the drivers of change and evolution in law firm office design, now and into the future, and explore questions such as:

  • What types of offices will millennial-age lawyers expect and want?
  • Can attorneys work in open offices?
  • How are law firms investing in ubiquitous technology?
  • In what areas are law firms leading change in office design?
  • Can you future-proof a law firm office?

About Marty Festenstein

Marty Festenstein serves as NELSON’s Legal Practice Group Leader, driving creativity and strategy for clients nationally. Throughout his 30-year career, he has managed over 12 million square feet and over 400 workplace projects. As a result, Marty has gained a national reputation as a workplace “trusted adviser.” Many of his clients are large, national firms with sites across the country as well as large regional firms. This has allowed him to direct multi-site projects and national account occupancy planning. Marty consistently leads design teams to deliver creative solutions that delight law firm clients, meet their functional parameters and exceed their expectations. With his intense focus on workplace, he is acutely aware of the trends that affect how attorneys and their support staff work, which allows him to provide them with environments in which they can thrive. A consummate leader, Marty has contributed to numerous writings in Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Lawyer Magazine, Law Firm, Inc., and American Lawyer. His speaking engagements have included the Association of Legal Administrators’ Annual Convention, Managing Partner Round Tables, and the annual NeoCon design conference.

About Kristin Cerutti

With 13 years of experience in interior architecture, Kristin Cerutti is an experienced lead project designer, with extensive knowledge in schematic design and design development processes, as well as construction document assembly, construction administration, and client relations. With experience working in multiple markets across the country and around the globe, her project coordination, design capabilities, and proficiency in the operation and implementation of computer-aided design programs are invaluable to her team as a leader in the office.

Volunteer Day 2019

Nearly 100 Skender employees, friends and family volunteered on Saturday, June 22 at Skender’s annual volunteer day to build the bed frames for 50 bunk beds. Through a partnership with Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), the day will benefit 100 children across the Chicago metropolitan area in need of beds.

Esperanza Brighton Park

When a community is in need of a health center, we’re there to build it. By teaming up with local specialty care and community-based organizations, the new Esperanza Brighton Park health center is ready to serve and help unite this southwest side neighborhood. Take a look at our latest project collaboration with JGMA and McNitt Consulting.

Skender wraps up interior work on new Vital Proteins HQ in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed the interior renovation of the 40,000-square-foot headquarters of Vital Proteins, a fast-growing private retailer of health supplement products. Vital Proteins has assumed full occupancy of the four-story 939 W. Fulton Street, one block from Google’s Midwest headquarters in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of New Vital Proteins HQ in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed the interior renovation of the 40,000-square-foot headquarters of Vital Proteins, a fast-growing private retailer of health supplement products. Vital Proteins has assumed full occupancy of the four-story 939 W. Fulton Street, one block from Google’s Midwest headquarters in Chicago’s lively Fulton Market neighborhood.

Vital Proteins relocated 130 employees from its former offices at 1201 W. Washington to accommodate the business’s rapidly growing workforce in the vibrant neighborhood of Fulton Market. The technology-rich office space offers a wide range of amenities to support a highly collaborative and productive workplace. Key spaces include open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café. Notable renovation elements include a new atrium that dramatically spans two floors of the building and features a stadium-style staircase and full-scale barista station. Also, the interior design retains the historic landmark building’s high ceilings, exposed brick walls and wood floors.

Skender collaborated with SCB and JLL to complete the project. Skender’s work continues to shape office, hotel and retail development in the popular Fulton Market corridor. Recent Skender construction projects in the area include Hyatt House, Sterling Bay, Glassdoor, The Climate Corporation and The AZEK Company, as well as Skender’s own company headquarters.

 

Skender Partners with Sleep in Heavenly Peace for Annual Volunteer Day

Nearly 100 Skender employees, friends and family volunteered on Saturday, June 22 at Skender’s annual volunteer day to build the bed frames for 50 bunk beds. Through a partnership with Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), the day will benefit 100 children across the Chicago metropolitan area in need of beds.

“We were honored to partner with Sleep in Heavenly Peace and utilize our volunteers’ talents in the building trades for an amazing cause,” explains Belinda Moore, Executive Director of Skender Foundation. “The work of our mix of friends, family, Builders’ Board members and professionals will help push forward Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s mission of ensuring that no children have to sleep on the floor.”

During the Build Day, volunteers came together under the guidance of Sleep in Heavenly Peace to build 50 bunk bed frames. Those beds will then be packed, delivered and assembled at the homes of families on the waiting list with SHP to provide accessible, stable and safe beds for 50 families and 100 children in need.

Founded in 2012, SHP is a nationwide nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that builds and delivers beds to children who don’t have beds to sleep in. As of 2019, the organization has 150 chapters around the United States and has built over 4,000 beds.

“Skender has always impressed me from the very first day that I worked on one of your job sites and still to this day everyone at Skender impresses me both on the construction side of things and now the willingness to help others in need giving up your own time to do so!” said Jason Jansma, SHP Chapter Co-President IL-Chicagoland.

Hyatt House: Fulton Market’s First Extended-Stay Hotel

What if the complete building process was faster, smarter and greener? Years in the making, Skender’s manufacturing facility is a vision turned reality through a revolutionary modular process.

The ever-expanding West Loop; now with it’s first extended-stay hotel. Here’s a closer look at our latest project, developed by Sterling Bay and designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects.

Who’s got their finger on the pulse of healthcare real estate?

The healthcare real estate sector has changed strikingly in the last decade, driven by aging demographics and increased ambition to deliver services outside of acute care settings. Over the next 10 years, the asset class will likely see even more drastic changes.

More than 120 Chicago CRE professionals came out to the 6th annual Healthcare & Medical Office Conference yesterday, hosted by REjournals. There were two panel discussions: the first gave the view from 30,000 feet at the state of the healthcare market while the second panel dove in on segmented solutions in healthcare and medical office buildings.

Skender Completes Office Interior Construction for Corix Group of Companies

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed the 30,000-square-foot interior build-out at 500 W. Monroe St. for Corix Group of Companies. The water, wastewater and energy utility firm consolidated its offices across North America to downtown Chicago. The new offices will immediately house approximately 70 employees.

“This was the right thing to do in support of our strategies for the future,” said Lisa Sparrow, Corix President and Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to need to draw the ‘best and brightest’ into our workforce and an urban setting along with suburban transit access, greatly facilitates that.”

The technology-rich office space offers amenities to support a highly collaborative, productive and flexible workplace. Key spaces include a café overlooking the Chicago skyline, collaboration areas, conference/team rooms of varying sizes, and a sustainably harvested moss accent wall at the entry to the board room.

Corix’s Shared Services group will comprise the bulk of the workforce and currently supports all the local business units throughout the United States. “Our mission of providing absolutely top-notch, cutting-edge support to all of our businesses in areas like finance, information technology, human resources, communications, customer service and billing will be greatly enhanced through this move, both in terms of collaboration and availability of the best technology resources out there today and for the future,” noted Jim Devine, Chief Shared Services Officer. He added, “We are certain that this new location positions us well to deliver world class service and facilitate the expansion plans of our local and state level business units.”

Skender collaborated with architecture firm Nelson, owner’s representative Colliers International and engineering firm Environmental Systems Design to successfully complete the project on a very tight schedule.

Skender Completes Expansion of Assisted Living Facility in Northbrook, Illinois

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has completed an expansion project at North Shore Place in Northbrook, approximately 20 miles north of Chicago.

Senior Lifestyle Corp. owns the assisted living facility. This is the second expansion project at the property that Skender has completed.

Skender Completes 14-story, 167,000-SF Hyatt House Hotel, a New Sterling Bay Development in the Fulton Market District

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has completed construction of Chicago’s first Hyatt House extended-stay hotel. The new 14-story, 167,000-square-foot hotel is located in the heart of Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood at 105 N. May Street. The Hyatt House is the first hotel in the Fulton Market district to cater to extended-stay corporate travelers, and includes amenities ranging from an indoor pool and multiple green roof features to upgraded common areas such as the bar and lounge with city views.

The hotel offers a third-floor lobby and first-floor future retail space. The pool, workout center and lounge are situated on the 14th floor, with 200 guest rooms on floors 4-13. Sterling Bay is the hotel’s developer and Skender collaborated with project architect Eckenhoff Saunders Architects.

The hotel’s exterior cladding comprises hand-laid masonry, precast concrete panels, unitized window wall systems, metal panels and intricate storefront system. Building information modeling (BIM) was used to coordinate all site utility, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems around the post tension and reinforced concrete structure. Additionally, in line with their commitment to Lean construction principles, Skender included Target Value Design in their pre-construction services to eliminate inefficiencies during the project’s schedule.

Skender’s subcontractor labor force to build the hotel included local community hires from the surrounding West Loop neighborhood, as well as ample participation from minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) and woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) firms.

Skender has performed construction extensively throughout the Fulton Market District. At 1K Fulton, Skender teams have built spaces for Google, the SRAM headquarters and Swift & Sons. Across the neighborhood at 1330 W. Fulton (Fulton West), Skender constructed the firm’s own headquarters and the headquarters for Sterling Bay, as well as spaces for The Climate Corporation and Glassdoor. Nearby at 939 W. Fulton, Skender will soon complete the new headquarters for Vital Proteins, a fast-growing private retailer of health supplement products.

Chicago-Area Assisted Living Community Gets New Building

Skender has completed construction on the 40-unit memory care building of North Shore Place, a 156-unit luxury assisted living community in Northbrook, Ill. The development team also included design firm SAS Architects & Planners, civil engineering firm Manhard Consulting and structural engineering firm Bowman, Barrett & Associates. The owner, Senior Lifestyle, also assigned Skender to convert the former memory care wing into 32 assisted living units.

Skender Manufacturing – Open for Business

What if the complete building process was faster, smarter and greener? Years in the making, Skender’s manufacturing facility is a vision turned reality through a revolutionary modular process.

Skender manufacturing: open for business.

Skender Completes Construction of Senior Lifestyle Assisted Living Facility in Northbrook, IL

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has completed construction of North Shore Place, a Senior Lifestyle-owned assisted living facility located in Northbrook, Illinois. This marks the second new construction project Skender has completed for Senior Lifestyle on this property; the first a 175,000-square foot, five-story, 157-unit assisted living facility located adjacent to current construction.

The new two-story, 37,500-square-foot assisted living facility offers 40 memory care units. Special infrastructure allowed for the installation of a video memory screen adjacent on every tenant’s entryway door that cycles through digitized photographs of family and friends to assist tenants with room identification. The building is designed around a central courtyard with a water feature and putt-putt course. Skender is set to begin a four-month conversion of the former memory care wing into 32 assisted living units on June 24.

Skender worked in collaboration with design firm SAS Architects & Planners, civil engineering firm Manhard Consulting and structural engineering firm Bowman, Barrett & Associates to successfully complete the project in 11 months. All work was performed adjacent to a fully operational, twenty-four seven facility and required shut down of the main access drive for building deliveries and egress.

When it comes to medical space, it really is innovate or die

The world of healthcare real estate is driven by increased need—brought about by aging Boomers—as well as an ever more specialized and localized momentum of providers pushing out to locales where people live and work. But demand is not the only driver for how we design and build these facilities.

Everyone wants to be on the cutting edge of construction trends of course, but the benefits of innovative techniques align so well with the healthcare sector in particular. State of the art processes not only provide a higher level of care—something that providers are increasingly drawn to—they can also meaningfully cut costs.

When it comes to innovation in building design and construction—regardless of asset class—the next front appears to be modular. In Chicago, Skender is leading that charge, as the firm recently opened their building manufacturing facility in Little Village.

Skender and BuiltWorlds Release “2019 Modular Construction Update” Research Report

The past year was a big one in the world of modular construction. With the industry continuing to hone the new processes and technologies behind offsite construction, early adopters are beginning to reap the rewards. We’ve been hearing about the potential benefits of streamlining project delivery with offsite production for years–shorter project schedules, relief for budgets, improved conditions for workers, more control over the quality of the product and the schedule–but now we’re actually seeing it in action. Real world examples of modular projects are not only becoming taller and more impressive, they are also becoming more common. What does that mean for the construction and development industry? It could mean that the bar for efficient project delivery is finally being raised.

The global market for modular construction was valued at roughly $111 billion in 2018, according to a report by Zion Market Research. By 2025, that share is projected to increase to $175 billion, and growth has skyrocketed in the past year alone. In a recent survey of BuiltWorlds members, 79% of respondents indicated that they anticipate modular construction’s market share to increase at a faster rate over the next 5 years than it has over the past 5 years, with 21% expecting growth at a constant rate. No respondents anticipate a slow-down of new modular starts; it has become clear that the industry is ready for modularization.

Download the “2019 Modular Construction Update” by clicking here.

Skender Wins DISRUPTOR Award at BuiltWorlds’ Machines Conference

Recognized today at the reception of BuiltWorlds’ Machines Conference, Skender was voted the winner of the DISRUPTOR award for the Modular Builders category among those featured on the 2019 Machines 50 List. Skender’s Director of Residential Architecture Angela Spadoni attended the event to accept the award following her presentation on modular construction and evolving project delivery.

The year’s Machines 50 List features innovative solutions advancing equipment, machinery and tools at the frontier of the built environment. With emerging technology transforming construction in the shop and in the field, BuiltWorlds aims to showcase companies that are pushing the boundaries of both product and process.

BuiltWorlds’ panel of expert judges selected one LEADER and one DISRUPTOR from each of the seven categories on the list: (1) 3D printing, (2) equipment tracking & fleet management, (3) field robotics, (4) equipment marketplaces, (5) modular builders, (6) prefabrication solutions and (7) vehicles.

With a focus on innovation, teamwork and efficiency, Skender has earned more than 26 best place to work awards (by multiple awarding bodies) in total over the last dozen years.

Catalyst for Change: Why Manufacturing is the Future of Construction

Here at Skender we talk a lot about our work in modular construction and the launch of our new manufacturing facility – but just how do you run a successful manufacturing operation, and how do you staff the facility? Skender’s Virtual Design Manager Shyam Telikicherla, a key member of the Skender Manufacturing team, sits down with special guest Raghi Iyengar to delve into both the technology and the workforce behind manufacturing and modular construction. Raghi is the founder of ManufactOn, a tech startup that helps the construction industry leverage the power of prefabrication, with tools that integrate supply chain, prefab production, and planning.

Raghi and Shyam dig into the details of modular construction, with a look at:

  • How ManufactOn’s technology works
  • What benefits manufacturing brings to the construction industry
  • How to staff a manufacturing facility in the midst of an industry-wide labor shortage
  • What the future of construction looks like

 

About Raghi Iyengar

Raghi Iyengar is founder of ManufactOn, a SaaS startup that brings the best of manufacturing to construction.

Construction technology professional for over 25 years, Raghi joined Intel in 1988 and spent a decade leading software initiatives to support construction, operations & maintenance, and materials management at all Intel’s factories worldwide. During his tenure at Intel, Raghi was also technical advisor to Center for Facility Engineering (CIFE) at Stanford University, where he funded research for what is now called virtual design & construction. After Intel, Raghi continued to create software solutions for the AEC industry as founder of VisonPlanner (1998) and managing director at Inquest Technologies (2002). Raghi joined Autodesk in 2006 to bring building information modeling (BIM) into construction. As product line manager, he led initiatives around construction modeling with Revit, acquisition of Navisworks and several cloud/mobile startups that are now part of the collaborative construction application called BIM 360, and worked on product strategy with some of the most advanced construction companies in the world.

Factory-Built Three Flats Are Chicago’s Newest Affordable Housing

A Chicago company claims to have a unique answer to the city’s affordable housing shortage: modular homes.

In a giant warehouse on the Southwest Side, the construction company Skender will begin producing Chicago three-flats on an assembly line as if they were cars, starting Tuesday.

And a major Chicago developer is buying into the idea.

Sterling Bay, developer of the Lincoln Yards megaproject, says it’s planning to buy 100 vacant lots on the South and West sides to plant modular housing there.

To kick things off, Sterling Bay is purchasing the first 10 three-flats to roll off Skender’s production line. They hope to have the first families living in them by late August.

Sterling Bay is required to build hundreds of units of affordable housing as part of its lucrative deal with the city to develop high-end housing in Lincoln Yards. The firm says some of the new modular homes could help fulfill that quota.

Like similar companies in Brooklyn and San Francisco, Skender believes it can build homes faster and cheaper in its factory than is possible through traditional construction methods. And it believes the manufacturing environment will allow them to build longer-lasting, more energy-efficient homes.

“We’re completely changing the paradigm here for the construction process, which will drive the price of the home down,” said Stacy Scopano, Skender’s chief technology officer.

Read the full article and listen to the interview at WBEZ 91.5 Chicago.

At Skender’s New Modular Building Factory, Apartments Roll Off The Assembly Line Like Cars

In November, the world got its first glimpse of a modular housing prototype from Skender, a Chicago-based construction firm. The module was remarkably complete. It included a kitchen, a bathroom, a sitting room and a bedroom, all within a steel frame. Its exterior, rough with insulation, matched the sparse surroundings of the as-yet empty factory around it. For a moment, it was one of a kind.

With Skender’s new manufacturing facility fully operational, dozens like it will soon start rolling off the assembly lines. On May 28, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Skender CEO Mark Skender and other community and business leaders for the ribbon-cutting of the new factory on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Skender Launches Modular Building Production at its Chicago Advanced Manufacturing Facility

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm, today launched production at its advanced manufacturing facility on Chicago’s Southwest Side at 3348 S. Pulaski. The facility will use Skender’s unique, fully-integrated process that takes modular building projects from concept to technical design to advanced fabrication to onsite completion – all with Skender, a 64-year-old legacy builder, skillfully engineering and managing the turnkey sequence. The highly efficient modular building process, completed almost entirely in a climate-controlled environment, increases quality and safety, reduces price, eliminates weather risk and significantly reduces delivery schedule.

“Our production launch is an important milestone in our radical new approach to building. By bringing design, manufacturing and construction under one brand and one integrated team, we can dramatically improve productivity and build more efficiently while increasing the quality of materials and finishes, as well as the energy performance,” said Mark Skender, CEO, Skender. “We are proud to open our facility with a premier workforce and a project that demonstrates a new housing delivery model capable of changing how we fight the affordable housing crisis. This is a true gamechanger.”

Also today, Skender held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Mark Skender; Gary Perinar, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters’ executive secretary-treasurer; and multiple City of Chicago officials.

“The new Skender advanced manufacturing facility is a win-win for Chicago: generating job growth on the Southwest side while advancing a creative solution to address the affordable housing shortage,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We will work with residents, community leaders and developers across the city to ensure every Chicagoan has a safe and affordable place to live. The addition of new modular units will improve access to sustainable housing, prevent homelessness, and ensure that as Chicago grows all of our neighbors can afford to grow too.”

The first modular building project will be an order of 10 affordable-rate, three-flat apartment buildings from Chicago developer Sterling Bay that will help address the city’s critical affordable housing shortage.

The steel-frame three-flats for Sterling Bay will be completed and ready for occupancy in a nine-week production schedule – 80% faster than conventional construction methods – and at a 5% to 20% lower project cost, depending on the comparable delivery method.

“We believe all Chicagoans should have the opportunity to live in well-designed homes that are affordable and enhance the surrounding neighborhood,” said Andy Gloor, CEO of Sterling Bay. “Skender has thoughtfully addressed how to deliver affordable housing in a way that is effective and scalable and can make a real difference across the city of Chicago.”

Other projects in the design stages include modular building for affordable and market-rate multifamily, healthcare and hospitality.

In conjunction with the new factory, Skender has reached a new, unique union agreement with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters that allows Skender’s manufacturing employees to organize and become bargaining members. 

“The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters was integral in the development of this revolutionary partnership with Skender,” said Executive Secretary-Treasurer Gary Perinar. “This puts the City of Chicago at the forefront of a new, innovative and efficient method of constructing multifamily, healthcare and hospitality projects through modular manufacturing. Our highly trained and skilled carpenters will ensure high-quality products and projects that will improve and enhance communities across the city.”

At full capacity in about 18 months, Skender’s facility will employ 150 people. To help source, train and prepare the workforce for specialized careers in manufacturing, Skender has partnered with Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Cara Chicago, Heartland Alliance, Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT), Central States SER and the Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC).

The First Project: Chicago’s Iconic Three-Flats, Reimagined

Sterling Bay’s first order of 10 three-flat multifamily buildings will be assembled on lots that are currently vacant in the city’s 27th Ward. Each three-flat consists of 12 modules, totaling approximately 3,750 square feet per building, featuring three two-bedroom, one-bathroom units with modern finishes.

“The city needs more affordable housing and I am thrilled to have these initial units from Sterling Bay and Skender in the 27th Ward,” said 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett. “The units produced at this factory will not only create jobs for Chicagoans, but also help address our affordable housing shortage by bringing more housing stock into the market. This is a win for all Chicagoans.”

Sterling Bay’s commitment to build affordable housing extends well beyond the first order of three-flats; the firm is fully committed to Skender’s advanced manufacturing facility as a minority equity investor. As the facility grows to full capacity, Sterling Bay is planning to build affordable housing on more than 100 lots throughout the city, partnering with affordable housing nonprofit organizations to lease and manage the units. In addition, the firm is planning a 7-story, 83-unit, 92,000-SF modular apartment building at 1100 W. Grand Ave. to start during the first quarter of 2020.  

Skender’s One-of-A-Kind Approach to Modular

Skender’s modular construction approach combines Lean manufacturing practices with the latest integrated building information modeling and manufacturing technology to reduce cost and time to market – two of the biggest challenges in conventional construction. At its factory, skilled union employees will assemble 95% of the modular components, including fixtures, finishes and most appliances.

“By having our architecture, manufacturing and construction leaders all working together from a single source of truth, we’ve developed a hyper-efficient process that eliminates waste and dramatically cuts the time it takes to bring a building to market,” said Pete Murray, president, Skender Manufacturing. “The learnings from each project inform the next to create even greater time and cost savings.”

After building modules are completed at the factory, they are shipped to destination sites and assembled and finished by Skender construction teams. Skender’s end products are steel modular buildings that are more attractive, more durable and of higher quality and higher energy performance than previous iterations of modular construction.

For more information, visit www.skender.com/modular.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. Headquartered in Chicago, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

How modular manufacturing could solve Chicago’s affordable housing crisis

As Chicago grapples with an affordable housing crisis and soaring construction costs, one company is betting on modular buildings to help solve the crisis. Next week, Chicago-based construction firm Skender will begin the first run of prefab buildings on the production line of its new 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Little Village.

The Modern Food Hall: A Passing Trend, or Here to Stay?

The modern food hall, the newest up-and-coming trend hitting the retail industry, is a place where patrons can try a variety of different foods and restaurants under one roof. These spaces, which feature high-quality food and drinks from local eateries in modern, well-designed settings, offer distinct benefits to patrons, restauranteurs, and property owners alike.

Andy Koglin, the president of OKW Architects, has been a leader in the food hall market, and his firm has designed many of the Chicago food halls we know and love.  Andy sits down with Skender project engineer – and food hall aficionado – Dan Turro to explore the modern food hall in depth. The two discuss:

  • What makes a modern food hall, and why are they so popular?
  • How do you design a food hall, and is the process different than designing a traditional restaurant space?
  • Where will the next food halls be built?

 

About Andy Koglin

Four years after earning his Masters in Architecture from Yale University, Andrew “Andy” Koglin joined OKW. Another four years later, he became a principal. Having built a foundation in corporate interior planning and design, Andy grew the scope of his expertise to include residential, retail, institutional, and hospitality clientele. As the firm’s President, he directs OKW’s retail and mixed-use project group, drawing on over thirty years of experience in architecture to strategically steer projects. Andy also manages the daily operations of the firm, which range from establishing the firm’s vision and mission, to financial oversight, strategic planning, and client relations.

Outside the office, Andy serves as a member of the Yale Alumni Schools Committee, where he interviews high school applicants, and is involved in both the Urban Land Institute and the Economic Club of Chicago. To decompress on weekends, he enjoys golf and driving his sports car as fast as possible (on a track and not at the same time), which allows him to connect with his not-so-secret dream of becoming a professional Formula 1 racecar driver.v

Skender Celebrates Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Esperanza Health Center in Brighton Park

On Friday, May 17, Skender celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony for Esperanza Brighton Park, the new 26,000-square-foot health center at 4700 S. California Avenue in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood. Attended by Senator Dick Durbin, 14th Ward Alderman Edward Burke and other local dignitaries, the event symbolized improved access to health care services for local residents who have been designated as medically underserved with a health professional shortage by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Open to the public today, Esperanza, meaning hope in Spanish, is living up to its name as the new, two-story facility is a fully accessible building, providing critical services that were previously lacking in this southwest area of Chicago.

By teaming up with local specialty care and community-based organizations, the Esperanza Brighton Park building houses comprehensive medical and wellness services and, utilizing forward-thinking design, features a dynamic façade comprised of color-shifting metal panels, to attract and unite the surrounding community. The facility includes clinical office space, 30 exam rooms, space for additional diagnostic and treatment services, a retail pharmacy, as well as 69 parking spaces.

Skender, serving as general contractor, collaborated with architect JGMA and McNitt Consulting to successfully complete the project.

Skender is proud to be part of the team behind Chicago’s “Garfield Green” proposal, winner…

Skender is proud to be part of the team behind Chicago’s “Garfield Green” proposal, winner of C40 Cities‘ “Reinventing Cities” global competition to combat #climatechange. “Garfield Green” aims to revitalize 1.5 acres of vacant land in East Garfield Park as sustainable, mixed-income housing and related public uses. Congrats to our innovative teammates Preservation of Affordable Housing, Perkins+Will, dbHMS and TERRA Engineering, Ltd. https://bit.ly/2W2IqAB

Chicago’s Garfield Green development proposal wins global design competition

On Wednesday, the mayor’s office announced Chicago’s Garfield Green housing proposal was selected as a winner in C40’s global Reinventing Cities competition. Now, the design team will take steps to make it a reality.

The contest invited cities to propose projects that turned vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and parking lots into innovative, sustainable development that could mitigate climate change. There were 14 cities that submitted 31 infrastructure and housing projects back in 2017.

Garfield Green was designed by architecture firm Perkins+Will for a 1.5-acre vacant site at the corners of Kedzie and Fifth avenues. It’s near the Garfield Park Conservatory and Kedzie Green Line station. The $22.3 million project has plans for 77 apartments: 32 affordable-rate units, 31 cooperative housing units, and 14 market-rate units. There’s 20,000 square feet of public space and a 12,000-square-foot public plaza.

Modular Construction Use is ‘Booming’ in Commercial Building

Commercial real estate experts forecast increasing demand for modular construction in the healthcare, industrial, education and multifamily sectors.

“If modular goes mainstream, more manufacturing facilities will be needed to meet the demand for modular buildings,” says Mark Skender, CEO of Skender, a Chicago-based design and construction firm. “So, theoretically, yes, the more modular companies ramp up production, the more industrial facilities will be occupied.”

Modular Housing May Help Bridge The Affordable Housing Gap

The need for more affordable housing was one of the most-discussed issues of Chicago’s recent mayoral campaign, but creating enough units to satisfy that need still seems like an elusive goal.

And the challenge of building units efficiently and inexpensively is likely to be brought to the forefront this year with the probable launching of a series of new mega developments on the periphery of downtown, such as Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards and Related Midwest’s The 78, all of which must include hundreds of affordable housing units as part of their deals with the city.

Skender, a Chicago-based firm, thinks it has at least one piece of the puzzle, and can help developers meet those requirements even as a chronic labor shortage keeps pushing up construction costs.

Company officials say they plan to begin construction in the next few months on 10 affordable three-flats for an unnamed developer. By using factory-produced modular components, Skender intends to drastically reduce the costs of production. It will do all of the architecture, design and manufacturing in-house, a more efficient process than the traditional method of construction, which typically involves an assortment of firms working in silos.

Skender CEO Mark Skender will be discussing (and showcasing) its modular construction methods at Bisnow’s Chicago Construction & Development event May 30.

Continue reading the full article at Bisnow.

Skender breaks ground on independent senior living facility in Crystal Lake

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on Residences of Crystal Lake, a Turnstone Development-owned senior living facility located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Turnstone Development, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), has developed over 1,680 affordable housing units for low-income families and seniors in Illinois and Florida since 1998.

The three-story, 63,000-square-foot facility will offer 60 affordable living units for seniors, and includes five ADA-accessible units, 12 adaptable units and two sensory units.

Skender Breaks Ground on Independent Senior Living Facility in Crystal Lake, IL

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on Residences of Crystal Lake, a Turnstone Development-owned senior living facility located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Turnstone Development, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), has developed over 1,680 affordable housing units for low-income families and seniors in Illinois and Florida since 1998.

The new three-story, 63,000-square-foot facility will offer 60 affordable living units for seniors, and includes five ADA-accessible units, 12 adaptable units and two sensory units. The facility also includes a fitness area, theater room and community room. The exterior façade contains a mixture of cladding materials, including cut stone and cementitious lap/panel siding, as well as TPO, shingle and standing seam roofing. The project also includes approximately five acres of landscape and hardscape that includes a trellis, gazebo and paved parking for 61 vehicles. This project is the largest residential project in Crystal Lake in recent history and the City is eager to see the project underway.

Skender is working in collaboration with Chicago-based design firm UrbanWorks, civil engineering firm GroundWork, Ltd. and owner’s representative DKI, Inc. to successfully complete the design-build project by March 2020.

Laser Scanning on the Jobsite: The Future of Construction?

Is laser scanning the future of construction? What exactly is laser scanning, and how does it work? Explore these ideas and more with this week’s episode of Future Built, featuring special guest Brent Slawnikowski of FARO Technologies and hosted by Skender Construction Technologist Ben Stocker.

Summit 2019 – BuiltWorlds

This year’s BuiltWorlds Summit Chicago is a can’t-miss event! Skender Chief Design Officer Timothy Swanson will speak on Thursday’s panel, “Optimizing Digital Design in Today’s World,” alongside Christopher Di Iorio of ENGworks, Katherine Darnstadt of LATENT DESIGN, and Brad Lukanic of CannonDesign.

Laser Scanning on the Jobsite: The Future of Construction?

Laser scanning and other new technologies have hit the construction industry in a big way over the last few years, and promise to deliver cost savings and greater efficiency on the jobsite. But what are these technologies really capable of delivering, and how can they be implemented? Brent Slawnikowski, Senior Account Manager at FARO Technologies, sits down with Skender’s Construction Technologist Ben Stocker to take a closer look at laser technologies. The two will delve into:

  • What laser technology is and how it’s used
  • The history of laser technology and in which other industries it’s utilized
  • The benefits to using laser technology on a construction project
  • How to start using laser technology
  • Where laser technology will be used in the future

About Brent Slawnikowski

Brent Slawnikowski currently works as a Senior Account Manager for FARO Technologies providing 3D laser scanning solutions for the construction industry.

Brent brings over a decade of surveying, laser scanning and civil engineering practice to the industry. Brent graduated from Purdue University Calumet in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. During his four year tenure at Purdue Calumet, he worked as an intern for Great Lakes Engineering and two years later took the role of Project Engineer at FALK PLI Engineering & Surveying. Expanding his reach a little further, Brent relocated to Florida in 2014 where he spent a year with CAPTEC Engineering as a Project Engineer. After his one year tenure in Florida, he relocated back to Northwest Indiana, where he picked up where he left off at FALK PLI Engineering & Surveying. Seeing an opportunity to offer his knowledge and experience to the AEC market, he joined FARO in June 2016.

Robots have an increasingly important role in construction

Imagine if the entire population of Oakland, Calif., suddenly needed a new place to live. You’d have to find a way to build housing and infrastructure for nearly half a million people.

As dramatic as this scenario might seem, something comparable is happening daily. According to the United Nations, 400,000 new people enter the middle class every day. To accommodate this growing population, it is estimated that the construction industry will need to build an average of 13,000 buildings every day through 2050.

Quick Links

Don’t miss Skender’s presentation, Moving Patient Care Closer to the Patient and Capitalizing on Unused Space, at this year’s HESNI Annual Conference. Jeffrey Janicek (VP, Partner), Timothy Swanson (Chief Design Officer) and Brian Simons (Project Executive, Partner) will delve into how to take advantage of unused retail spaces in the suburban market, how to recognize unused local spaces and benefits of lease and reuse over the cost of new or dedicated healthcare buildings.

Modular Housing May Help Bridge the Affordable Housing Gap

The need for more affordable housing was one of the most-discussed issues of Chicago’s recent mayoral campaign, but creating enough units to satisfy that need still seems like an elusive goal.

And the challenge of building units efficiently and inexpensively is likely to be brought to the forefront this year with the probable launching of a series of new megadevelopments on the periphery of downtown, such as Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards and Related Midwest’s The 78, all of which must include hundreds of affordable housing units as part of their deals with the city.

Skender, a Chicago-based firm, thinks it has at least one piece of the puzzle, and can help developers meet those requirements even as a chronic labor shortage keeps pushing up construction costs.

Skender starts interior construction of coworking firm Spaces’ Chicago HQ

The months-long redevelopment of the former Sports Authority building at LaSalle and Ontario has achieved a significant milestone with an affiliate of Next Realty, the building’s owner, completing the base building renovations. Skender, serving as general contractor, will soon start the interior renovation of the future eight-story, 80,000-square-foot space that will serve as the Chicago headquarters of Spaces, a fast-growing coworking office provider.

“It’s taking a contractor or engineer or architect or designer, all these folks who think…

“It’s taking a contractor or engineer or architect or designer, all these folks who think about things a little differently, and seeing how we can work together in a truly integrated process” – Skender President Justin Brown, speaking about Skender’s fully integrated manufacturing model at today’s Kaplan Institute speaker series talk on real estate development with Keating Crown of Sterling Bay, Chicago Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman, and moderator Howard Tullman.

Skender Executives to Discuss Construction and Design Trends, Innovations in Modular Building

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm based in Chicago, today announced several high-profile speaking engagements in the coming months. Executives from the firm will address construction and design trends as well as Skender’s innovative modular approach for multifamily housing, healthcare and hospitality projects. The speaking engagements include:

Tuesday, April 23
Illinois Institute of Technology – Kaplan Institute Speaker Series
Real Estate Development – Deconstructed
Speaker: Justin Brown, President
Location: Kaplan Institute, 3137 S. Federal Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Thursday, April 25
Corporate Realty, Design & Management Institute
Midwest Hospital, Outpatient Facilities & MOBs Summit
Speaker: Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer
Location: Matter, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1230, Chicago, IL 60654

Thursday, May 2
Healthcare Engineers Society of Northern Illinois (HESNI)
Drive the Future: Annual Conference
Speakers: Tim Swanson, CDO; Jeff Janicek, VP, Healthcare; Brian Simons, Project Executive
Location: NIU Conference Center, 1120 E. Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563

Thursday, May 2
DisruptCRE
DisruptCRE Chicago 2019
Speaker: Stacy Scopano, CTO
Location: 515 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Thursday, May 9
BuiltWorlds
Summit Chicago 2019
Speaker: Tim Swanson, CDO
Location: The Westin Chicago River North, 320 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Thursday, May 30
Bisnow
Chicago Construction & Development
Speakers: Mark Skender, CEO; Jenny Han, Director of Healthcare Design
Location: Skender Modular Factory, 3348 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60623

Wednesday, June 5
BuiltWorlds
Machines Chicago
Speaker: Angela Spadoni, Director of Residential Architecture
Location: The Westin Michigan Avenue, 909 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Wednesday, June 12
Metropolitan Planning Council
The Future of Affordable Housing
Speaker: Tim Swanson, CDO
Location: Little Italy | Chicago Public Library, 1336 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Thursday, June 20
REJournals
Healthcare and Medical Office Conference
Speaker: Jenny Han, Director of Healthcare Design
Location: Maggiano’s, 516 N. Clark Street, Chicago IL 60654

Wednesday, June 26
Bisnow
Chicago Hospitality Summit
Speaker: Tim Swanson, CDO
Location: TBD

Monday, August 19
Hanson Wade
Advancing Construction Technology 2019
Speaker: Stacy Scopano, CTO
Location: Swissotel Chicago, 323 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601

Tuesday, September 24
Bisnow
National Healthcare Midwest
Speaker: Jeff Janicek, VP, Healthcare
Location: Radisson Blu Aqua

Thursday, September 19-20
Chicago Build
Chicago Build 2019 Expo
Speaker: Shyam Telikicherla, Virtual Design Manager
Speaker: Tim Swanson, Chief Design Officer
Ambassador: Joy Perryman, Risk Manager
Location: McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Drive, Chicago IL 60616

Thursday, October 24
Bisnow
Chicago State of the Market
Speaker: Tim Swanson, CDO
Location: TBD

Tuesday, November 5
REJournals
Chicago Senior Housing Real Estate Conference
Speaker: Joseph Pecoraro, Project Executive
Location: Maggiano’s, 560 N Clark St

November (TBD)
Bisnow
The Big Midwest Multifamily Event
Speaker: TBD
Location: TBD

Skender Starts Interior Construction of Chicago HQ of Coworking Firm Spaces

The months-long redevelopment of the iconic former Sports Authority building at LaSalle and Ontario has achieved a significant milestone with an affiliate of Next Realty, the building’s owner, completing the base building renovations. Skender, serving as general contractor, will soon start the interior renovation of the future 8-story, 80,000-square-foot Chicago HQ of Spaces, a fast-growing coworking office space owned by IWG. Spaces is assuming full occupancy and will enjoy private access to the building’s roof terrace, which Skender is also renovating within the project scope.

Spaces is creating room for more than 500 business professionals from companies of all sizes to enjoy both desks for private heads-down work as well as collaborative space. The technology-rich office space will offer a wide range of amenities to foster community, creativity and growth, while retaining elements from the original building, like exposed brick and high, open ceilings on the first floor. The space features key gathering areas – including a first-floor café, gym space, large reception area, and a business café – conference rooms of varying size, private offices and open office workstation areas.

Skender is collaborating with Atlanta-based architect WB Interiors, Loring Engineers, owner’s representative Himes Associates and Spaces’ owner IWG to complete the project by September 2019. The roof terrace is being designed by local architect von Weise Associates.

“We are excited to begin work on our third location in Chicago,” said Michael Berretta, VP of Network Development, IWG. “Demand is strong for flexible workspaces in Chicago, and our new location gives the city’s talent pool a great place to work, outstanding amenities and membership to a thriving business community.”

Skender Signs Agreement with Z Modular for Use of VectorBloc System in New Chicago Factory

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm based in Chicago, today announced it has signed an agreement with Z Modular, a division of Zekelman Industries and leader in steel modular solutions.  Skender will use Z Modular’s self-bracing structural VectorBloc system to fabricate multifamily housing components in its soon-to-be-opened modular manufacturing factory on the southwest side of Chicago. Through its technologically advanced and ultra-efficient manufacturing process, Skender will produce high-quality, multi-story modular housing that addresses a critical affordable housing need in Chicago.

“Our goal is to revolutionize the delivery of multifamily, hospitality and healthcare projects through modular manufacturing,” said Pete Murray, president, Skender Manufacturing. “We are collaborating with Z Modular to develop the best steel-framed modular solutions in the country. The precision of the VectorBloc system gives us confidence that our modular components will go from design to on-site assembly and finishing with minimal variation, saving time and minimizing waste.”

The VectorBloc steel modular construction system provides exceptionally tight tolerances to ensure even stacking of the modules, which leads to structurally sound whole buildings. The Skender process, including the VectorBloc steel components, allows the design flexibility to create a variety of building formats. Skender will use VectorBloc to manufacture three-flat and mid-rise workforce housing buildings, among other applications.

“We are excited to see the potential of VectorBloc in action in modular production in Chicago,” said  Mickey McNamara, president of Z Modular. “The forward-thinking Skender team is bringing together thoughtful design, leading technology and our system to create scalable offsite manufacturing that will be the future of multifamily, hospitality and healthcare construction.”

Skender will use VectorBloc connectors in its production of accurate module frames that are 100% steel, allowing for greater longevity and durability than other materials. The modules will be outfitted and completed with most fixtures and finishes in the factory, then transported to the destination site, where Skender teams will assemble buildings that will be ready for occupancy significantly faster than traditional building methods. Skender estimates its modular manufacturing process will speed up construction by 40% and cut project costs by as much as 15%. For more information, visit https://www.skender.com/modular/.

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

About Z Modular

Z Modular is a one-stop shop for modular construction products and services. Z Modular’s proprietary self-bracing VectorBloc modular structural system helps construction companies, building owners and developers build stronger, taller, faster and with greater precision than previously possible. Z Modular is a division of Zekelman Industries, North America’s largest independent steel pipe and tube manufacturer. For more information, visit www.z-modular.com.

 

Home

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Skender Foundation’s new website! Thank you Pivot Design for another successful partnership. Check out our new look.

Skender Named a Best Place to Work in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business

Skender was recognized today as a best place to work on the Crain’s Chicago Business 2019 Best Places to Work list. Of the 100 finalists, Skender ranked No. 11 in the large companies category and No. 41 overall. With a focus on innovation, teamwork and efficiency, this is the fourth time in seven years that Skender has earned the Crain’s recognition; and makes over 26 best place to work awards (by multiple awarding bodies) in total over the last dozen years.

Since 2008, Crain’s has set out to find the local businesses rated highest by their employees for creating quality workplaces. Its survey and awards program are designed to identify, recognize and honor the 100 best companies to work for in the Chicago area. In a wide-ranging questionnaire, Crain’s asked about everything from workplace comforts to benefits and culture. 4,522 employees participated in the survey this year.

Collaboration is central to Skender’s character: from our commitment to building meaningful client relationships to our valued trade partnerships to our belief that every voice in our company has value. The result is a truly refreshing project experience for our clients, our partners and our employees.

Skender is always in search of great talent—learn more about our culture and see our open opportunities.

Skender CEO Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from University of Wisconsin–Madison Construction Club

Skender CEO Mark Skender was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Construction Club. This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have impacted the engineering and construction industries, demonstrated a commitment to excellence, and have shown an interest in developing students, the future leaders of the profession, throughout their career.

Mark is being recognized for his integral role in the development of Skender’s long-term vision, strategic direction, organizational design and values. With the recent opening of its 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chicago, Skender has successfully integrated construction, design and manufacturing all under the same brand. In this new facility, Skender is able to apply modular construction techniques to various healthcare, hotel and apartment projects.

Mark also helped pioneer Chicago’s Lean construction movement and speaks frequently on the subject. He is a founding member of the Lean Construction Institute’s Chicago Community of Practice.

Mark earned a bachelor’s degree from UW–Madison’s civil engineering program and holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Factory-based construction with no siloes starts with a single source of truth

What you see is not always what you get in the design and construction industry. This lack of transparency can be especially true when it comes to taking a development project from plans to groundbreaking.

Architect’s renderings and 3D models are just the beginning. The designs are then translated by contractors on site, who have to deal with the reality of material availability, budgets, weather, and human fallibility, among other real-time challenges. Using traditional industry practices, the final product may look different or cost more—or both—than what a client sees on the proverbial drawing board.

At Skender, we are using technology to streamline and bring transparency to the entire building process—designing a building, manufacturing it in a new factory, delivering it to a site where it will be assembled into a building, and finishing the construction. The combination of new software and our unified product manufacturing approach is allowing us to break down inefficient siloes. The technology that makes the most difference is our digital single source of truth.

“Where you live should not determine how long you live”: Inside the Illinois Medical District and West Side United

The Illinois Medical District (IMD), one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States, is a 560-acre region of Chicago that includes medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, universities, raw land development areas, four hospitals and more than 40 healthcare related facilities. Dr. Suzet McKinney, the CEO and Executive Director of the IMD, is a seasoned public health expert in the fields of emergency preparedness and natural disasters. She sits down with Skender Director of Healthcare Design Jenny Han to share more about how she got her start in public health and what led her from working on the Ebola outbreak to running the IMD.

Learn more about the IMD and an exciting new initiative the IMD is involved with, West Side United – a collaboration working to build community health and economic wellness on Chicago’s West Side.

 

About Suzet McKinney

Dr. Suzet M. McKinney currently serves as CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. She is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), where she oversaw the emergency preparedness efforts for the Department and coordinated those efforts within the larger spectrum of the City of Chicago’s Public Safety activities, in addition to overseeing the Department’s Division of Women and Children’s Health.

Dr. McKinney has earned a reputation as an experienced, knowledgeable public health official with exceptional communication skills. She has served as an on-camera media expert on emergency issues including biological and chemical threats, natural disasters, pandemic influenza, and climate-related emergencies. A sought-after expert in her field, she has also provided support to the U.S. Department of Defense’s, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, lending subject matter expertise in biological terrorism preparedness to the country of Poland.

Dr. McKinney serves on the Board of Directors for Susan G. Komen Chicago, Thresholds, and the African-American Legacy of the Chicago Community Trust. Dr. McKinney is Co-Chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), Health and Medicine Division’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies and is a member of the NASEM Board on Health Sciences Policy. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC).

In academia, Dr. McKinney serves as an Instructor in the Division of Translational Policy and Leadership Development at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for the Biomedical Sciences Careers Project, also at Harvard University. She is the co-author of the new text: Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Practical Solutions for the Real World (2018), and was named one of Chicago’s Notable Women in Healthcare (2018).

Dr. McKinney holds her Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She received her Master of Public Health degree (Health Care Administration) and certificates in Managed Care and Health Care Administration from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.

Skender Modular Doghouses & Birdhouses

As our manufacturing capabilities gets ever closer, we wanted to share the first items that will be coming off the line — modular doghouses & birdhouses!

Happy April Fools’!

Skender Advances Five to Senior Positions on Growing Operations Team

Skender, a Chicago-based construction, design and manufacturing firm, has been recognized as one of the industry’s top employers over the past decade, most recently as a finalist in the Crain’s Best Places to Work list for 2019. Further proving its commitment to continuous improvement of the firm and professional growth of its employees, Skender is pleased to announce the following individuals’ recent promotions on its expanding operations team:

Pete Conlin to Director of Field Operations from Senior Superintendent, Team Leader. Conlin joined Skender in 2011 and successfully completed several large-scale tech build-outs, including Motorola Mobility, Google, ConAgra Foods and GGP. Conlin continues to demonstrate his strong loyalty to Skender and his team, and currently plays an integral role in building out Skender’s new manufacturing facility prior to production start. In his new role, he will oversee all field operations of tenant improvement projects.

John Estes to Director of Field Operations from Senior Superintendent, Team Leader. Estes joined Skender in 2013 and has been a driving force behind Skender’s successful field operations at Northwestern Medicine. He has served as superintendent for numerous high-profile build-outs at Northwestern Medicine and, as team leader, helps guide Skender’s healthcare field operations teams. In his new role, Estes will oversee all field operations of healthcare projects.

Jeff Krause to Director of Field Operations from Senior Superintendent. Krause joined Skender in 2017 and has overseen field operations of Skender’s 14-story, 200-room Hyatt House hotel project in the Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago. Through his vast experience leading field operations of high- and mid-rise developments, Krause has led Skender’s team through the successful Hyatt House project that has consistently been ahead of schedule. In his new role, he will oversee all field operations of ground-up projects.

Brian Ribordy to Director of Field Operations from Senior Superintendent, Team Leader. Ribordy joined Skender in 2011. Prior to his current work at North Shore Place assisted living, Brian successfully completed the Woodlawn Station affordable housing project in Chicago and Grandbrier of Prospect Heights ground-up memory care and assisted living facility. He continues to demonstrate his expertise in managing ground-up projects in the affordable and senior living sectors. In his new role, Ribordy will oversee all field operations of multi-unit projects.

Dan Torres, CHST, STS-C, to Safety Director from SPQ Manager. Torres, who joined Skender in 2018, specializes in safety, production and quality with a mindset that each are interconnected and of equal importance. During Torres’ time as SPQ Manager, Skender won its sixth construction safety award since 2013. Another measure of safety in the construction industry is the experience modification rate (EMR), which calculates past cost of injuries and future chance of risk. As further evidence of an exceptional safety record, Skender’s EMR is 22 percent lower than the national average.

“These five individuals epitomize our core values and embody what it means to be a leader at Skender,” said Justin Brown, President. “Their enthusiasm and proven track record of driving successful projects in the field is unparalleled, and their ability to execute projects, meet deadlines and satisfy our clients is impressive. We are thrilled to announce their well-deserved promotions and look forward to their continued leadership over our field operations teams.”

Open Offices 2.0: What Came Next for Cars.com, an Early Adopter of the Open-plan Layout

The open office concept has been around for long time now. Companies that embraced the open office trend early are now moving into new spaces, as their staff sizes grow or they outlive their lease. One company, Chicago-based Cars.com, took the opportunity during a recent office upgrade to create a space even more open than their previous open office. Project Director Cathy Grable of Partners by Design delves into the Cars.com project with Skender Project Manager Mike Hightower. Together they discuss the project itself, and look at the state of office layout trends market-wide, with a focus on:
– Why Cars.com decided to go even more open with their office space
– What lessons Cars.com learned from their first open office, and how that informed their new space design
– What clients should know about when considering building an open office
– Whether there are industries where an open office layout might not be the right fit
– How a company’s culture shapes the design and layout of its office

About Cathy Grable:
As Project Director at Partners By Design, Cathy is directly involved in all project phases, from programming and design development through construction document preparation, construction administration, and management. During planning and design phases, she plays a pivotal role in developing the design concept and maintains a high degree of client contact to ensure that the client’s needs are met.
Cathy’s diverse experience with space planning and analysis, concept development, furnishings and finishes selection is reflected in her creative approach to each project. Her multidiscipline background enables her to quickly respond to client needs and tight project deadlines. Cathy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Environmental Design degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Chicago Design Firms Behind Braintree, Google Explain What Makes Tech Offices Unique

Unlike some other industries, tech companies have garnered a reputation for creating and maintaining outstanding offices, oftentimes putting unique design, personalization and comfort front and center.

Whether startup and tech companies are hiring artists to create company-branded murals or landscaping idyllic rooftop terraces outfitted with Wifi, they are prioritizing having an office that looks and feels good as they attract and retain talent.

But what goes into this process? How exactly are tech companies deciding the layout of their offices, the number of kitchens to add and the kinds of art they want on display?

Many Chicago tech founders and leaders have an idea of what they want their future offices to look like but still rely on the expertise of local firms like Partners by Design to help them bring their ideas to life.

To help make some of those more difficult construction decisions are contracting firms like Skender. The Chicago-based business has built offices for locally-based tech companies, such as ShopRunner, HERE Technologies, Braintree and Motorola Mobility. It has also built Facebook, Glassdoor and Google’s Chicago offices.

Clay Edwards, the vice president at Skender who runs the firm’s commercial interiors department, said the main difference he has noticed in working with startup and tech companies as opposed to established, corporate companies, is that they, of course, are typically on a budget.

“Until you are a publicly-traded tech company, it’s about making the numbers work while still trying to grow and attract talent,” he said.

While drafting an office layout for Chicago startup Upwork, Edwards helped the company make cost-cutting decisions.

“The big thing with Upwork was analyzing tons of different scenarios,” Edwards said. “Do we paint everything on the ceiling or do we leave it exposed? Because painting it comes with a cost.”

“Luckily in the tech world, sometimes leaving that raw, untouched space is attractive. Plus, it helps with the budget,” Edwards continued.

Another cost-cutter is opting for an open floor plan. Though the design has roots in fostering teamwork, Edwards said it has evolved into more of a money-saving mechanism, and that even corporate companies are now choosing the layout.

“The latest trend to go open office now by the corporate world is driven by cost of real estate, but when the tech world started it, it was driven by collaboration, interaction and working together,” Edwards said.

Though Edwards, who has worked in the contracting business for more than two decades, said he enjoys the glossy and polished designs of more traditional businesses, like law firms and banks, he still jumps at the opportunity to build a tech office.

“I like both sides of the equation,” he said. “But startups are fun, fast-paced and ever-changing.”

Read the full article at Chicago Inno.

Chicago’s multifamily market thriving, evolving

With all the activity going on in multifamily these days, many question what the next frontier of this asset class looks like. Yesterday morning, over 225 people had their questions answered at the 10th Annual Chicagoland Multifamily & Affordable Housing Real Estate Summit, hosted by REjournals.

Development, construction, design

Tritsis stayed on the dais to moderate the day’s final discussion, “Development, Construction, & Design Trends.” Joining him were Michael Hayford, director of Midwest business development, Kastle Systems; Connor Jansen, PE, LEED AP BD+C, senior project manager, ComEd Energy Efficiency; Prasan Kale, co-founder, Rise Buildings; Joe Pecoraro, project executive, Skender and Susan Tjarksen, managing director, Cushman & Wakefield.

Technology featured prominently in this discussion, including the idea that it shouldn’t be an afterthought in the development process. Design teams fret over countertop finishes, flooring options and paint colors, but tech should be a part of early conversations as well.

“From a design perspective, the earlier you can get involved, the cleaner your end product,” said Hayford. “One thing we run into, whether it’s market rate, affordable or high-end, the tail wags the dog.”

Kale agreed, adding that by not involving technology providers early, “You might end up undoing some of the stuff you did during construction.”

And technology shouldn’t be an afterthought, as it is one of the main drivers—if not the main driver—for many young tenants. Tjarksen argued that a building’s technology metrics are just as important as cap rates and NOI.

“As a business and as an industry, CRE is looking at technology wrong. It’s not a snap-on feature,” Tjarksen said. “In three years, we won’t be talking about technology in buildings, we will just be talking about the buildings.”

The conversation also turned to sustainability, a building trait that can attract certain tenants, but more importantly, can save owners and managers on operating costs. One approach to sustainability is Skender’s modular construction plan that will see fully finished building modules manufactured in a Chicago factory and delivered to the job site.

“Modular is the ultimate sustainable system, not because the steel is different, but because we are using less of it,” said Pecoraro. “When you throw away 20 percent of materials, who pays for that? The owners do.”

Read the full article at RE Journals.

Women Have Created Paths For Upward Growth In Construction. Now They’re Working On The Next Step

The world of commercial real estate underwent a revolution in the past decade. Although much progress is still needed to reach equality, the overwhelmingly male-dominated profession made room for women to join as project developers, brokers, property managers and other positions, and many women seized the opportunities presented to ascend to the C-suite.

But men still completely dominate outside the office. On construction sites, men constitute more than 90% of the labor force, working a set of high-paying, unionized jobs, ones that can provide a middle-class lifestyle without requiring a college degree.

Skender Named a Finalist for the 2019 Best Places to Work in Chicago

Skender has been named a finalist for the 2019 Best Places to Work in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business. This is the third time in six years that Skender has earned the Crain’s recognition; and makes over 25 best place to work awards (by multiple awarding bodies) in total over the last dozen years.

Since 2008, Crain’s has set out to find the local businesses rated highest by their employees for creating quality workplaces. Its survey and awards program are designed to identify, recognize and honor the 100 best companies to work for in the Chicago area. In a wide-ranging questionnaire, Crain’s asked about everything from workplace comforts to benefits and culture. 4,522 employees participated in the survey this year.

The winners’ rankings will be revealed on April 11 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

Skender CEO Receives BuiltWorlds Maverick Award

Skender announced today that Mark Skender has been selected as a 2019 BuiltWorlds Maverick Award winner. This annual list highlights innovative professionals in the AEC/RE space who are pushing the built industry forward. This year’s list of winners features 50 architects, engineers, technologists, contractors, real estate moguls, venture investors and urban designers from some of the leading companies around the world.

Mark has played an integral role in the development of Skender’s long-term vision, strategic direction, organizational design and values. He is the driving force behind Skender’s recent vertical integration and modular manufacturing facility, and a pioneer in Chicago’s Lean construction movement. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Other Maverick Award winners will be recognized at the 2019 Summit in Chicago in May, where Skender Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson will also be speaking.

Skender Wins Top Safety Award

Skender recently won an award for outstanding safety from the Great Lakes Safety Training Center, qualifying for the top division with over 500,000 hours worked and an exemplary safety record for 2018. #workplacesafety #safetytraining #safetyculture

Skender Wins Top Safety Award

Skender recently won an award for outstanding safety from the Great Lakes Safety Training Center, qualifying for the top division with over 500,000 hours worked and an exemplary safety record for 2018.

Every Skender project prioritizes safety, production and quality with a mindset that each are interconnected and of equal importance. As a result of our progressive approach, this honor marks the sixth construction safety award won by Skender since 2013. Another measure of safety in the construction industry is the experience modification rate (EMR), which calculates past cost of injuries and future chance of risk. As further evidence of an exceptional safety record, Skender’s EMR is 22 percent lower than the national average.

Women In Construction 2019

Hear from just a few of the many hard-working, talented, driven women who work here at Skender and continue to influence our industry.

When ConstrucTech Meets Manufacturing: A New World Order for Buildings

Consider all the people, materials and steps that take a building from concept to completion. Following design, an arguably dysfunctional bidding process begins, during which general contractors try to compress costs as much as possible without leaving too much on the table. To do so, they either sacrifice (a) margins or (b) quality to win the work. But what if those sacrifices didn’t have to be made? That’s the true potential when we marry the capabilities of advanced technology with modular manufacturing in a highly integrated approach. By applying efficiencies of scale and volume in a factory setting, neither quality nor price need to suffer on a construction project.

In the traditional building industry model, once the project is secured, it’s up to the various stakeholders — architects, planners, acquisitions experts, engineers, project managers, construction superintendents, and a multitude of subcontractors — to try to reconcile reality with the promised cost. Volume production can reduce these inefficiencies, and more importantly, change the need for each stakeholder’s decision making to be driven by maximizing for a single project.

Another frustrating aspect of the construction industry is the silos that persist between the various stakeholders. From designers to personnel onsite, each is solving for their own priorities and specialties. Compromises must be made and sometimes, they’re fraught.

Tech is Taking Us Far, But Not Far Enough

Technology and mobile connectivity have gone a long way toward fixing these problems. As iPads have gained widespread use on job sites over the past decade-plus, the flow of communication both upstream and downstream has never been easier or more prolific. Similarly, the number of startups and applications that target specific elements of the construction process has exploded since 2012 from two to more than 2,200.

Virtual reality, 3D digital blueprints and Building Information Modeling have also helped project teams better visualize and prepare for what they may encounter as they build. These innovations allow for near real-time adjustments that can be transparent to all. Yet, even with hyper-connectivity during the planning process, breakdowns continue to occur.

For example, raw material prices can suddenly be driven up by swings in tariff policies or supply shocks. Long run and short-term labor shortages also increase the uncertainty of resource plans. Investing in one area means taking away from another, or overextending the budget and taking a loss. But these unexpected events can be offset, in a model where volume production reduces risk.

A New Delivery Model

I recently joined Skender. We are using technology to make volume production possible. We are bridging design, manufacturing and construction, and we’re bringing it all under one roof, literally, in a new advanced manufacturing facility in Chicago. Here, we’ll take building components from the virtual state to the physical state. These modular units — which could be multifamily apartments, healthcare suites or other formats — are going to be shipped to a project site, where all that needs to happen is assembly.

Perhaps the biggest change is happening from the outset to that broken bidding process. We will not have to focus on the profitability of a single project because our model will allow us to apply efficiencies across many projects. We don’t have to sacrifice quality for price, because we’ll be shifting the recovery of costs across a larger portfolio of work, not maximizing allocations to a single project.

If my team and the technology we apply do their job, then they’ll be the underlying structure connecting every piece of a project and every person working on it. The inputs, experiences and outcomes of one project will inform each other. This does not mean cookie-cutter production. This model allows for myriad customization, and as changes are made, we will have a straight line connection to their cost impacts.

The new world order for construction is hyper-connectivity in planning and doing. As we apply this data from one project to 10, 100, and 1,000 more, we can truly benefit from economies of scale, add automation at points where it makes sense and produce aesthetically pleasing, high-quality buildings that can now finally be optimized for affordability.

This article was authored by Skender CTO Stacy Scopano and originally published by ENR.

The Many Paths to a Career in Architecture and Construction

There isn’t just one path through a career in architecture or construction, and each person’s career path is unique. Architect Korey White and construction project engineer Savanna Eaglen get together for a special Women in Construction Week episode to share their nontraditional paths to where they are now, and to give advice to young folks thinking about forging their own paths. Korey and Savanna dive into questions such as:

  • What does a typical path to becoming an architect look like, and what are the alternatives?
  • What is the AIA and how can young architects build leadership through the organization?
  • How do we draw new people with diverse backgrounds into the architecture/design/build fields?
  • Can you be an architect even if you aren’t a great designer?

About Korey White

Korey White is driven by her zest for the built environment, bringing open-mindedness and creativity to her role as an architect. Korey is always up for a challenge, using her unique skill set to help solve social issues through advocacy for how architecture can create healthy communities. She applies her dual master’s degrees in architecture and urban and regional planning from the University of Colorado Denver to an interdisciplinary approach that creates meaningful outcomes for her clients and the community. She currently works for DLR Group in the Chicago K-12 studio.

A 2018 AIA National Young Architect Award Recipient and 2017 BD+C 40 under 40 recipient, she has been recognized for her volunteer efforts advocating for the future of the profession, specifically promoting the National Design Services Act, federal legislation for student loan forgiveness. Additionally, Korey has volunteered on multiple National, State and Local AIA committees and boards, dedicated to advancing Emerging Professionals across the nation and fostering inclusiveness in firms, the AIA and the community at large.

When ConstrucTech Meets Manufacturing: A New World Order for Buildings

Consider all the people, materials and steps that take a building from concept to completion. Following design, an arguably dysfunctional bidding process begins, during which general contractors try to compress costs as much as possible without leaving too much on the table. To do so, they either sacrifice (a) margins or (b) quality to win the work. But what if those sacrifices didn’t have to be made? That’s the true potential when we marry the capabilities of advanced technology with modular manufacturing in a highly integrated approach.

Feeling grateful to share that Skender has been selected as a finalist for Interior Contractor…

Feeling grateful to share that Skender has been selected as a finalist for Interior Contractor of the Year at the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Commercial Real Estate Awards. In 2018, with the help of so many great partners, we successfully completed construction on three standout interior office projects in Chicago–HERE Technologies, Sterling Bay and C.H. Robinson. Winners to be announced on March 14!

CRE Future Leaders: Angela Spadoni

“That’s an easy one and the biggest reason I am at Skender. I hope to complete a multifamily housing project using modular/prefabricated construction in Chicago,” Skender’s Angela Spadoni AIA featured in a Q&A session for RE Journals’ CRE Future Leaders series.

CRE Future Leaders: Angela Spadoni

Angela Spadoni, AIA, recently joined Skender as director of residential architecture, where she oversees multifamily design projects, including the design of housing modules produced in Skender’s new Chicago manufacturing facility. She has more than 10 years of international and domestic experience, with an impressive background in multifamily, condominium, retail and high-rise design.

Strategic hire, new plant tee Skender up for maximum tech efficiencies

While weighed down by a skilled labor shortage, the construction industry’s low productivity relative to other industries comes down to its fundamentally fragmented structure. Design hands off to engineering hands off to construction, and so on.

Chicago-based Skender looks to close the gaps and eliminate the inefficiency associated with each handoff through a vertical integration of design, engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Is Chicago Still an Architectural Leader?

Is Chicago still producing work that is architecturally relevant? Skender’s Director of Residential Architecture, Angela Spadoni AIA, sits down with Doug Farr, FAIA, LEED AP, CNU-A of Farr Associates Architecture & Urban Design to chat about the past, present and future of architecture in Chicago. Tune into Skender’s first episode of Future Built, our new podcast.

Skender Named to Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for 2019

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm based in Chicago, has been named to Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019,” the publication announced today. This year, more than three dozen editors, reporters and contributors sought out the most notable innovations of the year in 35 industries and across every region of the world. They considered the impact of each company on both industry and the larger culture. Skender was ranked number 10 in the Architecture category.

“At Skender, we’ve always championed innovations and improvements that push our industry past the boundaries of what has ‘always’ been done,” said Mark Skender, CEO of Skender. “We’re honored to be included with such pioneering and inspiring companies from across all industries, that will truly shape the future of how we live and work around the world.”

In 2018, Skender built upon its 60-year history in the construction industry by launching a vertically integrated advanced manufacturing capability and acquiring a design team. At the firm’s new factory on Chicago’s southwest side, Skender will use emerging technologies to design, engineer and manufacture modular building components such as smart apartment and hotel units, and healthcare treatment rooms. The modules are built in the factory then assembled onsite, removing significant waste, risk, time and cost from the conventional construction process. The company expects to revolutionize the way housing, hospitality and healthcare spaces are built, making the process more efficient and less expensive while maintaining or exceeding the highest quality performances and aesthetics. Skender’s first modular productions will be rolled out in mid-2019.

Earlier this month, Skender also launched the Future Built podcast, featuring Skender leaders in conversation with other industry innovators about design, construction, technology, urban planning and other related topics.

The “World’s Most Innovative Companies” is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March-April 2019) is now available online at https://www.fastcompany.com/MIC, and will be available on newsstands nationwide beginning February 26.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

About Fast Company

Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies and thinkers on the future of business. Since 2011, Fast Company has received some of the most prestigious editorial and design accolades, including the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) National Magazine Award for “Magazine Of The Year,” Adweek’s Hot List for “Hottest Business Publication,” and six gold medals and 10 silver medals from the Society of Publication Designers. The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta and the publisher is Amanda Smith. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at www.fastcompany.com.

Skender Launches ‘Future Built’ Podcast Featuring Conversations with Industry Innovators

First Episodes Discuss Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards and the Architecture of Tomorrow

Skender announces today the launch of Future Built, a podcast featuring conversations with business leaders who are disrupting the way we think, the way we design and the way we build. On Future Built, Skender executives and experts will interview industry luminaries about high-profile innovations, projects and ideas at the intersection of design, construction, manufacturing and real estate.

The first two episodes are available now at www.skender.com/podcast/, including:

  • Master Planning in Focus: Discussing the Lincoln Yards Plan. Justin Brown, President and Partner at Skender, interviews Andy Gloor, Managing Principal at Sterling Bay, about Lincoln Yards, Sterling Bay’s ambitious riverfront development between Bucktown and Lincoln Park. The conversation addresses what’s special about the Lincoln Yards location and what considerations go into creating a master plan. [Listen Now]
  • Is Chicago Still an Architectural Leader? Angela Spadoni, Director of Residential Architecture at Skender, interviews Doug Farr, FAIA, LEED AP, President at Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design about the future of Chicago architecture. The episode addresses Chicago’s past, present and future of architectural leadership and how architects everywhere can bring their work into the 21st century. [Listen Now]

“We’re excited to share our enthusiasm about the future of the built environment with our guests and listeners who are also invested in continuous improvement of the industry,” said Mark Skender, CEO at Skender. “As we continue on our path of disrupting the industry with modular building and the integration of design, manufacturing and construction, we look forward to learning more about how our colleagues around the industry are blazing their own trails on Future Built.”

Future Built episodes will be 15-30 minutes long and be posted approximately every other week. Episodes will be available for listening at www.skender.com/podcast/ and other third-party platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and Spotify. Follow Skender on LinkedIn to catch the latest episode right after it goes live.

Skender Continues to Expand Manufacturing Team

Skender today announced the appointment of two manufacturing industry veterans with more than 35 years of combined experience. The two new hires are the latest additions to the Skender manufacturing leadership team. Skender’s advanced manufacturing facility in southwest Chicago produces modular components that Skender constructs into multifamily, healthcare and commercial buildings.

Scott Massa has joined Skender as engineering manager. Massa spent the last 15 years developing product and manufacturing processes at Hendrickson. His broad product and process engineering experience includes garnering two U.S. patents with three others pending. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky.

David Speelman, CPA, has joined Skender as plant controller. Previously, Speelman managed multiple functions during 23 years as a controller at New Archery Products. Prior to that, he was a partner at Jack A. Folkerts and Company. Speelman holds an B.S. in accountancy from Trinity Christian College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois.

As part of its vertical integration and modular building announcement in March 2018, Skender launched a manufacturing company that is scheduled to be fully operational in spring 2019. The company already has a pipeline of modular projects, including a workforce housing development underway in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Skender is designing and producing the apartment modules, and will construct the 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot, six-story building. Skender anticipates the production and construction process to be completed within a seven-month timetable.

Master Planning in Focus: Discussing the Lincoln Yards Plan with Sterling Bay’s Andy Gloor

Lincoln Yards is Sterling Bay’s ambitious riverfront development of formerly industrial land between Bucktown and Lincoln Park. Sterling Bay Managing Principal Andy Gloor and Skender President Justin Brown sit down together to preview the Lincoln Yards project, sharing insights into:

What’s special about the Lincoln Yards location
What considerations go into creating a master plan
Why this project is meaningful to Andy
And much more

About Andy Gloor

Andy Gloor is the Managing Principal of Sterling Bay, a fully-integrated, owner/operator real estate investment and development company based in Chicago. Since joining the firm in 2002, Andy has grown the business to over 200 professionals. He led Sterling Bay to pioneer the urban model of innovation districts in Chicago and anchor its developments with top companies.

Under Andy’s leadership, Sterling Bay, over the last decade alone, has acquired or developed a diverse portfolio of 55 properties totaling $3.6 billion and currently owns 12 million square feet of assets including Prudential Plaza, a 2.3 million square foot marquee office complex, and 600 W Chicago, a 1.6 million square foot creative office property anchored by Groupon.

Prior to joining the company, Andy was a Managing Director at Insignia/ESG where he completed over five million square feet of commercial real estate transactions. He earned a BA in Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is a licensed Managing Broker in Illinois. Andy is actively involved with Misericordia, a local Chicago organization supporting persons with developmental disabilities. He also sits on the board of Cara, a Chicago non-profit helping to break the cycle of homelessness.

Learn more about Lincoln Yards here.

Do Legacy Construction Companies Have the Inside Track on Modular Building?

Fresh-faced, tech-oriented startups get most of the attention in the modular-building world, but despite their “it” factor, they’re still startups. Is there a market share in modular just waiting for companies with the approach and know-how that come with legacy experience?

Chicago-based legacy construction company Skender has been researching modular construction for years and is now getting in the game. In late November 2018, it invited a gaggle of reporters and industry representatives to its 106,000-square-foot factory space on Chicago’s southwest side for a look at its prototype modular apartment. When the new venture is up and running, the company pledges to employ 100 people to produce 2,500 modules per year, at a rate 30 to 40 percent faster and at a cost 10 to 20 percent less than traditional construction.

The apartment prototype was made traditionally with a series of subcontractors, but the Skender production line will operate radically differently, says CEO Mark Skender: “It’s all Skender labor, buying directly from the supply chain.” There will be no subcontractors. Parts and components will ship to the site or be made and modified there.

Skender Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson has a simple mandate for the company’s successful push into modular construction: “If there’s a tape measure or a saw on the factory floor, we did it wrong,” he says. “This is not an indoor construction site.” The factory will be an assembly line for unit modules to be fabricated, outfitted, and shipped to the site, where they will be stacked into buildings and finished for occupancy.

Skender is proposing a unified process that allows for flexibility and mass customization, including variable MEP systems, facades, and interior finishes. But the steel base chassis will be the same and will arrive on each building site with the flooring, paint, and fixtures already in place.

Continue reading the full article at Redshift by Autodesk.

Skender Hires Scopano as Chief Tech Officer

Skender has hired Stacy Scopano as chief technology officer. Along with ensuring that the company is continually evolving its technological capabilities, his new role will include oversight of the advanced manufacturing technology underlying the operations of Skender’s manufacturing facility, which will produce modular building components.

Most recently, Scopano was VP of innovation at Skanska USA, the American arm of the multinational construction and development firm, where he was charged with developing a companywide culture of innovation, and facilitated various R&D efforts. Prior to Skanska, he was the senior strategist for building construction at Autodesk.

Office Wellness Has To Begin Long Before Move-In

Articles on office wellness are filled with tips and tricks on how to plan corporate outings, the benefits of yoga or whether to offer pretzels or fruit. While wellness initiatives like these may increase job satisfaction somewhat, many fail to address one sticking point. Employees can’t just be happy while exercising at a company-subsidized gym or having a snack — they need to be happy while hard at work.

A commitment to wellness has to begin long before a company moves into a new space, with the design and construction of the office itself. Environmental factors like office layout, lighting and noise levels can have profound effects on employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity.

“Office wellness can’t just be an afterthought — it needs to pervade the entire process as companies choose a building, plan the office and work with contractors,” Skender Vice President Clay Edwards said. “Design decisions have to be made early, so it’s crucial to bring in a general contractor that can quickly set goals and calculate costs.”

Design is the central issue of office wellness. Since the layout of an office will impact every day of employees’ lives, Edwards said companies that have wellness in mind need to make the right choices to avoid falling into an open office trap.

The last true revolution in office design was the open office. In the early 2000s, technology companies began to eliminate grids of cubicles in favor of airy layouts that clumped desks together. And while the stated goal may have been a more collaborative workspace, the real reason for open office was to cut costs, Edwards said.

“Corporate America latched onto the open office trend mainly as a way to save on square footage, not to promote collaboration,” Edwards said. “Now they’ve crammed too many people into too small a space. All that noise and clutter can seriously hurt productivity and happiness.”

In order to preserve productivity, open offices require other design elements, including dedicated quiet work spaces and multi-use communal spaces. For quiet spaces, Edwards suggested having breakout rooms for two or more people, a central quiet workspace like a library and single-person workspaces that are better lit and decorated than traditional phone rooms.

Along with these quiet spaces, Edwards suggested companies build a single large communal area, separate from workspaces. Part kitchen, part meeting room and part event space, these areas can bring employees together for spontaneous interactions that don’t distract people at their desks.

“At the Skender offices, we have what we call the Hub, and it’s really the focal center of the office,” Edwards said. “It’s a place that’s meant to be active and boisterous — it feels outside the day-to-day grind, and it’s where creativity happens. Plus, it means that loud interpersonal meetings aren’t happening in desk areas.”

But wellness does not stop with the initial layout — office finishes have a large impact on how employees feel about their workspaces and employer. Preserving the original feel of a space can make employees feel that they work somewhere unique.

“Exposed finishes are getting more and more popular here in Chicago, since we have so much architectural history to celebrate,” Edwards said. “In loft-style buildings in neighborhoods like Fulton Market, companies now want to leave the original exposed brick. And in high-rises, we are seeing requests for brick veneer to get that kind of raw look.”

Edwards said he sees growing demand for finishes like raw concrete floors and recycled wooden accents. Fortunately, many of these trendy finishes also happen to be very sustainable, which can help employees know that their office is not just beautiful, but also environmentally friendly.

Materials like wood and concrete are also cost-effective — Edwards said finding savings is important to keep wellness a priority.

“When it comes to wellness design, companies will often make a list of everything they want, without actually pricing it out,” Edwards said. “Then they see the bill and slash it all and forget about their goals.”

Bringing in contractors, designers and engineers early in the process can help companies know which decisions are cost-effective and which are not, and can help to keep wellness design goals.

“These decisions can’t happen in a vacuum,” Edwards said. “Companies need to get their team together as soon as possible and design wellness to a target budget.”

This article was originally published by and in collaboration with Bisnow.

“If you do an open office right, you’re going to have about the same square…

“If you do an open office right, you’re going to have about the same square footage as a traditional office, because you have to have places to put your head down and work, collaborative areas, and a central gathering area” – Skender VP and Partner Clay Edwards shares insight on Chicago’s coolest offices, at today’s Bisnow Chicago State of the Office event.

Chicago State of Office

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s Bisnow Chicago State of Office event! Join us to see Skender VP and Partner Clay Edwards share his thoughts about creative office trends.

Skender Hires Stacy Scopano as Chief Technology Officer

Skender, a vertically integrated design, construction and manufacturing firm based in Chicago, today announced it has hired Stacy Scopano as chief technology officer. Scopano will be charged with ensuring Skender is continually evolving its technological capabilities and integrating industry-leading innovations across the company.

Scopano’s new role will also include oversight of the advanced manufacturing technology underlying the operations of Skender’s manufacturing facility. The factory will produce modular building components, including smart apartment units and healthcare pods, in Spring 2019, using a technology-based model that replaces traditional blueprints and building plans. Scopano brings experience working with a broad spectrum of technologies used by the real estate, architecture, engineering and construction industries to develop and implement new strategies in an increasingly complex environment.

“We’re thrilled to bring Stacy’s industry and technical knowledge, commitment to innovation, and enthusiasm for new ideas to Skender,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “As we continue to use technology to revolutionize the building process and our manufacturing capabilities, Stacy’s experiences will be invaluable to our success. His entrepreneurial spirit and solution-oriented approach is an ideal fit for the award-winning culture we’ve built.”

Most recently, Scopano was vice president of innovation at Skanska USA, the American arm of the multinational construction and development firm, based in its Atlanta office. There, he was responsible for developing a companywide culture of open innovation, while facilitating various research and development efforts.

Prior to Skanska, Scopano was the senior strategist for building construction at Autodesk, Inc. where he partnered with the global construction community to identify, develop and deliver innovative digital workflows. He has served as a past chairman of technology for the AGC BIMForum and was a former board member of the National Institute of Building Sciences Offsite Construction Council. Currently he sits on the advisory board of Smartcityworks.IO, an incubator and accelerator focused on disruptive startups in the built environment. He holds a degree in economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Is Chicago Still an Architectural Leader?

Chicago has long been known as a global leader in architecture. From the birth of the skyscraper in the late 19th century through the development of modernism in the 1960s by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and others, Chicago has led the way on redefining the way buildings are made.

But is Chicago still producing work that is architecturally relevant? Skender’s Director of Residential Architecture, Angela Spadoni, sits down with Doug Farr to chat about the past, present, and future of architecture in Chicago. Doug is the founding principal and president of Chicago-based Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design. He is also author of Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future, a guidebook for people working to create impactful, decarbonized communities. Doug shares his thoughts on where Chicago is now and what architects everywhere can do to bring their work into the 21st century.

About Doug Farr
Doug Farr is the founding principal and president of Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design, a Chicago-based firm of optimistic architects and urban designers who plan and design lovable, aspirational buildings and places. He is a published author who lectures widely on the topics of urbanism and sustainability. A native Detroiter, Doug was the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED-ND Core Committee and has served on the boards of urban sustainability organizations including the Congress for New Urbanism, Bioregional, EcoDistricts, and Elevate Energy.

Doug is the author of Sustainable Urbanism, an urban planning best-seller, with a new follow-up, Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future. To implement the ideas found in Sustainable Nation, he launched The Pattern Project in 2018, a Farr Associates initiative to accelerate change and promote decarbonization strategies. In 2017, Planetizen readers named him one of “the 100 most influential urbanists of all time.”

Current Projects: Prefab Design on the Rise

Join us at the Chicago Architecture Center on Tuesday, Feb. 12 to hear Skender Chief Design Officer Timothy Swanson detail the exciting work underway to transform modular, prefab construction in Chicago.

Skender Completes Construction of Aspen Dental Midwest Headquarters

Skender, serving as interior construction manager, has completed construction of Aspen Dental’s new 50,000-square-foot Midwest headquarters. Aspen Dental, an East Syracuse, New York-based company that provides administrative and business support to branded dental practices, has relocated to the art deco building vacated by Sterling Bay at 1040 W. Randolph.

To accommodate a practice support center and 250 newly created jobs, Aspen Dental’s two-story buildout includes a state-of-the-art training center for corporate employees, including private virtual training studios; three large training rooms with movable partitions; and an audiovisual media wall with interactive digital signage. Additional features include a custom millwork coffee bar, open café and catering kitchen space used for training and company events. A custom concrete reception desk shaped like the firm’s logo anchors the large space. The new practice support center will house a learning and development center for dentists around the country whose practices operate under the Aspen Dental brand.

Skender collaborated with architecture firm Perkins+Will to complete the project in January.

Office Wellness Has To Begin Long Before Move-In

Articles on office wellness are filled with tips and tricks on how to plan corporate outings, the benefits of yoga or whether to offer pretzels or fruit. While wellness initiatives like these may increase job satisfaction somewhat, many fail to address one sticking point. Employees can’t just be happy while exercising at a company-subsidized gym or having a snack — they need to be happy while hard at work.

Office Wellness Has To Begin Long Before Move-In

When it comes to wellness in the office, there are many design and construction considerations. Skender’s Clay Edwards walks Bisnow readers through the process and several popular wellness options.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of Upwork HQ

Skender, serving as construction manager, has completed construction of Upwork’s new 34,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters. Upwork, a digital platform for freelancers, has relocated to 525 W. Van Buren from its former space at 224 N. Desplaines.

To accommodate its growing, 100+ person enterprise sales team, Upwork’s interior renovation included an open café, server room, virtual reception area, open office concept for workstations, and an executive suite. The open floor plan features a wood slat ceiling in the café and thin brick installation in the executive suite and game room to capture West Loop aesthetics, as well as high-end millwork it the reception area. The 11th floor space allows for future expansion to 242 workstations, and Upwork plans to build out an additional 34,000 square feet for use in 2020.

Skender collaborated with architecture firm SCB, engineering firm Syska Hennessy Group and owner’s representative Cresa to complete the project in December.

Skender Completes Office Headquarters for ShopRunner in Chicago

Skender has completed construction of ShopRunner’s new 25,000-square-foot headquarters in Chicago. The e-commerce start-up company has relocated to 350 N. Orleans St. from 350 N. LaSalle St. The new office has full Wi-Fi capabilities, eliminating the need for data cabling.

Skender Completes First Data Cable-Free HQ for ShopRunner

Skender, serving as interior construction manager, has completed construction of ShopRunner’s first data cable-free HQ at 350 N. Orleans. Kudos to our collaborators Partners by Design and ConopCo Project Management on a successful project!

Skender Completes First Data Cable-Free HQ for ShopRunner

Skender, serving as interior construction manager, has completed construction of ShopRunner’s new 25,000-square-foot corporate headquarters. ShopRunner, a Chicago-based, multi-retailer e-commerce start up, has relocated to 350 N. Orleans from its former space at 350 N. LaSalle.

To accommodate a newly consolidated team, ShopRunner added numerous technologically forward features to its new office space, including 100% WiFi capabilities, eliminating the need for data cabling. The open floor plan features a town hall space and large conference room that can combine to allow for all-hands meetings and events. The space also features three 98” televisions and an audio-visual system that accommodates video conferencing as well as large presentations.

Skender collaborated with Partners by Design and ConopCo Project Management to complete the project in December 2018.

3 Top Trends Show Green-Building Technology on the Rise

The Johnson Controls Asia-Pacific headquarters in Shanghai, China, is one of the most sustainable corporate complexes in Asia. In the summer of 2017, the campus opened as the first building in China to earn three green certifications: LEED NC Platinum, the World Bank’s EDGE, and China’s own Green Building Design Label.

Although just one example, the Johnson Controls building is indicative of a larger move toward green building worldwide. According to the World Green Building Trends 2018 report, three emerging trends in green-building technology are advancing the sustainability revolution in architecture: energy-analysis tools used at every stage, the promise of generative design, and the use of data from design through the building’s entire lifecycle.

Dodge Data & Analytics, publisher of the report, surveyed more than 2,000 architecture, engineering, and construction professionals and found global growth in green-building projects: 47 percent of industry professionals expect more than 60 percent of their projects to be “green” by 2021.

NBBJ, one of the architecture firms surveyed for the report, takes green building quite literally for its project The Spheres (Amazon’s new Seattle office complex)—its interconnected steel-and-glass domes form a conservatory for more than 40,000 plants from the world’s cloud forests. However, the report defines “green” projects as including, at a minimum, efficient use of resources; waste and pollution reduction; high indoor-air quality; and as much renewable energy, nontoxic and sustainable materials, occupant quality of life, and environmental adaptation as possible.

Many incentives now entice architecture and construction firms to create buildings that meet those requirements. Owners are seeing a 10 percent or greater increase in asset value for new green buildings compared to traditional ones—as well as decreased operating costs and a shorter payback period. Survey respondents were also much less concerned with the higher cost of green building, with only 49 percent of them citing it as a factor, compared to 76 percent in 2012.

Continue reading the full article at Redshift by Autodesk.

An ambitious plan to change how we build housing

Just beyond the snowy streets and neatly packed three-flats of Chicago’s southwest side, the factory at 3348 South Pulaski appears like a low gray monolith, spanning nearly 10 normal blocks and serving as a boundary between the residential neighborhood and the city’s industrial freight hub.

Inside, the Chicago general contractor Skender is setting up what amounts to an apartment factory: An assembly line that will crank into gear in the spring, producing standardized apartment units ready to be bolted into a steel-framed stack on a building site. Modular construction is more than a century old, and in contemporary America, it’s seen mixed success–but the 63-year-old general contractor, which launched a separate entity for its modular arm, Skender Manufacturing, last year, believes the technology is worth investing in.

On a recent afternoon, its executives showed off the company’s first prototype: A white-walled one-bedroom (fully furnished with a Nest thermostat, Crate and Barrel 2 platform bed, and scent diffuser) that glowed like a beacon on the otherwise darkened factory floor. When the first apartments come off the line next year, they’ll be transported only a few miles away for assembly on a 110-unit condo building in the city’s West Loop. After that, the company plans to begin production on a three-flat design and healthcare-focused hospital rooms.

The promise of the factory is twofold: The company believes it will cut construction costs by as much as 15%, and speed up construction by as much as 40%. “It shifts the mentality” away from the conventional building process, where a developer hires an architect, an engineer, and a contractor, and then the contractor hires out subcontractors, says CEO Mark Skender. That traditional workflow makes it easy to miscommunicate and to shift blame when things do go wrong, which can lead to lengthy delays, budget overruns, and litigation. “What we’re looking to do is, ‘Here’s this building, with its features and its benefits, and we will deliver that for X.’ It’s a product-based mentality that shifts the paradigm on the way we deliver buildings.”

Skender isn’t the first company to open a modular construction factory in a major American city over the past few years. There have been other attempts to make the dream of modular housing a reality with mixed results. A high-profile 2011 project designed by SHoP Architects that aimed to build the tallest modular tower in the world in downtown Brooklyn–at what, in retrospect, looks like an absurd estimate of 70% cost and speed savings compared to a conventional tower–was embroiled for years in disputes and other issues. Ultimately the developer, Forest City Ratner, sold off its prefab business altogether. Still, other modular builders have had success with smaller-scale projects, and the company Katerra has raised $1 billion to fund its efforts around modular housing.

Continue reading the full article at Fast Company.

The Future of Fulton Market Lies in New Office Towers, Not Renovated Industrial Lofts

The first wave of major development in the Fulton Market neighborhood is coming to an end, but a new one is just beginning.

Sterling Bay set off the development explosion when it bought 1000 West Fulton, a cold storage building that towered over the once-industrial area west of the Loop, in 2012 for $12M and by 2015 transformed it into 1KFulton, the regional headquarters of Google. The influential tech firm’s arrival signaled that Fulton Market had become a true office submarket.

“That gave everyone the green light,” Skender Vice President Clayton Edwards said.

His firm recently built out a number of Fulton Market office spaces, and  Edwards will be a featured speaker at Bisnow’s State of the Office event Feb. 14, which will explore what the future holds for the West Loop.

Developers renovated many of the industrial loft buildings around 1KFulton, which were quickly populated with creative users.

Much of that renovation work is done, and developers have now kicked off construction on a set of new office towers, including ones built on spec, that will continue the neighborhood boom by placing more traditional users alongside Fulton Market’s creative and high-tech pioneers.

McDonald’s decision to abandon its suburban Oak Brook campus in favor of a new 490K SF Fulton Market office building developed by Sterling Bay late last spring was a signal, from an iconic traditional business, that the neighborhood was seen in a new light.

Continue reading the full article at Bisnow.

A Tour of Skender’s Elegant Chicago Office

Skender, a construction company that offers design, construction, and manufacturing services, hired architecture and interior design firm Perkins+Will to design their new office in Chicago, Illinois.

7 trends that will shape commercial construction in 2019

Is a trend really a trend if it repeats year after year? That’s a valid concern in the commercial construction world. For a competitive and fragmented industry that happens to be resistant to some of the rapid evolution noted in others, participants and observers are continually seeing some of the same glacial movements take center stage.

For example, the skilled labor shortage that has roiled the country isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, despite increased educational and outreach programs. Automation, drones and increasingly comprehensive technology solutions are infiltrating projects one jobsite at a time. Offsite building is becoming more and more prevalent to guard against safety hazards on a worksite and deliver projects faster, cheaper and more efficiently. Mitigating risk is still possibly the most important aspect of a successful job.

But for those trying to glean more information about what’s around the corner to predicate ways it could affect the safety of their workers and the health of their bottom lines, it’s important to pay more attention to the nuances of these big trends. Read on for the seven biggest factors to watch this year.

Modular construction heights increasing

The modular construction market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% from $112.4 billion today to $157 billion by 2023. And buildings constructed through offsite, prefabricated modular units are stacking increasingly taller.

Prescient, for example, topped its buildings out at five stories until 2015. Continual refinement of its technology, however, allows the company to now erect buildings up to 18 stories. Its average project square footage has similarly exploded, more than tripling from 60,000 square feet in 2015 to 200,000 square feet today.

Continue reading the full article at Construction Dive.

Skender promotes five to leadership board

Underscoring its commitment to an award-winning employee culture that fosters talent and innovation, Skender announced the promotions of five key leaders. Jeff Janicek was named vice president and partner while Brian Bukowski, Joe Pecoraro, Tim Rogers and Brian Simons, CHC have been elevated to project executive and partner.

Skender Promotes Five to Leadership Board

Skender is pleased to announce five key leaders have been promoted to partner. Congratulations Brian Bukowski, Jeffrey Janicek, Joseph Pecoraro, Tim Rogers and Brian Simons!

Skender Promotes Five to Leadership Board

Underscoring its commitment to an award-winning employee culture that fosters talent and innovation, Skender is pleased to announce five key leaders have been promoted to partner:

Brian Bukowski to Project Executive and Partner. Since joining Skender in 2007, Bukowski has been integral to the growth of the firm’s interiors team, specifically in the technology sector. He is responsible for helping lead large-scale tech office projects for Skender, most notably Google and Motorola Mobility. He oversees multiple interior construction teams and mentors Skender’s next generation of unrivaled talent. Bukowski earned a Bachelor of Science in building construction management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Jeff Janicek, CHC, to Vice President and Partner. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Janicek has played an instrumental role in expanding Skender’s healthcare portfolio since joining the firm in 2015. As Vice President of Skender’s healthcare group, he is responsible for cultivating relationships with major Chicago-area health systems. Janicek earned a Bachelor of Science in construction engineering from Bradley University.

Joe Pecoraro to Project Executive and Partner. Since joining the firm in 2005, Pecoraro has played an instrumental role in driving Skender’s Lean-focused culture. As a leading adopter of Lean construction, Pecoraro utilizes its principles in his work in the multifamily residential, affordable housing and senior living sectors. He oversees Skender’s multi-unit housing team and has spoken for a national audience as part of the Lean Construction Institute. Pecoraro earned a Master of Science in project management from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Tim Rogers to Project Executive and Partner. Since joining the firm in 2010, Rogers has led numerous interior construction teams on award-winning buildouts, including Capital One, Morningstar, Mead Johnson and others. Rogers’ dedication to success and client service includes running jobs on the West Coast and in Chicago. Rogers oversees multiple interiors teams at Skender and is recognized for mentorship and talent development. He earned a Bachelor of Science in building construction management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Brian Simons, CHC, to Project Executive and Partner. Since 2007, Simons has played an instrumental role in driving Skender’s Lean-focused culture for healthcare clients and expanding the firm’s healthcare portfolio. Simons oversees a team of more than 20 healthcare construction professionals and manages numerous relationships with major Chicago health systems. Simons earned a Bachelor of Science in construction engineering and management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“These five individuals embody what it means to be both a leader and a teammate at Skender,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “Their enthusiasm and proven track record of driving Skender’s revolutionizing vision is unparalleled, and their work in expanding their respective markets’ footprints in healthcare, multifamily and interiors is invaluable. We are thrilled to announce their well-deserved partnerships at Skender. I am personally looking forward to their continued contributions to the company’s strategic initiatives and growth.”

As partners, these five individuals will continue to lead their teams and focus their operational efforts on market expansion. They join their colleagues Mark Skender, Chief Executive Officer; Justin Brown, President; Lisa Latronico, Vice President, People & Culture; Afshan Barshan, Executive Vice President; Dan Marijan, Executive Vice President; and Clay Edwards, Vice President on Skender’s leadership board.

The Future of Fulton Market Lies in New Office Towers, Not Renovated Industrial Lofts

The first wave of major development in the Fulton Market neighborhood is coming to an end, but a new one is just beginning.

Sterling Bay set off the development explosion when it bought 1000 West Fulton, a cold storage building that towered over the once-industrial area west of the Loop, in 2012 for $12M and by 2015 transformed it into 1KFulton, the regional headquarters of Google. The influential tech firm’s arrival signaled that Fulton Market had become a true office submarket.

“That gave everyone the green light,” Skender Vice President Clayton Edwards said.

Belinda Moore Promoted to Executive Director of Skender Foundation

Skender Foundation recently announced the promotion of Belinda Moore to executive director. In her new role, she is responsible for developing and implementing the foundation’s vision and strategic plan. Moore has been integral to Skender Foundation’s growth since the organization’s inception in 2012, most recently serving as associate executive director since June 2017.

In her tenure with Skender Foundation, Moore also served as volunteer committee chair and member of the Builders’ Board, a subcommittee of Skender Foundation comprising philanthropic-minded leaders working together to inspire positive, sustainable change in Chicago. Previously, Belinda held multiple accounting and administrative roles for Skender, one of the nation’s largest building contractors.

Moore will continue to oversee the planning and execution of events; direct program and committee implementation; coordinate volunteer opportunities; and lead the approval process for grant applications.

“Belinda has been a vital contributor to the foundation’s development and success over the past seven years,” said Cheryl Skender, Skender Foundation Chair and President. “Her passion for giving back to the community will continue to drive the foundation’s vision: to perpetuate the legacy of giving.”

2018 was an unprecedented year for Skender Foundation, reinforcing its mission to perpetuate the legacy of giving. It began with the launch of Skender Foundation’s first endowment fund, which will involve an impactful, financial contribution of $150,000 over the course of three years to VOCEL, a nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood education.

The foundation raised $380,000 at its annual summer fundraiser, Summer Eclipse, and also hosted Skender’s annual volunteer day in September, which saw record attendance and output — producing wood wall panels for two homes benefiting underserved communities via the Appalachia Service Project. The Skender Foundation Board of Directors added two new members and a record number of dollars were raised at the Builders’ Board annual fall event, Harvesting Hope, benefiting Purple Asparagus.

Skender Starts 100,000-SF Renovation for Perspectives Charter Schools

Skender recently started construction on the conversion of the 100,000-square-foot former Soft Sheen building at 8522 S. Lafayette into a middle and high school for Perspectives Charter Schools.

Founded in 1997, Perspectives Charter Schools (PCS) is one of the first charter schools in Illinois. Today, PCS manages five open enrollment, tuition-free public schools serving students in grades 6-12 in the communities of Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, South Loop and now Chatham.

The project includes interior and exterior alterations to an existing two-story steel framed structure with masonry exterior. Once complete, the charter school will include STEM forward classrooms, a monumental staircase that will also serve as seating for an auditorium, two large gymnasiums and potentially an athletic field.

Serving as general contractor, Skender is working in collaboration with Perkins + Will and ConopCo Project Management to complete the project by August 1, 2019, providing a new, healthy and productive school environment in time for PCS students to enjoy for the fall semester.

Skender Advances Five to Senior Positions

We are pleased to announce five promotions to senior positions on our growing operations team! Congratulations to Nestor Acance, Thomas Boehm, Bob Kedzorski, Jeff Reist and Dave Ruzich on your well-deserved new roles.

Skender Advances Five to Senior Positions

In its commitment to continuous improvement and professional growth, Skender is pleased to announce the following individuals’ recent promotions to senior positions on its growing operations team:

Nestor Acance to Senior Superintendent from Superintendent. Acance, who joined Skender in 2017, recently completed a 20,000-SF renovation at the Latin School of Chicago and is currently working on the 85,000-SF training center addition and renovation for Chicagoland Laborers’ Union.

Tom Boehm to Senior Superintendent from Superintendent. Boehm joined Skender in 2017 and successfully completed the 150,000-SF build-out for Cars.com prior to his current 37,500-SF interior buildout work at a real estate investment company.

Bob Kedzorski to Senior Project Manager from Project Manager. Kedzorski joined Skender in 2016 and most recently helped lead Skender’s successful completion of the 225,000-SF restack project for HERE Technologies’ new Americas headquarters in Chicago.

Jeff Reist to Senior Project Manager from Project Manager. Reist joined Skender in 2015 and managed multiple West Coast projects for Fletcher Jones, in addition to the Science of Spirituality in Lisle, Illinois, and Perspectives Charter School on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Dave Ruzich to Senior Superintendent from Superintendent. Ruzich joined Skender in 2016 and successfully completed the 45,000-SF Midtown Crossing Apartments in Des Plaines, Illinois, prior to his current work at Perspectives Charter School.

Each of these individuals embodies Skender’s core values of building proactive and positive partnerships with all clients,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “As we begin 2019 with bright prospects, Nestor, Tom, Bob, Jeff and Dave will certainly contribute to our continued success.”

This May Well Be What The Future Of Construction Looks Like

Modular building has been an intriguing promise for construction companies for decades, but the industry has seen a lot of ups and downs. With its new prototype for a modular smart apartment building, Chicago firm Skender might have cracked the code.

Skender chairman, Joseph Skender, to retire after 40 years

Joseph Skender, chairman of the board of directors at Chicago-based Skender, has announced his retirement and will take on the title of chairman emeritus at the design-build-manufacturing firm. Mark Skender will remain CEO and Cheryl Skender will continue as chair and president of Skender Foundation.

“There’s no way I could’ve imagined what this company would become when my father and I started the company decades ago,” said Joseph Skender. “I’ve always thought that as you’re climbing a ladder you shouldn’t look down. However, I am taking a moment to stop and be thankful for the journey that went into making Skender what it is today. It’s been an amazing ride.”

Joseph Skender Retires After 40 Years of Leadership

Today, Skender announces the retirement of Joseph Skender, Chairman of the Board of Directors. As he embarks on this new chapter of his life, this turning point allows a moment of reflection on the company’s journey from his family’s basement to one of the top construction firms in Chicago.

“There’s no way I could’ve imagined what this company would become when my father and I started the company decades ago,” said Joseph Skender. “I’ve always thought that as you’re climbing a ladder you shouldn’t look down. However, I am taking a moment to stop and be thankful for the journey that went into making Skender what it is today. It’s been an amazing ride.”

Reflecting on Skender’s growth

Throughout the years, Skender grew to the caliber of firm it is today by always looking forward. When Joseph Skender graduated from DePaul University in 1980, he joined the small carpentry company his father, Joseph Skender, Sr., started in 1955. Through most of the 1980s, the firm’s work focused on remodeling projects managed by less than 10 employees. Near the end of the decade, the firm undertook two major projects, a mixed-use residential building in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and its first senior housing project for the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. As the projects grew in scope, Joseph put the tools down and transitioned into a strategic leadership role. By 1990, Joseph’s brother Mark Skender (now Skender’s CEO) joined the firm as VP and Partner, and the company moved into its first office in Palos Hills, Illinois. Throughout the ‘90s, Joseph and Mark developed and implemented growth strategies as the firm won bids for increasingly significant projects and solidified its eventual award-winning corporate culture.

In the early 2000s, Skender broke $30 million in revenues, established itself as the contractor of choice in the senior housing market, and opened an office in downtown Chicago. By the end of the decade, Skender had achieved more than $100 million in revenues, consolidated its offices to Chicago’s Loop, and diversified its offerings across sectors including healthcare, public projects, retail and corporate interiors to continue company growth even in an economic downturn.

Skender’s accelerated growth under Joseph Skender’s leadership resulted in the firm’s listing on Inc. Magazine’s “500 Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Crain’s Chicago Business “Fastest Fifty Growing Companies in Chicago.” Through this rapid growth period, the company culture stayed strong and was recognized as one of Chicago’s and Illinois’ best places to work.

“Our people and our passion for quality has stayed consistent as the company has radically changed,” remarked Joseph Skender. “I’m most proud of the opportunities we’ve created for people, both inside and outside the organization. We are dedicated to continued employee education and training, and have always been generous to those in our community. Establishing the Skender Foundation, which strengthens the reach of our charitable giving, impacts the lives around us in ways we can never fully grasp.”

What’s next for Joseph

Joe and his wife, Cheryl Skender, Chair and President of Skender Foundation, are staying active at this time in their lives. They have a trip to Africa planned this fall to hike to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda and witness the great migration in Kenya. Additionally, their fourth grandchild is on the way to keep them on their toes.

“We love to travel, and our home in Utah will allow us to stay active with our family,” said Joseph Skender. “As a family company, that has always been one of our top priorities: our family. I look forward to watching the future unfold at Skender in the solid hands of my brother, and with two of my sons on the team as well.”

Looking forward at Skender

“I am so grateful for the strong foundation Joe has set at Skender over the past four decades that allows for our culture of quality and innovation,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “I know he has great confidence in our recent vertical integration and modular manufacturing facility, which was made possible through his dedication to the company and his belief that we can change the industry status quo.”

In his retirement, Joseph Skender will take on the title of Chairman Emeritus. Mark Skender remains CEO, and Cheryl Skender will continue as Chair and President of Skender Foundation.

Three Ways to Shatter Construction Silos and Win Efficiencies

Visionary design firm and ace construction crew: check and check. These are key personnel ingredients to a successful building process, and typically require multiple players, subcontractors, consultants, vendors, and contracts to get the job done. But what happens when you can use technological innovation and a product-based building processes to check all the boxes at once?

At Skender, we have a habit of asking new questions. The more our team pondered this one, the more we realized the potential value of bringing traditionally disparate pieces under one umbrella, using advanced manufacturing and technology.

After all, skyrocketing construction costs that are straining the entire industry appear to be here to stay. As of Associated General Contractors of America’s September’s report, construction input costs have jumped another 6.2 percent in 2018. Ongoing labor shortages are also taking a toll, stymying development timelines and making it harder and costlier to find skilled, experienced talent. Compounding those challenges is the fact that fragmentation drives costs up, too. We’ve probably all seen examples of how a disjointed team can cripple our industry, creating silos between stakeholders who could be more effective, if only they had the chance to collaborate and share ideas more rapidly.

So, to stay competitive amidst these challenges and leverage new potential from PropTech, we’ve decided to bring all the players together under one roof. The idea is simple: to increase efficiency, eliminate waste and time spent on coordination, and reduce costs by fusing design, manufacturing and construction into a singular process. By creating a more efficient production line, from initial rendering to factory floor to onsite assembly, we are confident we can cut out inefficiencies, while ensuring high accuracy, high design, high quality and high client satisfaction.

Appetite is growing for more effective construction solutions

Data confirms there is hunger for more productivity-oriented construction solutions: According to McKinsey Global Institute research, productivity can be boosted 50-60 percent by rethinking design, improving procurement and supply chain, enhancing onsite execution, and infusing technology and supply chain. McKinsey researchers also found that a five to 10 times productivity boost is possible by moving to a manufacturing-style production system.

These types of revolutionary solutions are already gaining traction. According to JLL, venture capitalists have already poured $1.05 billion into ConTech startups in the first half of 2018, a record high, and nearly 30 percent higher than the 2017 total.

At Skender, we are actively answering this call to action, most recently with the opening of our advanced manufacturing facility in Chicago’s Southwest side, following our vertical integration in early 2018. In this 105,560-square foot facility, our in-house crews will produce volumetric building modules for multifamily, healthcare, hospitality and other commercial buildings to be assembled throughout Chicago. Through vertical integration, Skender is the first and only builder in Chicago designing and constructing high-rise multifamily buildings using advanced manufacturing and modular methods with steel.

But being first isn’t the most important thing to us. What’s most important is that our new business model demolishes the silos between design and construction, and welcomes manufacturing into the fold. Together with our Lean project delivery approach and commitment to investing in technologies that add further efficiencies across design, construction and manufacturing, we’re able to significantly curb risk, delays and waste.

Three keys, one door: Revolutionizing how the industry builds

It’s PropTech’s time to shine. We’re beginning to leverage new capabilities and move beyond the traditional building model. From putting designers and construction project managers in the same office and integrating new tools like virtual design and augmented reality, to increasing efficiency and decreasing risk by bringing operations indoors, to designing the most-desirable buildings and components for the manufacturing assembly line, following are three strategies central to our vision of a more united and effective operation.

1. Shatter the silos and unite talent. For too long, the construction industry has weathered various breaks in development due to the natural disconnect between unaffiliated architects, developers and contractors. Vertical integration brings all teams under one roof, bridging gaps through the entire development process. As a full-service shop, we are better equipped to think through all the pieces in a more holistic fashion, saving time and driving quality.It is of course key to invest in the right people to bring such a vision to life. For example, our executive team members have deep construction and tech experience, both being vital to all aspects of our operations. And for similar reasons, we recently acquired a team of 12 research-based, tech-savvy architects and designers who are providing the design expertise required to fully integrate the building process.

2. Integrate technology every step of the way. Vertical integration can reduce overall costs, but it also takes the right technology strategy to get the job done well. That’s easier said than done, considering that, for decades, construction companies have typically considered technology to be an extraneous line item in their budgeting, threatening the best ideas with red ink. Institutionalizing technology, however, makes it inherent to the building process and actually creates efficiencies that reduce costs. So at Skender, we’re proactively integrating operations-focused technologies into our day-to-day business, such as virtual design and construction (VDC), laser scanning, robotics and building information modeling (BIM). And we’re already seeing the merits of this tech-oriented approach. After all, when a digital 3D model of your design can serve as the single source of truth throughout the construction process, the 2D sketch becomes obsolete, and the larger design process becomes more consistent and accessible. Digital renderings of projects serve as a single, easily accessed source of truth for designers, construction teams, and manufacturing plant crews.We’re also embracing emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and drone imaging in the effort to ensure all end-users can properly visualize the project at hand. Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon help us sort through the big data that affects advanced manufacturing practices.

3. Blend product-based design and focused manufacturing. Anyone can manufacture building components in a warehouse. The key to truly revolutionizing the industry is designing high-quality, desirable buildings that are optimized, not compromised, for the assembly line. Then, the benefits of offsite construction are many. By bringing the construction process indoors, we can significantly reduce the effects of Mother Nature.  The manufacturing process not only eliminates weather-related delays, it also centralizes and stabilizes the workforce, standardizing assembly to create even higher-quality building components.

This article was authored by Skender Manufacturing President Pete Murray and originally published by Propmodo.

5 Possible Scenarios For The Future Of Coworking

“In analyzing the likelihood of the growth to continue, industry experts at Newmark Knight Frank and JLL took a deep dive in separate reports into how this sector of commercial real estate is evolving.”

Do Legacy Construction Companies Have the Inside Track on Modular Building?

Fresh-faced, tech-oriented startups get most of the attention in the modular-building world, but despite their “it” factor, they’re still startups. Is there a market share in modular just waiting for companies with the approach and know-how that come with legacy experience?

Chicago-based legacy construction company Skender has been researching modular construction for years and is now getting in the game.

The Doctor Is in: Healthcare Is the New Retail

There was a time not long ago when you could spend a leisurely afternoon at Park Avenue and 57th Street browsing for books at the local Borders Books outlet.

If you go to that location now, you’re probably there for health-related reasons.

With the transition to e-commerce, it’s little surprise that Borders, like many other bookstores and leisure-related outlets, is now gone. What’s unexpected now is that all of that space, with the exception of a piece on the ground floor, is being replaced by a medical facility, making it part of a growing trend of seeing healthcare providers in retail environments.

Numerous factors led to this change. Paul Wexler, head of Wexler Healthcare Properties at The Corcoran Group, explained that the preference for easy access healthcare crosses demographic lines.
“Several factors are influencing this,” Wexler said. “Millennials are pressed for time and are concerned about health and wellness while the Baby Boomer population is aging and requiring more healthcare. These generations make up the majority of the population and now seek to obtain their healthcare services the same way they experience retail. As a result, the patient experience has become a retail consumer-like experience. Instead of going to a primary care provider, people are more interested in being able to get in and out of a place quickly. Sitting in a waiting area has become obsolete.”

Deciphering the Fine Print of Tenant Improvement Clauses

Take a close look at that “generous” tenant improvement (TI) allowance that the owner of a new building has offered. What, exactly, is covered? While the amount may be larger than that offered by the landlord of an older building, a careful analysis might reveal that you will barely break even — and you may even have to pay out of pocket.

For companies considering the cost of locating in a new building versus the cost of renovating space in an older building, it’s important to read the fine print – and make sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges. Contrary to popular perception, the cost of a build-out in a new building will run, on average, $14 per square foot more than the cost of a renovation — that’s a whopping $1.4 million on a 100,000-square-foot lease.

Comparing Apples to Apples: TI Allowances in New Buildings Versus Older Space

Glimmering new construction has its appeal. Leasing office space in a newly constructed building gives you a rare opportunity to design your workplace from carpet to ceiling tiles. The catch? As one of the first tenants in the building, you risk bearing the brunt of the costs to complete the space unless you negotiate your IT allowance carefully. Not all TI allowances are created equal.

Typically, you’ll need approximately $14 per square foot more to finish your space in a new building than renovating a ”used” space. That amount may sound high, but it includes the cost of drywall column build-outs, perimeter diffusers and soffit, power distribution panels, fire hose valve cabinets, after-hours hoisting expenses and more. Those costs should not be the tenant’s responsibility, but the project may turn out that way.

So You’ve Chosen Space in a New Building

The TI allowance isn’t the only cost consideration when you’re budgeting for brand-new space versus previously occupied second-generation space. The construction schedule, material choices and logistical factors also can impact short- and long-term costs. Here are a few considerations to keep top of mind:

  • Allow time to review your space and your lease before move-in. Carefully review the space and your lease to ensure that you’re getting a fair deal in terms of the space and the TI allowance. Consult early and often with the project team to review these conditions to confirm they can meet all your demands. For instance, a construction company that uses lean construction principles will provide built-in steps to keep you informed at every stage of the process and avoid onsite surprises.
  • Look up and look down — carefully. Conflicting requirements for overhead infrastructure can make achieving high ceiling heights tricky. Nobody wants to visit their new space and find lower ceiling heights than expected— an unfortunate occurrence that is more common than one might realize. And, rarely is a floor as flat as promised. Trust the developer and base building general contractor — but verify the reality of what’s being built.
  • Confirm that the building owners are on track to deliver the infrastructure needed for interior construction. Interior build-outs require power tools — and that means electrical power must be available in the newly constructed base building. And, you need permanent power, because heavy equipment can’t run on temporary power. If permanent power isn’t available as promised, work will not proceed. Also important, check the restroom turnover date. Otherwise, you’ll be funding the cost of temporary toilets for the construction crew.
  • Don’t bring the outside in any longer than necessary — or risk adding an extra month to the schedule. When the interior of a building is exposed to the elements, it collects moisture — and your interior finishes and flooring aren’t made for that. If interior moisture levels are high, the build-out will be delayed until the humidity falls. Furthermore, many environmentally friendly products don’t dry as quickly as traditional products. Excessive humidity only extends the construction schedule even further. The general contractor should test moisture levels before interior build-out begins. First, however, the building must be fully enclosed, with the HVAC system live.
  • Coordinate large deliveries and installations carefully. Be sure to plan the delivery of larger supplies before the skip (debris container) and external elevators are removed. Similarly, you’ll need to allow time for testing fire alarms and elevator call buttons, and installing lamps. In Chicago, tenants aren’t allowed to relocate base building devices until the equipment being installed has been tested to meet building certificate of occupancy requirements.

 
Know Before you Go

While many costs are unavoidable in an interior build-out, understanding construction needs, necessities and associated costs can help you negotiate a better deal with the landlord. Most important? Don’t ignore the fine print that may hide unpleasant surprises — and be sure to compare apples to other apples, not oranges.

This article was authored by Skender Sr. Project Manager and Team Leader Ashlee Pforr, and originally published by NAIOP.

Adoption Leaders 50 List 2018 – BuiltWorlds

We’re excited to share that our very own Shyam Telikicherla was named to BuiltWorlds’ Adoption Leaders 50 List 2018 for his innovative work in VDC/BIM best practices and design model data!

Rising Costs Make Pre-Construction Planning More Essential in Senior Housing

Value engineering is an accepted inevitability in construction, and it’s become increasingly important as construction costs have been on the rise in senior living. But while smart value engineering will identify the best ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality, too much value engineering can compromise the vision and integrity of a project, and cause a developer to deliver a building that may be practically obsolete upon arrival.

Veteran senior housing developers and operators recognize that a thorough, detailed pre-construction process can minimize the need for value engineering before the foundation of a building is laid, particularly since senior housing development presents its own unique challenges, Jim Moore, President of Moore Diversified Services, a senior living and health care consultancy firm in Ft. Worth, Texas, told Senior Housing News.

“The design features (for senior housing) are much more complex than most conventional real estate,” Moore said. “It falls into three primary areas: living units, common space and back-of-the-house space which contains storage, commercial kitchens and other amenities.”

Variabilities in terms of details such as unit finishes, cabinets, and mechanical and electrical systems to service the needs of senior housing residents add gray area to what is typically a cut-and-dried pre-construction process, Solera Senior Living founder and CEO Adam Kaplan told SHN. Solera, based in Chicago, has four new senior housing developments in its pipeline, in various stages of construction in Denver, suburban Washington, D.C, Philadelphia and Austin, Texas.

“When building another product type, like a self-storage or a retail building, you’re building a box and it’s a commoditized process,” Kaplan said. “The challenge with pre-construction in senior housing early on is to get an indication of pricing from general contractors (GCs), and then do an apples-to-apples comparison.”

Lock in pricing, labor ASAP

The current construction boom period is facing growing pressures from a tight construction labor market and rising materials costs. A February report from the Cato Institute revealed the unemployment rate in the construction industry is at its lowest since 2000. The tight labor market is creating problems for GCs, and some delays for projects, when it comes to subcontracting for specific materials and services, according to Joe Pecoraro, Project Executive for Chicago-based construction services firm Skender.

“Subcontractors are being extremely selective as to what jobs they’ll accept and are only committing to projects where they have good relationships with GCs,” he told SHN.

Rising materials costs are causing suppliers to pressure developers and GCs to lock in the lowest price quotes as soon as possible. Pecoraro, who specializes in multifamily and senior housing for Skender, said he has had suppliers increase their quotes for materials at least a half-dozen times in recent months.

Click here to read the full article at Senior Housing News.

2018 Highlights

2018 was a productive, high-energy year with many highlights. We are thankful for the people we’ve met, projects we’ve built and partnerships we’ve forged. We look forward to continuing this journey with even more to come in 2019.

Skender Completes AZEK HQ in Fulton Market

Skender recently completed interior construction of the new 24,000-square-foot headquarters for The AZEK Company, which recently relocated to the Fulton Market District from suburban Skokie, IL.

Skender Completes AZEK Company HQ in Fulton Market

We recently completed interior construction of The AZEK Company’s new headquarters at 1330 W. Fulton thanks to a great collaboration with Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED), ESD (Environmental Systems Design, Inc.) and JLL. Welcome, neighbor!

Skender Completes AZEK Company HQ in Fulton Market

Skender recently completed interior construction of the new 24,000-square-foot headquarters for The AZEK Company, an industry leader of premium building products previously based in Skokie, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Ohio.

The AZEK Company relocated to 1330 W. Fulton in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood from its former office in Skokie to accommodate the business’s rapid growth and future needs. Its new third-floor open-plan office includes a single porch with pergola and lattice ceiling made from materials produced by AZEK. Skender is also building out space nearby at 316 N. Elizabeth that is dedicated to product demonstration and vendor training for AZEK, which is projected to be complete in January 2019.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with HED, ESD Global and JLL to complete the project. Skender has successfully completed new interior construction projects at 1330 W. Fulton for numerous inaugural tenants, including Sterling Bay, Glassdoor, and The Climate Corporation, as well as Skender’s own headquarters.

An ambitious plan to change how we build housing

Just beyond the snowy streets and neatly packed three-flats of Chicago’s southwest side, the factory at 3348 South Pulaski appears like a low gray monolith, spanning nearly 10 normal blocks and serving as a boundary between the residential neighborhood and the city’s industrial freight hub.

Inside, the Chicago general contractor Skender is setting up what amounts to an apartment factory: An assembly line that will crank into gear in the spring, producing standardized apartment units ready to be bolted into a steel-framed stack on a building site. Modular construction is more than a century old, and in contemporary America, it’s seen mixed success–but the 63-year-old general contractor, which launched a separate entity for its modular arm, Skender Manufacturing, last year, believes the technology is worth investing in.

Elgin Tower: Elgin’s heart beats again

“Contractor Skender and architect Webster Design were determined to save the building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 …”

Deciphering the Fine Print of Tenant Improvement Clauses

Take a close look at that “generous” tenant improvement (TI) allowance that the owner of a new building has offered. What, exactly, is covered? While the amount may be larger than that offered by the landlord of an older building, a careful analysis might reveal that you will barely break even — and you may even have to pay out of pocket.

The ConTechCrew 146: The Flipside of Silicon Valley

Episode 146 of The ConTechCrew: “It’s not a prediction, offsite construction is going to be the future of construction … [Skender] figured out ways to actually take this process and drive down the cost … reduce waste.” Starts at the 52:27 mark.

Skender Foundation End of Year Thank You

Skender Foundation’s successes in 2018 made a big impact and we are grateful for your support. From the execution of our first endowment fund to unprecedented success at our two fundraising events to an effective volunteer day, 2018 raised the bar for our organization.

Chicago Power Women

Looking forward to tomorrow’s Bisnow Chicago Power Women event honoring women in commercial real estate! Tickets are still available. #commercialrealestate #proudsponsor

The Doctor Is in: Healthcare Is the New Retail

“Medical, on the other hand, has seen no shortage of demand, making medical an excellent alternative for retail spaces that otherwise face challenges in attracting long-term, stable tenants.”

Healthcare Developers Need Flexibility to Succeed

The world of healthcare real estate has experienced more profound change in the past few years than perhaps any other sector. Along with advances in medical technology, the transformation of healthcare delivery by the introduction of Obamacare has led providers to demand different types of facilities. And that means opportunities for developers and investors, if they understand the marketplace’s new realities.

Rising Costs Make Pre-Construction Planning More Essential in Senior Housing

Value engineering is an accepted inevitability in construction, and it’s become increasingly important as construction costs have been on the rise in senior living. But while smart value engineering will identify the best ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality, too much value engineering can compromise the vision and integrity of a project, and cause a developer to deliver a building that may be practically obsolete upon arrival.

Skender Celebrates Unveiling of Modular Smart Apartment Prototype

CHICAGO (Nov. 27, 2018) – Smart phones roll off the factory assembly line—and now, smart apartments. Skender’s vision for a modular building process has reached a milestone: an actual smart apartment module prototype is complete and on-display, featuring Google Home technology systems throughout its structure. The prototype is an early version of the apartment units that will be built in Skender’s factory for a building in Chicago’s West Loop early next year.

Yesterday, Skender unveiled its smart apartment prototype in Skender’s advanced manufacturing facility on the southwest side of Chicago. The prototype demonstrates how modular design and construction has the potential to disrupt the building process making the design, manufacture and construction of buildings safer, faster and more affordable, as well as more technology and environmentally friendly.

The prototype offers a way to leverage a technology-based solution to the affordable housing crisis, and more broadly, to keep construction costs manageable and significantly reduce schedules for market-rate and luxury multifamily and healthcare properties, as well. At the same time, the process will deliver a seamless technology experience for apartment dwellers and healthcare professionals, delivering whole units, much like Apple or Samsung delivers a smart phone—with the technology pre-installed and ready for use.

From factory to neighborhood

Modular building brings most of the construction process inside a factory, standardizing the design, building and technology processes. In fact, the apartment prototype itself can be seen as an integrated piece of technology that is built inside a factory, then transported to the building site, and assembled and stacked along with other units to deliver a full apartment building. The modular process allows Skender to incorporate smart apartment tech into the individual units from day one, and the mass production element results in seamless and inexpensive tech integration. Depending on the developer’s needs, each apartment unit could be manufactured to run on a suite on a suite of smart living products including Google Home smart speakers, Nest security and thermostat products, and Lutron smart lighting and shade controls.

“We have already uncovered several manufacturing efficiencies through the creation of this prototype, including the ability to install smart apartment tech at a fraction of the cost it would normally take to install in an already-existing unit,” said Pete Murray, President, Manufacturing. “Our team is proud to have accomplished this first step toward full activity in our factory to produce the smart affordable buildings the city of Chicago needs.”

The prototype, unveiled

Skender hosted a prototype celebration event on Monday, Nov. 26, to celebrate the hard work and ingenuity that went into creating the prototype. Murray, CEO Mark Skender and Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson led the teams that collaborated on this product—the very first to represent what will be produced in Skender’s manufacturing factory in 2019.

Similar tech-enabled apartment modules will be designed in-house, produced in the factory and finally assembled onsite and stacked on top one another. In the factory, both stackable volumetric modules and slide-in pods will be fabricated used skilled union labor. Noncombustible steel frames and studs will provide the modular frameworks, engineered to precise tolerances so the modules perfectly fit together. Skender is already in the design-for-manufacturing phase on healthcare and multifamily projects, including an apartment building in the West Loop. The modular manufacturing method is expected to reduce the timeline of traditional building by up to 50 percent and generate up to 15 percent project cost savings.

“We believe that modular manufacturing will make the increasingly expensive construction process more affordable for developers and their tenants,” said Swanson. “And, by outfitting these apartments as livable pieces of technology, we can efficiently deliver high-quality living for all.”

Skender Foundation Adds Two New Board Members

Today Skender Foundation announced two new appointments, Jared Funk and Tim Swanson, to its board of directors.

Jared Funk is vice president at Lenox Advisors and his involvement with Skender Foundation dates back to 2013 when he joined the Builders’ Board, a subcommittee of Skender Foundation comprised of young, driven professionals with a passion for helping others. He served as sponsorship committee co-chair in 2014 and 2015 as well as co-chair of Harvesting Hope and the Builders’ Board in 2016 and 2017. His commitment to the organization has helped spread the foundation’s mission of perpetuating the legacy of giving through providing health, education and wellness opportunities. Funk holds a degree in economics from Vanderbilt University as well as a Master of Education in organizational leadership.

As chief design officer at Skender, Tim Swanson leads Skender’s team of architects and designers, bringing his passion for integrating the design and construction process to the firm’s clients. He formerly headed up CannonDesign and led its City Design practice, a national group focused on helping cities around the world grow and prosper. He is an advocate for smart growth and sustainable development, working with leaders at the intersection of urban planning, public health, and education. Tim earned a Master of Architecture with a specialization in urban development and infill from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and undergraduate degrees in fine arts and economics from Colgate University.

As board members, Jared and Tim will help oversee the nonprofit foundation’s business activities and build new partnerships. “We are excited to leverage Tim’s and Jared’s passion for helping Chicago’s youth into larger roles on the Skender Foundation Board of Directors,” said Skender Foundation Chair and President Cheryl Skender. “Their energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and I am looking forward to leveraging their ideas and networks to further expand our philanthropic footprint.”

# # #

About Skender Foundation

Skender Foundation was launched as a 501(c)(3) public foundation in 2012 and has donated more than $2.6 million to over 200 deserving charitable organizations that support community education and wellness in the Chicagoland area. The foundation’s mission is to provide access to resources and relationships that help people make good life decisions through greater education and wellness. For more information on Skender Foundation, visit www.skenderfoundation.org.

Skender and BuiltWorlds Release “Going Lean: Toward Waste-free Building” Report

Nearly half of the nearly 2.2 billion annual tons of solid waste projected by year 2025 is generated on the construction job site. Today, a new report from Skender and BuiltWorlds offers “Going Lean: Toward Waste-free Building.” The 10-page research report, available for download here, is a resource filled with waste-reducing possibilities using lean construction solutions.

Skender, a fully-integrated construction, design and manufacturing firm headquartered in Chicago, has compiled this lean construction guide based on a thorough examination of the history of lean production utilized by some of the world’s largest manufacturers and most innovative brands. BuiltWorlds has a network of over 50,000 members sharing tech-driven news on innovation in the built environment. The Skender+BuiltWorlds report uncovers the practical ways to translate lean from manufacturing to construction, add value and reduce sources of waste in construction. Driven by Skender’s commitment to the high-efficiency and waste-reducing principles of Lean construction, the report conveys the value of optimized processes.

Download the “Going Lean: Toward Waste-free Building” report by clicking here.

Skender Expands Strategic Accounts Team

Skender today announced that Michelle Levy has joined Skender as strategic account manager. Levy spent the last six years as an urban retail brokerage associate and office/industrial researcher for CBRE. She previously specialized in urban retail tenant and landlord representation, and consulted for numerous restaurants and small eateries in downtown Chicago. Levy’s background in real estate provides a foundation of industry knowledge and the ability to leverage her network to now provide integrated design, build and manufacturing solutions.

“I am delighted to welcome Michelle to our growing strategic accounts team,” said Skender Vice President Dan Ulbricht. “Her expertise in real estate brokerage will help us expand and strengthen our relationships across all of Skender’s market sectors.”

Levy holds a B.S. in communication from the University of Kansas. She is a licensed real estate salesperson in Illinois and a board member for Women in Retail Leasing.

Skender begins interior construction for Vital Proteins’ new Fulton Market HQ

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently launched the interior renovation of the future 40,000-square-foot headquarters of Vital Proteins, a private retailer of health supplement products. Vital Proteins is assuming full occupancy of the four-story 939 W. Fulton Street, one block from Google’s Midwest headquarters in Chicago’s lively Fulton Market neighborhood.

Skender Starts Interior Construction of New Vital Proteins HQ in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently launched the interior renovation of the future 40,000-square-foot headquarters of Vital Proteins, a fast-growing private retailer of health supplement products. Vital Proteins is assuming full occupancy of the four-story 939 W. Fulton Street, one block from Google’s Midwest headquarters in Chicago’s lively Fulton Market neighborhood. As sole tenant, Vital Proteins will enjoy private access to the building’s roof terrace, which also is being renovated as part of the base building scope.

Vital Proteins is relocating 130 employees from its current offices at 1201 W. Washington to accommodate the business’s rapidly growing workforce in the vibrant neighborhood of Fulton Market. The technology-rich office space will offer a wide range of amenities to support a highly collaborative and productive workplace. Key spaces include open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café. Notable renovation elements include the 5,000-square-foot roof terrace and a new atrium that will dramatically span two floors of the building and feature a stadium-style staircase. Also, the interior design will retain the historic landmark building’s high ceilings, exposed brick walls and wood floors.

Skender is collaborating with SCB and JLL to complete the project by July 2019. Skender’s work continues to shape office, hotel and retail development in the popular Fulton Market corridor. Recent Skender interior construction projects in the area include Hyatt House, Sterling Bay, Glassdoor, The Climate Corporation and The AZEK Company, as well as Skender’s own company headquarters.

Latin School Bridge – Connecting Two Schools

Connecting two schools at different elevations on a tight schedule could be daunting, but thanks to our great partners and project team, we provided Latin School with direct access to the upper school’s new learning commons through a new bridge installation.

Skender Boosts Modular Initiative with Two New Hires

Skender is bolstering its modular component operations with the addition of two manufacturing industry veterans to its team. Dan Conley has joined Skender as director of manufacturing operations, while Mike Mulrooney has come aboard as director of engineering.

Skender Continues to Expand Manufacturing Team

We are thrilled to welcome two new additions to our growing manufacturing team. Skender’s advanced manufacturing facility in southwest Chicago produces modular components that Skender constructs into multifamily, healthcare and commercial buildings.

Skender Continues to Expand Manufacturing Team

Skender today announced the appointment of two manufacturing industry veterans with a combined 65 years of experience. The two new hires are the latest additions to the Skender manufacturing leadership team. Skender’s advanced manufacturing facility in southwest Chicago produces modular components that Skender constructs into multifamily, healthcare and commercial buildings.

Dan Conley has joined Skender as director of manufacturing operations. Conley spent the last five years maximizing efficiency in Thermal Care’s factories using Lean manufacturing principles. Previously, Conley forged a successful career in materials, production control and quality management. He holds a B.A. in operations management and a certificate in product and inventory management from DePaul University. Dan is a member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

Mike Mulrooney, P.E., has joined Skender as director of engineering. Previously, Mulrooney held multiple engineering leadership roles during 28 years as an executive at Magnetrol International. His broad product and process engineering experience includes overseeing a successful factory startup and garnering four U.S. patents. Mulrooney holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University and a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Illinois University. He is a member of the American Society of Professional Engineers.

“I am delighted to welcome Dan and Mike to our growing manufacturing team,” said Skender Manufacturing President Pete Murray. “Their decades of manufacturing expertise will help us realize our vision for revolutionizing how the construction industry builds.”

As part of its vertical integration and modular building announcement in March 2018, Skender launched a manufacturing company that is scheduled to be fully operational in spring 2019. The company already has a pipeline of modular projects, including a workforce housing development underway in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Skender is designing and producing the apartment modules, and will construct the 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot, six-story building. Skender anticipates the production and construction process to be completed within a seven-month timetable.

Hyatt House Vertical Timelapse

In 18 weeks, we went from foundation and building permit issuance to topping out of Sterling Bay’s new Hyatt House hotel in the West Loop. It couldn’t have been done without our Lean construction approach and great partners.

Skender Core Values – Who We Are

Last week, we showcased our three core values: True Partner, Proactive and Refreshing. They keep us hungry, humble and smart as we revolutionize how the industry builds. Here’s a recap of our core values and what makes Skender who we are.

Skender’s Annual Volunteer Day Draws Highest Turnout Yet

On Saturday, October 13, nearly 100 volunteers gathered at Skender’s new manufacturing facility for the firm’s annual Volunteer Day. Volunteers built wood wall panels for two homes that will be delivered to families in need via Skender’s partners for the event, Appalachia Service Project and Solid Rock Carpenters.

The volunteers wrote messages of hope on the wall panels to bring comfort to the future inhabitants of the homes. Additionally, Skender employees leveraged their construction expertise to help Solid Rock Carpenters launch this framing day concept to bring to other organizations in the future.

The participation for this event was the highest yet for Skender’s volunteer day, and the volunteers left feeling inspired and excited.

Sprout Social Maintains Rapid Growth With A Sleek And On-Trend Office Space

After previously completing its 7th-floor space in Chicago’s Citadel Center, the rapidly growing social media management company wanted their office environment to be an investment in their people. In adding more amenity spaces that catered to their needs, Sprout called on their general contractor, Skender, and architect, Partners by Design to create a 64,000-square-foot open, collaborative, and tech-driven space that will keep employees excited about their work and the space they do it in.

Skender employees take part in volunteer day

On Saturday, October 13, nearly 100 volunteers gathered at Skender’s new manufacturing facility for the firm’s annual volunteer day. Volunteers built wood wall panels for two homes that will be delivered to families in need via Skender’s partners for the event, Appalachia Service Project and Solid Rock Carpenters.

Refreshing – Skender Core Value

Humbly sharing our experiences and mistakes, valuing new ideas and opinions of each employee, and implementing innovative solutions are ways that we make “refreshing” one of three core values at Skender. There’s no voice too small to be heard.

“I’ve never met an owner who has an unlimited wallet…. Modular construction is really the…

“I’ve never met an owner who has an unlimited wallet…. Modular construction is really the creativity needed for sustainability in this market. It’s more competitive, you’re controlling the environment and cutting waste.” – Joseph Pecoraro of Skender speaks about the struggles of rising material and construction costs at today’s Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference Midwest – with Monroe Residential Partners LLC, BKV Group & National Association of Home Builders.

Proactive – Skender Core Value

We take great pride in our work and stay hungry for new ways to improve, enforcing “proactive” as a critical Skender core value.

Skender completes independent living facility rehabilitation

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed a 50,000-square-foot full-building rehabilitation of Lake Merritt Apartments, an affordable housing development located at 1417 1st Avenue in Oakland, California. The four-story independent living facility is owned by Preservation Partners, a privately-held real estate company (and repeat Skender client) that specializes in the rehabilitation and permanent preservation of existing affordable housing assets.

Skender Completes Independent Living Facility Rehabilitation in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (October 23, 2018) – Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed a 50,000-square-foot full-building rehabilitation of Lake Merritt Apartments, an affordable housing development located at 1417 1st Avenue in Oakland, California. The four-story independent living facility is owned by Preservation Partners, a privately-held real estate company (and repeat Skender client) that specializes in the rehabilitation and permanent preservation of existing affordable housing assets.

Skender installed new plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets, countertops, bathroom vanities and appliances in all 54 units, as well as upgraded lighting, fire alarm and emergency call systems in each. Following construction, six units became handicap-accessible. The scope of work also included installation of a new fire suppression sprinkler system, boiler replacement and new backup generator. The project required upgrading the common area kitchen and building a tenant support office and fitness center. Exterior improvements included installing new windows, James Hardie siding, a storefront, roofing, landscaping and creating an ADA-compliant path of travel to the public sidewalk.

Skender worked in collaboration with Los Angeles-based architecture firm Relativity Architects and other key trade partners to successfully complete the project. Skender has completed multiple rehabilitation projects for Preservation Partners in Illinois, including Westmont I-Care Apartments, Sage Crest Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments and Rand Grove Village.

Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference Midwest

The Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference Midwest is a full day of speakers and networking with the region’s top real estate professionals. Our own Project Executive Joseph Pecoraro will speak about rising material and construction costs. You don’t want to miss this one!

True Partner – Skender Core Value

We believe collaboration, respect, clear communication and open-mindedness are essential ingredients to success. That’s why “true partner” is one of our three core values at Skender. When one succeeds, we all succeed. Stay tuned all week as we release videos highlighting each of our core values.

Skender Volunteer Day 2018

For our annual Volunteer Day, we partnered with Solid Rock Carpenters and Appalachia Service Project to build the wall panels of two homes for families in need. Nearly 100 Skender employees, including friends and family, turned out for a fun day and a great cause! Already looking forward to next year!

Three Ways to Shatter Construction Silos and Win Efficiencies

Visionary design firm and ace construction crew: check and check. These are key personnel ingredients to a successful building process, and typically require multiple players, subcontractors, consultants, vendors, and contracts to get the job done. But what happens when you can use technological innovation and a product-based building processes to check all the boxes at once?

At Skender, we have a habit of asking new questions. The more our team pondered this one, the more we realized the potential value of bringing traditionally disparate pieces under one umbrella, using advanced manufacturing and technology.

BOMA & HCI’s 2018 Real Estate Healthcare Symposium

Join us at this year’s BOMA/Suburban Chicago & Health Care Institute (HCI) Chicago Chapter 2018 Real Estate Healthcare Symposium, where Jenny Han, our own Director of Operations and a health care design expert, will lead a panel on innovations in healthcare real estate.

Jenny will lead the discussion on how innovation plays a key role in a merger or acquisition to promote, improve, and increase a health system’s ability to service their patient population.

Skender Starts 85,000-SF Training Center Addition and Renovation for Chicagoland Laborers’ Union

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently started construction of a 55,000-square-foot steel structure addition and 30,000-square-foot office renovation to the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Chicagoland Laborers’ District Council Training and Apprentice Fund Training Center.

Located at 5700 W. Homer, the training center is seeking to expand its existing facility to accommodate more training of new workforces. The existing interior is being renovated to increase office and classroom capacity. In addition to the new structure, pre-cast wall panel and renovation work, Skender is increasing the on-site storm water retention space to manage additional run-off that will be created by added parking.

Classrooms within the facility will contain high ceiling training bays that can be used to complete real life training for laborer activities. Renovation of the 30,000-square-foot office area is expected to be completed in January 2019 and the larger addition completed in August 2019.

Skender is working in collaboration with design firm Eckenhoff Saunders Architects as well as IMEG, TGRWA, V3 and landscape architecture firm Teska Associates to successfully complete the project.

Angela Spadoni Joins Skender

Angela Spadoni, AIA, has joined Skender as director of residential architecture, where she will oversee multifamily design projects, including the design of housing modules produced in Skender’s new Chicago manufacturing facility.

 

Multifamily Design Expert Angela Spadoni Joins Skender as Director of Residential Architecture

Angela Spadoni, AIA, has joined Skender as director of residential architecture, where she will oversee multifamily design projects, including the design of housing modules produced in Skender’s new Chicago manufacturing facility. With more than 10 years of international and domestic experience, Spadoni brings to Skender an impressive background in multifamily, condominium, retail and high-rise design.

“We are thrilled to welcome Angela Spadoni to our team,” said Skender Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson. “Angela’s expertise in innovative residential design is exactly what we need as we grow our multifamily team and expand our modular capabilities. We will look to her leadership to continue to push our design capabilities forward.”

Prior to joining Skender, Spadoni was a director at bKL Architecture in Chicago. She oversaw the design of numerous large-scale apartment high-rises in Chicago, including three towers on North Lake Shore Drive and East Wacker Drive; Union West, comprising two 15-story apartment towers in the West Loop; and was a member of the design team for Wolf Point West, a 48-story LEED Silver luxury tower in River North. She also helped design The Selby, a 49-story luxury apartment tower in Toronto. Other notable projects include two mid-rise buildings for Chicago’s K-12 GEMS World Academy, as well as a privately-owned 10-story residential building geared towards Northwestern University students in Evanston.

Spadoni earned a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in design from Arizona State University. An active member in Chicago’s architecture community, Angela currently serves as vice chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Local Chicago Product Council.

“I am thrilled to join Skender at such an exciting time in its reinvention,” said Spadoni. “I’m passionate about bringing high-quality design to Midwest multifamily developments, and helping Skender to disrupt the industry with its modular capabilities.”

Top 10 ways to build smarter

As material and labor prices escalate every day, building process economics are playing an increasingly critical role in every project. Firms involved in the commercial building process across the industry must look for innovative ways to deliver high-quality projects while stemming the tide of rising costs. Collaboration, transparency and waste reduction are key to an efficient, streamlined process.

At Skender, we recently released the “101 Ways to Build Smarter” report, which provides insight from our corporate real estate, tech clients and project partners over the past six decades. When employed comprehensively, this advice can have a huge impact on quality and costs. Following are 10 strategies to add value to your upcoming projects without driving up the budget.

  1. Go lean. Start by hiring an integrated design and construction team with experience in lean construction, our industry’s take on The Toyota Way. These pros will share a focus on reducing wasted materials, time and labor costs.
  2. Confirm an end-to-end team. Avoid costly hand-offs associated with siloed departments by establishing a unified end-to-end team at the outset. This will optimize cost, quality and schedule.
  3. Engage in uncompromising collaboration. Finding widespread efficiencies is only possible if you have a lean team in place; a group of professionals fully engaged with one another, 100 percent committed to collaborating and cross-checking every process and decision.
  4. Include end-users early and often. The users of the space, particularly the final-stage planners, are the ones with the core knowledge of what will meet their needs. If those needs change during the process, knowing sooner rather than later will reduce the need to redo, redesign or reconstruct—all activities that could add to the cost and schedule.
  5. Engage the power trio: owner, design team, general contractor. Set up a system of frequent and thorough communication among the team members that impact the outcome most.
  6. Understand the real meaning of efficiency. Increased efficiency means reduced waste, time and materials. It doesn’t necessarily mean cost savings on individual items, but does ultimately result in reduction of the overall cost of construction.
  7. Embrace the irony of value and cost. Greater value doesn’t necessarily mean lower cost for any given item or component. When you consider the big picture and long-term operations, cost savings will come through.
  8. Reducing risk means reducing costs. Less risk, fewer mistakes, safety, fewer Requests for information (RFIs), and fewer unresolved issues ultimately means the overall project cost plummets. Listen to the members of your team speaking up about risks, and don’t be afraid to mitigate them early and often.
  9. Increased decision-making power means real-time cost savings. When members of the team are empowered to act on opportunities and ideas, cost savings result naturally.
  10. Always over-communicate. When lines of communication are open, ideas can build on one another, and collaboration thrives.

This article was authored by Skender. It first appeared in San Francisco Business Times. 

Skender Adds AZEK Company HQ to Fulton Market Portfolio

Thrilled to add The AZEK Company to our Fulton Market portfolio! We recently started interior construction of their new HQ space at 1330 W. Fulton in collaboration with Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED), ESD (Environmental Systems Design, Inc.) and JLL.

5 ‘Giant’ Trends Poised to Change the Face of Construction

As the Building Design+Construction editorial team wrapped up work on the 42nd annual Giants 300 report in late June, a number of intriguing industry trends and themes bubbled to the surface. Some are new to us, others simply confirmed our original notions.

The Giants 300 report agglomerates financial data and business dealings from the nation’s largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms (a record-number 480 firms submitted data this year). The AEC “Giants” are a powerful group. Collectively, they represent 60-80% of all design and construction work completed in the nonresidential buildings market in a given year, depending on the building sector and discipline.

Compiling the Giants 300 report gives BD+C editors a unique, bird’s-eye view of the market. Based on the 2018 report, we’ve identified five emerging trends that are likely to transform the construction market in the near future:

  1. Offsite construction is here to stay. Once a novelty, offsite construction is taking hold across the industry, as labor shortages persist, the Lean movement grows, and tech-based workflows become prevalent. Major GCs are moving toward manufacturing-based operations, and select owners are requiring prefab on projects.
  2. Silicon Valley is eyeing AEC. Billions in venture capital and strategic funding are flooding the AEC market, as nontraditional industries (especially tech) see dollar signs in the transformation of this antiquated, low-margin industry. A Built Worlds report identified 25 VC funds, strategic funds, and accelerators actively targeting AEC. The industry’s new darling, Katerra, nabbed a whopping $865 million from SoftBank. There’s plenty more to come.

Read the full list and article at Building Design+Construction.

Skender Adds AZEK Company HQ to Fulton Market Portfolio

Skender recently started interior construction of the 24,000-square-foot headquarters for The AZEK Company, a Skokie-based industry leader of premium building products with manufacturing facilities in Scranton, PA and Wilmington, OH.

The AZEK Company is relocating from its current offices in Skokie to accommodate the business’s rapid growth and future needs. Once complete, the third-floor open-plan office will include multiple porches with pergolas and lattice ceilings made from materials produced by AZEK. Skender is also building out space at 316 N. Elizabeth dedicated to product demonstration and vendor training for AZEK.

Serving as general contractor, Skender is working in collaboration with HED, ESD Global and JLL to complete the project by the end of November 2018. Skender has successfully completed new interior construction projects at 1330 W. Fulton for numerous inaugural tenants, including Sterling Bay, Glassdoor, The Climate Corporation as well as Skender’s own headquarters.

Skender Starts Work on Independent Living Facility Rehabilitation

Skender, serving as construction manager, has started work on the full-building rehabilitation of Westmont I-Care, an affordable housing development located at 501 North Cass Avenue in Westmont, Illinois. The five-story independent living facility is owned by Preservation Partners, a privately-held real estate company (and repeat Skender client) that specializes in the rehabilitation and permanent preservation of existing affordable housing assets.

Skender will install new plumbing fixtures and upgraded lighting in all 60 units of Westmont I-Care, as well as extend fire protection from the common space into individual units. Following construction, six units will be handicap-accessible. The project also requires upgrading the common area kitchen and building a computer room for tenant use. Exterior improvements will include the installation of a new roof and improved, ADA-compliant path of travel to accessible parking spots.

Skender is working in collaboration with architecture firm Fitzgerald Associates Architects and other key trade partners to successfully complete the project by December 2018. Skender has completed multiple rehabilitation projects for Preservation Partners in Illinois, including Sage Crest Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments, Rand Grove Village, as well as Lake Merritt Apartments in Oakland, California.

Confronting the challenge of affordable housing

Financing for and development of affordable housing has long been a critical issue in the U.S. In Chicago, over 440,000 households pay more than half of their income on housing, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

While the need hasn’t gone away, creating workforce housing continues to be a challenge. From sourcing the money to back a project to sidestepping NIMBY and gentrification landmines, the situation hasn’t gotten any easier over the years. So what is the current state of affordable housing and what might be its prognosis?

Skender Completes 225K-SF Restack for HERE’s Americas HQ

Skender recently completed a 225,000-square-foot restack for location intelligence provider HERE Technologies at 475 N. Randolph St. Amsterdam-based HERE recently designated the Chicago office, now totaling more than 275,000 square feet, as the company’s Americas headquarters.

 

Skender Foundation : Harvesting Hope 2018

Harvesting Hope is two weeks away! Get your tickets today to support Purple Asparagus, a nonprofit organization that educates children, families and the community about good nutrition. Join us October 18 at Morgan’s on Fulton and the official after party at Federales! #harvestinghope #skendergives #purpleasparagus

Skender Completes 225,000-SF Restack Project for HERE Technologies’ New Americas HQ

Skender recently completed interior construction of the 225,000-square-foot office space for HERE Technologies, the leading location intelligence and open location platform company, at 425 West Randolph Street. HERE Technologies recently designated the Chicago office, now totaling more than 275,000 square feet, as the company’s Americas headquarters.

Throughout eight floors of the Boeing Building, the HERE Chicago office was transformed into a contemporary environment that reflects the company’s vision, brand and history of innovation. HERE Chicago, recently named one of the coolest companies in the city by Chicago Inno, contains space for more than 1,400 employees in an open-floorplan seating arrangement that facilitates better and faster collaboration. The office features a variety of meeting rooms that accommodate anywhere from two to 200 people, immersive telepresence capabilities for teamwork with peers and customers across the globe, several dedicated “wellness” and “mothers’” rooms, immersion/quiet workspaces, large and small café areas, and a game room. The office also includes a fully immersive Experience Center where the company’s technology is on full display. Local artists were commissioned to create several interior murals and significant enhancements were made towards green initiatives and ergonomics.

Skender coordinated utility shutdowns and all construction logistics to minimize the impact on ongoing building operations. Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with Gensler, JLL and ESD Global to complete the project.

Skender Delivers Loyola University Lab

“The facade was built using smart technology in the form of sensors that change the color of the glass according to the sunlight’s intensity. Thus, the glass becomes less transparent at sunset.”

Skender Starts Work on Independent Living Facility Rehabilitation

Skender, serving as construction manager, has started work on the full-building rehabilitation of Arboretum West Apartments, an affordable housing development located in Lombard, Illinois. The two-story independent living facility is owned by Over the Rainbow Association (OTR), an Illinois nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for people with physical disabilities. All 14 units in the concrete masonry structure are energy efficient, handicap accessible and barrier-free.

Built in 1983, the building requires extensive masonry rework as well as enlarging all window openings and adding significant structural reinforcement to the exterior perimeter wall. Once brought up to code, Arboretum West Apartments will contain numerous self-sufficient, ADA compliant features including luxury vinyl plank flooring, large roll-in bathrooms with integrated showers, accessibly designed custom kitchens and expansive elevator lobbies. Prior to performing rehabilitation work, Skender demolished an adjacent building to create more green space and a storm detention pond area for future residents to enjoy.

Skender is working in collaboration with architecture firm Weese Langley Weese and other key trade partners to successfully deliver another barrier-free apartment community for OTR in December 2018.

# # #

About Skender
Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

The Next Phase in Office Design is Here

“The changing nature of work and the technologies that drive marketplace competition require the office to be adaptable, comfortable, and able to move fluidly in support of the next project, the next new idea, and the next team created to bring those ideas and projects to life.”

The Hidden Costs of Open Ceilings

Open ceilings are a signature element of most contemporary office designs because of the spaciousness and casual, cool vibe they add to a space. Many decision-makers also assume open ceilings are less expensive than drop ceiling because they use less materials, labor, and time. But, do those assumptions play out in reality?

2008 study of retail and office interior construction in five cities seemed to back up that assumption.  Sponsored by the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the study found that initial construction costs for suspended ceilings were 15-22 percent higher than for open plenums in offices, and 4-11 percent higher in retail spaces.

Unfortunately, those findings don’t give the full picture. Over the years, our experience has shown that open plenum ceilings have many benefits—but costing less isn’t one of them. It’s important to plan ahead for the unforeseen costs of open ceilings, which typically make them come in as more expensive, particularly over a building’s life cycle.

Deconstructed Look Takes A Lot of Construction

Open ceilings don’t require the new infrastructure that a suspended ceiling does, so it seems contradictory that they’d be more expensive. However, it’s not as simple as removing suspended ceiling tiles and walking away. Existing infrastructure that’s been hiding behind suspended ceilings is often unsightly, requiring major work to make it attractive to employees or customers.

For example, those exposed ducts seen in modern offices are often not original to the buildings they’re in. Old ductwork is typically blocky, dirty, oily and generally not aesthetically pleasing. Round or oval ductwork, as we used in the build-out for Glassdoor’s new headquarters, delivers a more “finished” look, but is significantly more expensive.

In addition to swapping unsightly ducts, space users want everything painted from the exposed ceiling to the ductwork and plumbing—a job that’s far more complicated than simply painting walls. This also helps tie together what you see when you look up with the color scheme, décor, and branding choices on the floor. In other words, the casual look of an open plenum is actually the result of a lot of skilled labor.

In Short: Skilled Labor Shortage Affects Ceiling Work, Too

As commercial construction has ramped up in recent years, developers are seeing a shortage of skilled labor in many trades, driving up construction costs. Open ceilings may involve lower material costs than suspended ceilings, in some cases, but any savings is more than offset by the cost of labor-intensive tasks required for open plenum.

For instance, added labor-intensive tasks may include running all electrical distribution conduit tight to the deck above with the associated additional bends in the runs, rather than running all of the conduit that crosses paths at different elevations.

For our work on Capital One’s tech incubator space in Chicago, ductwork, electrical conduits, and other infrastructure were all seamlessly integrated so the ceilings complemented the colorful, yet sleek space.

Can You Hear Me Now? Sound Considerations of Open Ceilings

Another invisible, but inevitable, cost in open plenum plans is the need for acoustical treatments. The panels in suspended ceilings are called acoustical tiles for a reason: they absorb sound to keep ambient noise levels from being disruptive. The hard surfaces of exposed ceilings –and the cement floors and glass walls they’re often coupled with – create an echo chamber. And, as people raise their voices louder to be heard over the ambient noise, the noise is amplified. White noise systems can help, but some people find the white noise itself to be disruptive.

If designers and construction firms don’t plan together to address sound issues, employee productivity, privacy and job satisfaction can suffer. For workplaces in which people must handle sensitive information, conduct frequent client calls, or collaborate closely with their colleagues, a noisy workplace is an ineffective one – and can create costly mistakes.

Solutions for noise problems in open plenum plans add to renovation bottom line. Office users may install acoustical panels directly onto the deck, or suspend baffles to absorb sound in critical areas. Spray-on acoustical material applied to the ceiling’s hard, reflective surfaces is another solution. These products soften the surfaces to absorb some of the noise, and typically have other benefits such as thermal insulation and fire protection. Spray-on solutions also cost less than panels or baffles, however, no work can be done in the space while the spray-on material is being applied. This adds seven to 10 days to the construction schedule, diminishing the savings.

Efficiency Over the Life of the Space

Even if open plenum ceilings can be installed cost-effectively, operational cost considerations can change the equation somewhat. Many planners and designers now consider the entire life-cycle cost of different solutions, including the cost of energy consumption and maintenance over time as well as the initial materials and labor.

The five-city CISCA study previously mentioned noted that energy costs were found to be lower in suspended ceilings than in open plenum ceilings, ranging from 9 percent to 10.3 percent energy savings in offices. In addition, CISCA noted that open ceilings required frequent cleaning and periodic repainting that’s unnecessary with suspended ceilings. The study concluded that when you consider both first-time and operating costs, suspended ceilings are extremely cost effective.

Open Ceilings Aren’t Going Anywhere, So Plan Ahead

All things considered, the additional cost of open plenum ceilings shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Most companies that are investing in new or renovated offices will want the hip look and blank slate that open ceilings provide. And, designers’ primary goal is to create a space that’s appealing and productive for the employees who use it; incurring an incrementally higher cost structure is a secondary concern.

Designs teams and their clients who are getting ready to build out space should be aware of the true cost of different alternatives to avoid unexpected budget blows. Informal, exposed ceilings may seem less expensive than suspended ceilings—but reality is often quite different. Make sure to account for added materials, added labor, and long-term efficiency when you’re pricing out your project.

This article was authored by Skender Vice President Clay Edwards and originally published by Work Design Magazine.

7 Myths Surrounding Hotel Conversions and Renovations

“Conversions, renovations, and franchise affiliation changes, oh my!”—this doesn’t have to be your theme song if you find yourself embarking on a hotel repositioning effort. It’s important to be aware of the myths surrounding hotel conversion projects to dispense with some of the headaches that plague others who are not in the know.

Myth 1: “To reduce renovation costs, commercial area HVAC, major mechanical, and plumbing replacement/repairs can wait until after re-opening when revenues start flowing.”

Mistake. This cash flow decision is not rooted in proper long-term asset management decision making and diminishes ROI unnecessarily because it defers true cash flow. During a recent $12 million conversion and renovation to become an upscale property, a full-service, 178-room, 30-year old midscale brand took this approach. Once open, old issues that previously plagued the hotel immediately came back to life. Repair costs surged with crews trying to avoid unsightly damage to brand new walls, floors, and public spaces. Meanwhile, guest scores tanked. If you’re contemplating renovating, you must budget accordingly for key components to the operation during that process, not after.

Read all seven myths at Lodging magazine.

The future of the ambulatory surgery centers and acuity levels

Offering the one-two punch of cost savings and convenience, ASCs are increasingly becoming the venue of choice for both physicians and patients.

Few would argue that the healthcare landscape is rapidly evolving. Today’s healthcare consumer has become far more engaged, not only demanding a greater level of personalization and convenience in their healthcare experience, but also seeking greater transparency in areas such as network coverage and medical costs. These changing patient expectations, coupled with advances in medical technology, have created a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery that is taking emergent care and surgical procedures beyond hospital walls and into outpatient facilities such as freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Offering the one-two punch of cost savings and convenience, ASCs are increasingly becoming the venue of choice for both physicians and patients because of their ability to perform increasingly complex surgeries thanks to improved anesthetic techniques and less invasive surgical procedures—services that typically come with a much higher price tag when performed in a hospital setting.

Given this market trend, it is quite feasible that ASCs will be receiving a greater number of high-acuity patients in the future. In fact, recent legislation in Florida proposed that ASCs should be able to keep patients for at least 24 hours, and then allow them to stay up to 72 hours in a post-surgical Recovery Care Center (RCC), while Arizona, Connecticut and Illinois have all established licensing standards for RCCs. If this trend continues, it will open the door to an entirely new type of outpatient facility where an ASC can take on more complex and varied types of surgeries.

Read the full article at Building Design+Construction.

Skender Partners with Solid Rock Carpenters for Annual Volunteer Day

We are excited to partner with SOLID ROCK CARPENTERS for our annual volunteer day! On October 13, we will be building wood wall panels for single-family homes to be shipped to low-income territories chosen by the Appalachia Service Project. The day will take place onsite at Skender’s new advanced manufacturing facility.

Skender Partners with Solid Rock Carpenters for Annual Volunteer Day

Skender’s annual employee volunteer day will take on new importance this year as Framing Day—a day to volunteer locally and build housing to then be shipped in modules to where it is needed most. Through a partnership with Solid Rock Carpenters, the day will benefit the Appalachia Service Project and take place on Saturday, October 13 onsite at Skender’s new advanced manufacturing facility.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Solid Rock Carpenters and utilizing our volunteers’ talents in the building trades for an amazing cause,” explains Cheryl Skender, Chair and President of Skender Foundation. “Our mix of friends, family, Builders’ Board members and professionals will help Solid Rock Carpenters create a replicable volunteer framing program that any organization willing to roll up their sleeves and swing a hammer can execute in the future.”

During the Framing Day, volunteers will come together under the guidance of Solid Rock Carpenters (SRC) to build wood wall panels for single-family homes. Those panels will then be shipped to sites chosen by the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) to provide accessible, stable and safe housing for low-income families. SRC will continue to work with onsite volunteers to help assemble and finish the homes at their final destination. Skender and SRC are also collaborating on a manual for use during future Framing Days.

SRC was founded in 2005 to provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds and skill levels to build homes and bring hope to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. SRC has since expanded to provide volunteer opportunities and build safe, accessible homes for underserved populations across the U.S.

“We were founded to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, which opened our eyes to the urgent need for housing in low-income communities throughout the country—and the enthusiasm from volunteer groups to help. The Framing Day program will help us scale our volunteerism to include more organizations, perform the volunteer activities locally, and add more destinations where there is a need,” said Scott Engle, co-founder of Solid Rock Carpenters. “We are creating something that will connect volunteer enthusiasm with the communities that need it most. Thanks to modular construction, the work can be done anywhere—in a church or company parking lot, for example.”

Skender’s volunteer day starts at 8:30 am CT and ends at 2:00 pm CT on Saturday, October 13, at the Skender Manufacturing facility at 3348 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60641. The minimum age to frame wall panels is 12 years old; youth volunteers aged 7-11 can participate in a birdhouse building activity.

Skender Wraps Up Work on Flex Lab for Loyola

Skender has completed the construction of Loyola University Chicago’s new 10,000-square-foot engineering science flex laboratory. The new single-story building is intended to provide open space, movable furniture and equipment, and a collaborative environment for the university’s engineering science program.

Along with meeting the needs of engineering and other STEM students at Loyola, the new facility will allow the public to observe through the front of the building’s large glass façade.

Solar Energy Works for Illinois – Monthly Live Webinar Series

You don’t want to miss this one – Skender Senior Project Manager Sean Moran is leading a free webinar tomorrow on net zero construction and how solar energy can pay dividends for the life of your building. Sign up at the link below!

Sean is a LEED Accredited Professional and is Passive House Institute Builder Certified, and has delivered several high performing and sustainable residential and commercial projects in the Chicago area.

Skender Named a San Francisco Bay Area Best and Brightest Company to Work For

Skender was recently named as one of San Francisco Bay Area’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the National Association for Business Resources (NABR). The award recognizes companies that excel at employee relations, use innovation to motivate employees, implement creative compensation programs and more.

An independent research firm evaluates each company’s entry based on key measures in various categories. They include compensation, benefits and employee solutions; employee enrichment, engagement and retention; employee education and development; recruitment, selection and orientation; employee achievement and recognition; communication and shared vision; diversity and inclusion; work-life balance; community initiatives; and strategic company performance.

This recognition is the 24th best-place-to-work award won by Skender over the last decade. In Chicago, Skender has been named a Best and Brightest Company to Work For 11 years in a row since 2008.

As one of the nation’s largest general contractors, Skender began managing construction projects for clients in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. Skender opened its local San Francisco office in 2016, expanded the following year and has grown the local team to now comprise more than 20 construction experts. Skender’s San Francisco operation has successfully completed renovation and new construction work in the Bay Area and beyond for numerous clients, including Prezi, Fletcher Jones, Capital One, Here, JPMorgan Chase, Paramount Group, Preservation Partners Development, Harley Ellis Devereaux, ESD and Bay Labs.

# # # 

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Skender Completes Loyola University Chicago Engineering Science Flex Laboratory

Skender recently completed Loyola University Chicago’s Engineering Science Flex Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility designed to put engineering on display. Our team successfully collaborated with SmithGroup, Elara Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti to complete this unprecedented, tech-forward building for Loyola.

Skender Completes Loyola University Chicago Engineering Science Flex Laboratory

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has completed the construction of Loyola University Chicago’s new 10,000-square-foot engineering science flex laboratory located near the intersection of North Broadway and Sheridan Road. The mission of the new single-story building is to provide open space, movable furniture and equipment, and a collaborative environment for the university’s engineering science program and its active learning framework.

This experimentation hub not only provides engineering and other STEM students with opportunities to invent, investigate and create, but also allows the public to observe and join the community through the front of the building’s large glass façade. Designed to put engineering on display and provide natural light, the glass façade utilizes electrochromic technology, a form of Smart Glass that changes with daylight using sensors that monitor the sunlight’s intensity on the façade. The glass becomes less transparent as the sun sets, reducing solar heat gain and glare.

Skender collaborated with SmithGroup, Elara Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti to successfully complete this unprecedented, tech-forward facility for Loyola.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Skender’s Healthcare Portfolio Growing as Firm Completes Several Projects for Major Chicago Health System

Skender’s healthcare team has won construction management assignments for several projects throughout Chicago. Among the projects recently started or nearing completion:

  • NM Immediate Care Clinic (West Loop, Chicago) – 5,500-SF build-out in new core and shell building at 171 N. Aberdeen featuring six exam rooms, an x-ray room, infusion treatment areas, laboratory space, staff lounge and work areas, and internal mechanical room with standalone air handling unit.

 

Skender Foundation : Harvesting Hope 2018

Harvesting Hope is one month away! Get your tickets today to support Purple Asparagus, a nonprofit organization that educates children, families and the community about good nutrition. Join us October 18 at Morgan’s on Fulton. #harvestinghope #nutrition #purpleasparagus

2018 Multifamily Executive Conference

Our own Timothy Swanson, chief design officer, will be speaking next week at MFE: Multifamily Executive Conference in Las Vegas.

Learn more about this exciting event here:

Successful in San Francisco

We’ve been hard at work in San Francisco for nearly 10 years. From tech giants to healthcare start-ups and everything between, we’re revolutionizing the industry one square-foot at a time. Check out more of our collaborations at skender.com/sanfrancisco

Skender’s Healthcare Portfolio Growing as Firm Completes Several Projects for Major Chicago Health System

Skender’s healthcare team has won construction management assignments for several projects throughout Chicago. Among the projects recently started or nearing completion:

  • Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Clinic (West Loop, Chicago) – 5,500-SF build-out in new core and shell building at 171 N. Aberdeen featuring six exam rooms, an x-ray room, infusion treatment areas, laboratory space, staff lounge and work areas, and an internal mechanical room with a standalone air handling unit.
  • Northwestern Medicine Lavin Pavilion 21st Floor Internal Medicine Clinic (Streeterville, Chicago) – 15,000-SF build-out in core and shell building on Northwestern Medicine’s Streeterville Campus featuring 25 exam rooms, staff offices and lounge area, laboratory space, and various support spaces. The project was completed on an expedited time frame and utilized extensive building information modeling (BIM).
  • Northwestern Medicine Galter 1 Renovations (Streeterville, Chicago) – Upgrades to the existing Galter Pavilion 1st Floor Lobby including seating areas featuring new terrazzo, lighting and upgraded finishes. The project was completed in multiple phases with no impact on hospital operations.
  • Prentice Operating Room Video Integration (Streeterville, Chicago) – Interior upgrades to 10 Operating Rooms and supporting services within Prentice Women’s Hospital at Northwestern Medicine. The upgrade consisted of finishes, millwork, terrazzo flooring, operating room (OR) booms and lights with structure, and video integration systems with associated electrical work. Extensive coordination with the Owner’s equipment vendors was involved to provide the complete electrical infrastructure for the new systems. This project involved the refreshing of an old OR suite for temporary use and moving the entire OR operations to the temporary space prior to the start of construction.

Skender’s team has successfully completed renovation and new construction work for other healthcare clients with a strong Midwest presence, including Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Esperanza Health Centers, University of Chicago Medicine, Rush University Medical Center and Loyola Medicine.

Skender Ranks Among Nation’s Top 130 Contractors

Skender ranked at No. 80 out of 130 U.S.-based contractors in Building Design+Construction magazine’s recently published 2018 Giants 300 Report, which ranks U.S. building contractors by annual revenue.

Skender Ranks Among Nation’s Top 130 Contractors

Skender ranked among the top 130 construction firms in the U.S., according to a report compiled by Building Design+Construction magazine. As part of the publication’s 2018 Giants 300 Report, which ranks U.S. building contractors by annual revenue, Skender earned the No. 80 spot with 2017 revenues of $400 million.

Building Design+Construction also ranks U.S. contractors by building sector. Skender earned the No. 31 spot in the list of top retail contractors, No. 35 among the top office contractors, No. 55 among the top healthcare contractors, and No. 67 among the nation’s top multifamily contractors.

In August, Skender was recognized by Midwest Real Estate News. In the magazine’s “2018 Best of the Best” issue, Skender ranked among the top 25 general contractors in the Midwest. This ranking was also determined by 2017 revenues.

In addition to these industry accolades, Skender was recently recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business. In the publication’s “Chicago’s Largest Privately Held Companies” list, Skender earned the No. 137 spot of nearly 370 privately-held companies. This ranking was determined by 2017 revenues. Skender was also named to Crain’s Chicago Businesses’ “Best Places to Work” list, earning the No. 6 spot of 100 companies.

Manufacturing modular buildings “has opened us up already to wild new materials we haven’t been…

Manufacturing modular buildings “has opened us up already to wild new materials we haven’t been able to touch, because we can use them at scale, and allows us to explore new ways of experience and design within a building, because we’re starting to standardize the process of putting things together.” – Skender CDO Timothy Swanson speaking at today’s Bisnow CHI State of the Market event.

Built To Move | HCD Magazine

“Designing for flexibility in healthcare is a necessity. Design and building professionals must … work together to implement solutions like modular systems that support streamlined and ongoing facilities projects.”

2018 Summer Eclipse

Last month at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Skender Foundation hosted its 7th annual Summer Eclipse event. $380,000 was raised in one night by sponsors and more than 500 attendees. Check out some highlights from the event!

Vote Here!

Teamed up with Gensler, our CANstruction team built a Keith Haring art piece. Keith Haring was no stranger to how art brings to light social issues, and he understood the impact and importance of speaking up and creating a more just and fulfilled world. Here in Chicago, where a new exhibit of Haring’s murals are on display, the clarity of his blocky, recognizable figures and directness of message is a great way to convey that one in seven people in Cook County will experience food insecurity this year. Show your support by voting for our structure!

Seventh Annual Summer Eclipse Raises $380,000 for Local Charities

Skender Foundation hosted its annual fundraiser, Summer Eclipse, on Thursday, July 19 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. A total of $380,000 was raised in one night by sponsors and more than 500 event attendees. Of that, $30,000 will be donated to The Bridge Teen Center while the balance will be dispersed to other charities dedicated to education and wellness throughout the year. In 2017, Summer Eclipse donations went to more than 100 different charity organizations.

Located in Orland Park since 2010, The Bridge Teen Center has served over 5,900 different teens and families from 128 Chicago Southland and Northwest Indiana communities. The organization’s mission is to provide free programs for students in 7th to 12th grade during after school and unsupervised hours.

“Skender Foundation was built on providing opportunities, tools and resources to those in need to make better life choices. We chose to highlight The Bridge Teen Center based on our aligned missions to provide a safe place where students can find hope, purpose and direction in their lives,” Skender Foundation Associate Executive Director Belinda Moore said regarding the motivation behind Summer Eclipse.

Since its 2012 inception, Skender Foundation has raised over $2,300,000 for more than 200 charitable organizations. To learn more about The Bridge Teen Center, visit http://thebridgeteencenter.org/.

Skender Completes Prezi’s 3-story, 20,000-SQFT Office in San Francisco

Skender, serving as general contractor, has completed the renovation of Prezi’s three-floor, 20,000-square-foot office suite in San Francisco’s growing SoMa (South of Market) District. Skender completed the renovations for this innovative presentation software technology company in partnership with architect Gensler.

Skender Completes Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Development on Chicago’s South Side

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, recently completed Woodlawn Station, a transit-oriented affordable housing development in Chicago, Illinois. Located just under the Cottage Grove Green Line CTA terminus station in Chicago South Side neighborhood Woodlawn, the mixed-use development features a main building that contains 55 units and two additional nearby buildings containing 12 and 3 units respectively. Occupation has begun in the 55-unit building and the 3- and 12-unit buildings will be completed at the end of this month.

The owner, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), hired Skender to complete its fifth new construction project along Cottage Grove Avenue, regenerating acres of blighted sites with affordable housing. Woodlawn Station returned a blighted sight back to use and also will provide much needed affordable housing for the neighborhood. According to POAH, its investments and partnerships are having a dramatic impact on Woodlawn—the population has grown 15 percent (the first increase in decades), new jobs are being created, the number of vacant properties has plummeted, and violent crime has fallen by 40 percent.

Woodlawn Station strives to not only improve the lives of its residents, but also to support local entrepreneurs who will be moving into its ground-level retail space. These businesses will be offered lower rents and generous tenant improvement packages. One such business is locally renowned Ain’t She Sweet Café, the first retail tenant announced for the building.

Servicing a mixed-income community, Woodlawn Station will provide replacement housing for 35 former Grove Parc Plaza residents, another 20 units for middle-income residents and 15 units of market rate housing.

The Nia Architects-designed apartment community was funded by POAH, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other lending partners. Construction took 12 months and materials included steel and precast on the 55-unit building, and concrete masonry units and wood framing on the 12- and 3-unit buildings.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Skender completes affordable TOD on Chicago’s South Side

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, recently completed Woodlawn Station, a transit-oriented affordable housing development in Chicago. Located just under the Cottage Grove Green Line CTA terminus station in Chicago South Side neighborhood Woodlawn, the mixed-use development features a main building that contains 55 units and two additional nearby buildings containing 12 and 3 units respectively. Occupation has begun in the 55-unit building and the 3- and 12-unit buildings will be completed at the end of this month.

The owner, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), hired Skender to complete its fifth new construction project along Cottage Grove Avenue, regenerating acres of blighted sites with affordable housing. Woodlawn Station returned a blighted sight back to use and also will provide much needed affordable housing for the neighborhood. According to POAH, its investments and partnerships are having a dramatic impact on Woodlawn—the population has grown 15 percent (the first increase in decades), new jobs are being created, the number of vacant properties has plummeted and violent crime has fallen by 40 percent.

Read more at REJournals > 

Skender Completes Prezi’s 3-story Office Renovation in San Francisco

Skender, serving as general contractor, has completed the renovation of Prezi’s three-floor, 20,000-square-foot office suite in San Francisco’s growing SoMa (South of Market) District. Skender completed the renovations for this innovative presentation software technology company in partnership with architect Gensler.

Similar to many tech firms, Prezi searched for a new home within the competitive San Francisco leasing market, leading it to the older buildings in the warehouse-heavy SoMa District. With complex permitting processes to get mechanical systems and building structures up to code coupled with an expiring lease, Prezi brought in Skender to quickly strategize how to reinvent the space, without disturbing employees, under the tight timeframe. Together, they decided on a multi-phase approach, including extensive target value design and pre-construction services to allow for productive work to continue in the offices while still offering a rapid build-out.

The highlight of the completed space is the “Show and Tell” assembly space throughout levels one and two with stadium-seating that connects the first-floor presentation area to the mezzanine on the second. The first floor features a specialty kitchen that can provide full catering services for office meals and after-hours functions. Prezi’s Hungarian roots and storytelling values are prominent throughout the space, which includes a signature wall in the entryway that features memorabilia representing the company’s history.

This fast-paced project marks Skender’s first partnership with Gensler in San Francisco. The collaboration builds on a long-standing collaborative relationship the two firms enjoy in Chicago, having worked together on recent interior office projects including Wilson Sporting Goods, Facebook and Motorola Mobility.

Skender has completed significant new construction and office interior renovation projects in the Bay Area across multiple downtown neighborhoods like SoMa, East Cut and Mission Bay. The San Francisco office has expanded, driven by organic growth with an expected 10 times increase in revenue from 2017 to 2018 and a doubling of its workforce since the beginning of 2017. With this expansion have come several impressive, tech-enabled projects, including three office interior build-outs for a financial institution competing for technology industry talent; a location data firm connecting with its other U.S. HQ in Washington, D.C.; and a large Silicon Valley technology company showcasing its work in a significant visitor’s center. The first two projects are located in Class A office buildings in the “East Cut” area of SoMa, and the final project is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. These three projects and the work for Prezi are valued at around $45 million in total, underscoring the immense growth the Skender San Francisco operation has experienced this year.

As one of the nation’s largest general contractors, Skender began managing construction projects for clients in the San Francisco area in 2010. Skender opened its local San Francisco office in 2016, expanded the following year and has grown the local team to now comprise more than 20 construction experts. Skender’s San Francisco operation has successfully completed renovation and new construction work in the Bay Area and beyond for numerous clients, including Fletcher Jones, Capital One, Here, JPMorgan Chase, Paramount Group, Preservation Partners Development, Harley Ellis Devereaux, ESD and Bay Labs.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds. Using an efficient, streamlined process, we bring together every stage of the journey for constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Elgin Tower Building wins preservation award

Congrats to all our project partners! Our Elgin Tower project just earned “one of the most prestigious preservation awards in the state:” the 2018 Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation preservation award for adaptive reuse.

Elgin Tower Building Wins Preservation Award

The recent rehabilitation of the Tower Building in Elgin is being recognized with “one of the most prestigious preservation awards in the state,” as one Elgin historic preservation planner put it.

The 1929, 15-story former office building at 100 E. Chicago St. reopened in late January after being converted into 44 apartments. It is the recipient of the 2018 Landmark Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation preservation award for adaptive use. The awards ceremony is Sept. 15 in Chicago.

City staff members submitted the nomination recognizing developer Capstone Development Group and architect Webster Design, both of St. Louis, and Skender Construction of Chicago, historic preservation planner Christen Sundquist told the city council Wednesday.

Read more at the Daily Herald >

Hyatt House from the Ground-up

Going vertical only happens with expertly planned and executed substructure and foundation. Sterling Bay’s new West Loop Hyatt House hotel was no exception. With innovative thinking from our own project team alongside our great partnerships, we’re bringing the new Hyatt House to life.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of New 207,000-square-foot C.H. Robinson Office in Chicago’s Lincoln Yards Development

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of a new, 207,000-square-foot office for C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 500 third-party logistics and supply chain management provider. The office, located at 1515 W. Webster, is the first riverfront property in Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards development, a contender for the Amazon HQ2 bid.

C.H. Robinson relocated from its former office at 1840 N. Marcey Street to accommodate the business’s rapidly growing Chicago workforce. The new, technology-rich office space offers a wide range of amenities in support of a highly collaborative and productive workplace, including open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café, a 5,000-square-foot roof terrace with unobstructed views of downtown Chicago and an open atrium that cuts dramatically through all four floors of the firm’s space.

Skender has built millions of square feet of award-winning interior workspace environments for clients that include 1871, Facebook, Google, Whole Foods, Wilson Sporting Goods and countless others. Skender and Sterling Bay have partnered throughout Chicago in the office, hotel and retail sectors. For the C.H. Robinson office, they collaborated with designers Vocon and SOM.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Landmarks Illinois announces 2018 Preservation Award Recipients

The Elgin Tower Building recently earned a 2018 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for adaptive reuse. In February, Skender completed a 60,000-square-foot rehabilitation of the 15-story historic centerpiece in downtown Elgin, Illinois. #adaptivereuse

Infill Redevelopment, a Long Game Perfect for Architects

“Creating a high-performance home chassis that can be configurable, permit-able, and quickly manufactured allows us to work directly with the families that will call these buildings home to define and design them in a fraction of the time of traditional construction.” 
#design #infill #redevelopment 

The Hidden Costs of Open Ceilings

Skender has renovated millions of square feet of award-winning interior workspace environments. Our recent article for Work Design Magazine explores the hidden costs of open ceilings.

Intern-It-Up!

Meetings, marketing and mail, oh my! Our corporate interns learned a lot this summer. Check out the fun video they made to see what they did!

Chicago’s top workplace rooftops

The Skender-built interior environment for GGP “was focused on creating many kinds of work seating, but in June that ethos spilled onto a spacious third-floor terrace.”

Contractor plans factory-built apartment project in West Loop

Skender, a Chicago contractor, is taking a big step into the modular construction business, leasing factory space on the Southwest Side where as many as 100 people will build apartments and hotel rooms to be snapped together on construction sites.

Skender has hired a leader to run its new modular unit and is moving ahead with plans for the plant’s first big project: a six-story, 110-unit apartment building. The company will make its parts in the factory and assemble them on a West Loop site, a development Skender hopes will demonstrate the promise of modular construction.

“We want to see buildings as products in the future,” said Skender CEO Mark Skender. “Just the way a manufacturer would.”

Skender is making a major commitment to its modular strategy, signing a lease this month for a 105,000-square-foot space in an industrial building at 3348 S. Pulaski Road in South Lawndale. Workers there will build entire apartments, hotel rooms—complete with plumbing, electrical, fixtures and finishes—or other modules that will be shipped to construction sites, lifted into place by a crane and connected Lego-style.

Skender Announces New Advanced Manufacturing Facility for Modular Building, Creates 100 New Jobs on Chicago’s Southwest Side

New Skender Manufacturing president, Peter Murray, announces production start and first modular project, a six-story multifamily building in West Loop

CHICAGO (July 26, 2018) – Today, Chicago-based Skender announced the creation of 100 new jobs in the City of Chicago, made possible with the opening of the new Skender advanced manufacturing facility, and the hiring of Peter Murray as President, Skender Manufacturing. The new advanced manufacturing operations will be located at 3348 S. Pulaski, on Chicago’s southwest side; approximately 100 new jobs will be created related to the production of modular buildings for multifamily, healthcare and commercial buildings. Production is scheduled to start as early as November 2018 for Skender Manufacturing’s first project, a six-story, 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot West Loop multifamily building.

“With the launch of Skender Manufacturing, our vertical integration is fusing design, manufacturing and construction into a single process,” says Mark Skender, Skender CEO. “Peter Murray’s experience in the advanced manufacturing industry will bring our vision to life. By designing, manufacturing and constructing modular buildings and building components, we can centralize and stabilize labor, standardize the assembly process and eliminate weather-related delays. This process will increase efficiency, shorten schedules, ensure consistent high quality and reduce costs—ultimately making new buildings affordable, even in our current environment of rising costs for labor and materials.”

New Chicago plant, 100 new advanced manufacturing jobs

To host the new operations, Skender recently signed a lease for 105,560 square feet at 3348 S. Pulaski, a multi-tenant industrial facility located on the southwest side of Chicago. Hiring is underway to fill 100 positions at the facility within 18 months, and manufacturing will launch as early as November 2018.

Skender has been delivering construction projects throughout Chicago and its suburbs for nearly six decades and the company continues its dedication to the city by anchoring its manufacturing facility in an industrial park just north of Interstate 55.

Skender hires Peter Murray as President, Skender Manufacturing

Peter Murray brings more than 20 years of advanced manufacturing, operations and consulting experience establishing and improving international organizations. Murray joins Skender from an operations consultant position with Cohero Health, a privately-held digital health company, and from the management consulting company he founded, Murray Consultants, LLC.

Prior to consulting, Murray was President and Chief Operating Officer for Guerdon Modular Buildings in Boise, Idaho, an off-site producer of modular construction projects. Before that, he spent 21 years with Welch Allyn, launching a successful greenfield production facility.

Murray’s modular building and manufacturing experience from Guerdon, his startup leadership experience, and his proven ability to lead a major organization transformation within the highly-regulated manufacturing environment blend into the right combination of factors necessary to launch and lead Skender Manufacturing.

“I’m a huge believer in advanced manufacturing and I’ve seen its potential for the building industry,” expresses Murray. “There’s no reason we can’t apply the principles of advanced product design to buildings. Skender Manufacturing will use technology to challenge industry norms and boundaries. Our Chicago factory will be a place where the status quo exists only to be destroyed.”

Skender Manufacturing Will Begin First Multifamily Project

Skender expects to have prototype modules ready for viewing and demonstration in September. Already, the firm is taking orders and developing designs for a number of multifamily and healthcare projects, including a 110-unit, 80,000-square-foot, six-story building being developed in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood to satisfy the growing demand for workforce housing.

Modules for the West Loop building will roll off the assembly line as early as November 2018. Foundation and podium construction is expected to begin in early 2019. Assembly of the 110 modular units onto the one-story structural steel podium is expected to start by February 2019. Installation of the modules will take approximately eight weeks, with substantial completion of the entire building expected by July 2019 for a total project timeline of approximately seven months, which is about 30 to 40 percent faster than the traditional building process. Total project development costs are expected to be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.

# # #

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

 

Essential Process of Pull-Planning

Every project we take on, we build twice—once in the field and once in the office through pull-planning. As part of our Lean project delivery, which saves our clients time and money, we build by collaborating and gathering important input from everyone involved in the project life cycle.

Skender breaks ground on senior lifestyle assisted living in Northbrook

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on North Shore Place, a Senior Lifestyle-owned assisted living facility located in Northbrook, Illinois. This marks the second new construction project Skender has completed for Senior Lifestyle on this property after a 175,000-square foot, five-story, 157-unit assisted living facility located adjacent to current construction.

Skender Breaks Ground on Senior Lifestyle Assisted Living Facility in Northbrook, IL

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on North Shore Place, a Senior Lifestyle-owned assisted living facility located in Northbrook, Illinois. This marks the second new construction project Skender has completed for Senior Lifestyle on this property; the first a 175,000-square foot, five-story, 157-unit assisted living facility located adjacent to current construction.

The new two-story, 74,000-square-foot assisted living facility will offer 38 memory care units. Special infrastructure will allow for the installation of a video memory screen adjacent to every tenant’s entryway door that cycles through digitized photographs of family and friends to assist tenants with room identification. Once the new building is complete, Skender will convert the former memory care wing into 30 assisted living units. All work is being performed adjacent to a fully operational, twenty-four seven facility and requires shut down of the main access drive for building deliveries and egress.

Skender is working in collaboration with design firm SAS Architects & Planners, civil engineering firm Manhard Consulting and structural engineering firm Bowman, Barrett & Associates to successfully complete the project in 10 months followed by a four-month conversion of the existing North Shore Place facility from memory care to assisted living.

BIM: What you need to know

“How AEC professionals can use BIM to boost productivity, reduce errors, manage workflows, cut costs and resolve disputes.”

Skender Hires Two Industry Veterans

Skender is pleased to welcome to its team two industry veterans who have a combined 55 years of experience in the construction industry. 

Jerry Winchester has joined Skender as Senior Project Manager. With nearly 25 years of construction experience, Jerry Winchester brings large-scale healthcare, luxury hotel, higher education and multifamily project experience to Skender. He previously led construction projects for Power Construction, including the 685,000-SF Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center and 381,000-SF Presence Center for Advanced Care in Lakeview. Jerry holds a B.S. in construction management from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Matt Baker has joined Skender as Senior Superintendent. Matt Baker brings to Skender more than 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Most recently, he worked at Leopardo Companies, where he was a project superintendent since 2010. Matt’s recent project experience includes interior build-out work for Grant Thornton, Grubhub and Whirlpool. Matt holds a B.S. from Elmhurst College.

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands.

Healthcare’s In A State Of Constant Disruption

“The greatest demand is for outpatient facilities. Only 10 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine hip replacement done in an outpatient setting, but now it is increasingly common, especially in newer ambulatory surgery centers …”

Projects Conference Chicago – BuiltWorlds

Don’t miss out – Skender Chief Design Officer Tim Swanson and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Bredeson present alongside ManufactOn’s Raghi Iyengar about their newest collaboration – a vertically-integrated design-manufacturing-build business model.

7 Ideas for Containing Construction Costs

Though the real estate industry has seen a development rebound over the past decade, rising construction costs are weighing down the buoyant market. The persistent skilled labor shortage makes staffing and maintaining sites expensive. Materials are pricier, and now tariffs on steel, aluminum and lumber imports may only make the problem worse. At the same time, interest rate growth is converging with all these issues, making project financing more difficult to obtain and more costly.

A recent survey of top construction lenders conducted by Construction Lender Risk Management Roundtable found that almost two-thirds said they saw projects running over budget either more often or much more often, and 87 percent said they saw projects running behind schedule, driving up the risk of project defaults and unfinished sites.

Everyone involved in the built environment — including real estate investors, developers, lenders, contractors and architects — is looking for ways to keep costs down without sacrificing quality, as well as eliminate the delays, mistakes and course corrections that bust budgets.

Amenities That Attract Office Tenants

“Today’s office amenities are all about retaining workers and keeping them in the office longer—and for office property owners, that requires application to the entire building.”

Interiors Market Video

The personality of an organization comes through the built environment. Constructing and renovating millions of square feet of award-winning interior workspace environments has taught us to see every project differently—from tech startups to established law firms.

Reducing design coordination errors with VR, AR

“Within a couple of years, virtual and augmented reality tools won’t seem so exotic, and are going to be routinely applied for clash management as well as many other related applications.”

Rovers set to invade construction jobsites

“Part Wall-E, part MSE-6 mouse droid from “Star Wars,” Doxel’s self-directing robots survey building sites each day to capture HD imagery and laser scans at all stages of construction.”

Hyatt House – Planning the Project

An inside glimpse at a portion of the significant collaboration and planning that went into the new 14-story, 167,000-SF Hyatt House Hotel – developed by Sterling Bay and designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects.

Skender Releases “101 Ways to Build Smarter” eBook, Featuring Ideas to Offset Rapidly Escalating Construction Prices

Construction costs have been consistently rising just when the industry can least afford it. Today, a new report from Skender offers “101 Ways to Build Smarter.” The 18-page eBook, available for download at www.skender.com/buildsmarter/, is a resource filled with quality-enhancing and value-optimizing possibilities for building owners, developers, architects, brokers, contractors, corporate real estate and workplace executives, and all those involved in the building process.

Skender, a fully-integrated construction, design and manufacturing firm with offices in Chicago and San Francisco, has amassed this list of insider tips, industry secrets and best practices through their work building for some of the world’s largest companies and most innovative brands. Working with their trade partners, end-users, vendors and global industry experts, Skender’s eBook uncovers practical ways to drive quality up, without a similar increase in cost. Driven by Skender’s commitment to the high-efficiency, waste-reduction principles of Lean construction, the eBook conveys the value of collaboration and transparency.

“It is essential that everyone involved in a new building look for innovative ways to deliver high-quality projects while stemming the tide of rising costs,” said Mark Skender, CEO. “In this eBook, we are sharing some of the best practices we’ve learned with our clients and project partners over the past six decades. Many of these ideas have inspired us to revolutionize how the industry builds through our recent vertical integration.”

While the eBook delivers high-level concepts specific to several project types—including corporate interiors, affordable housing, senior living, new office buildings, multifamily, hospitality, higher education, retail and healthcare—more than half of the tips can apply to any construction project. The following four ideas, sampled from the eBook, can enhance efficiency and improve quality across all commercial developments.

  1. Lock in pricing to hedge against rising interest rates. In an inflationary environment, lock in materials and equipment costs as soon as possible. As prices escalate, it often pays off to pre-purchase materials to avoid price hikes.
  2. Build lighter and smarter. Sometimes owners ask for materials and equipment that are larger or more powerful than the anticipated use requires. Your contractor may know of a less expensive way to get the job done.
  3. For owners, installing smart tech now can mean big facilities management savings later. Installing certain technologies that represent cost increases during construction can deliver large future savings, such as remote programming of HVAC and security systems.
  4. Go Lean. Start by hiring an integrated design and construction team with experience in Lean Construction, our industry’s take on the Toyota Way. These pros will share a focus on reducing wasted materials, time and labor costs.

Skender recognizes that firms looking to build new facilities, expand their footprint or renovate existing spaces must collaborate and crowdsource ideas from industry veterans, including design gurus, construction experts, end-users and developers alike. According to a corporate real estate end-user client, “In days past, the building process was very linear: everybody handed something off to another. But now it’s got to be more collaborative, to adhere to our budgets and time frames.”

These ideas and tips are more than theory, vetted through hundreds of projects and field experience with Skender’s myriad corporate real estate and developer clients, and they can relieve the shared burden of escalating construction costs. Download the free “101 Ways to Build Smarter” eBook at www.skender.com/buildsmarter/.

Skender Breaks Ground on Loyola University Chicago Engineering Science Flex Laboratory

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on Loyola University Chicago’s new 10,000-square-foot engineering science flex laboratory located near the intersection of North Broadway and Sheridan Road. The mission of the new single-story building is to provide open space, movable furniture and equipment, and a collaborative environment for the engineering science program’s active learning framework. The state-of-the-art facility will innovate how the university utilizes available space.

Scheduled to open in summer 2018, this experimentation hub will not only provide engineering and other STEM students with opportunities to invent, investigate and create, but also allow the public to observe and join the community through the front of the building’s large glass façade. Designed to put engineering on display and provide natural light, the glass façade utilizes electrochromic technology, a form of Smart Glass that changes with daylight using sensors that monitor the sunlight’s intensity on the façade. The glass becomes less transparent as the sun sets, reducing solar heat gain and glare.

Skender is working in collaboration with SmithGroupJJR, Elara Engineering and Thornton Tomasetti to successfully complete this unprecedented, tech-forward facility for Loyola.

 

The future of healthcare design and construction? It’s factory made.

What if we could make patient care better and more accessible by applying intelligent design and manufacturing principles to build healthcare spaces?

Rising costs and complexity across healthcare and construction have made it more challenging to enhance patient experiences through new healthcare facilities. One solution: deliver customization via intelligent design. Technological advancements make it possible to manufacture many healthcare building components — think complete patient and treatment rooms — offsite, to be assembled onsite for higher quality, yet more-efficient construction.

At the same time, these added efficiencies allow providers and their teams access to better options at lower prices—ultimately making healthcare more accessible to the communities that need it the most.

Read more at Healthcare Facilities Today.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of National Law Firm’s 121,000-Square-Foot Headquarters in Chicago

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 121,000-square-foot headquarters for national law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP at 151 N. Franklin Street in Chicago’s West Loop. The building is a newly constructed 35-story office tower that will soon be known as CNA Center when CNA moves in from its current headquarters at 333 S. Wabash and Northern Trust takes over the naming rights to that building.

Relocating from its current offices at 222 N. LaSalle, Hinshaw’s new, five-floor workspace features high-end finishes throughout the space; two floor-to-ceiling Italian marble feature walls on the 25th floor; a stone, glass and millwork feature wall on the 24th floor; a substantial employee café and open-plan benching for support staff. Universal size private offices with lakefront views contain large sidelites around the office doors that bring natural light into the common areas. Skender also built a large conference center with modern metal-framed glass pivot doors and custom millwork that will function as an impressive event space.

Skender collaborated with several Chicago-based firms to successfully complete this project, including design firm SCB, consulting-engineering firm Environmental Systems Design (ESD) and project management firm ConopCo Project Management.

Gentrification: The Good, the Bad, and the Hipsters

What are the long-term effects of gentrification on communities, and is urban revitalization possible without it? 

Our own Timothy Swanson will explore gentrification and all its implications with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Don’t miss out – get your ticket now! 

Skender Ranks Among Top U.S. Contractors, Climbs 26 Spots on National List

Skender ranked among the top U.S. contractors, according to Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine’s recently published list of the largest contractors by revenue.

Ranked at No. 208 out of 400 U.S.-based contractors, Skender moved up 26 spots from last year’s spot with 2017 revenues of $400 million.

Some of Skender’s prominent projects in 2017 included the 168,000-SF HQ relocation for GGP, a 100,000-SF multifamily rehabilitation, a 62,000-SF affordable senior housing facility in Chicago, as well as several projects for major Chicago healthcare systems. Skender’s San Francisco office also expanded in 2017 with many new projects and project team hires.

Skender Named as a Best Place to Work in Illinois for Tenth Consecutive Year

Skender was recently named as one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Illinois. Established in 2006, the awards program is facilitated by Daily Herald Business Ledger in partnership with the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC), MRA-The Management Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Advocacy Council.

This statewide program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Illinois, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses. Skender took home the second-place honor in the mid-sized company category.

“The Skender community is made up of incredibly talented and innovative individuals that make it refreshing to come to work every day and extend our core values to our clients. Every employee at Skender impacts the environment through thoughtful contributions to our cultural framework,” said Lisa Latronico, Skender Vice President of People and Culture.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Illinois. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices and demographics. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Illinois as well as analyzed the data to determine the final rankings.

Skender was one of 75 companies recognized and honored at the Best Places to Work in Illinois awards ceremony hosted by Daily Herald Business Ledger on May 17 and will be profiled in a special publication.

This recognition is the 22nd best-place-to-work award won by Skender over the last decade. Earlier this year, Skender was named the No. 6 Best Place to Work in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business.

CRE Future Leaders: Tim Swanson

“…the fact that we start and end our days with a startup mentality, focused on driving and disrupting the industry for collective good, fuels me,” Skender’s Timothy Swanson featured in a Q&A session for RE Journals’ CRE Future Leaders series.

WCA Luncheon: Affordable Housing Panel

Don’t miss your chance to hear Skender’s Timothy Swanson speak at tomorrow’s Affordable Housing Panel luncheon with the West Central Association Chamber of Commerce – get your ticket now!

Learn about affordable off-site options, Near North/West ARO Pilot, and innovative ways to build cost effective housing from Tim and experts from ARO Alternatives, LG Construction + Development, Brinshore Development, LLC and Acosta Ezgur. 

Latinisimo 2018 – Esperanza Health Centers Gala 2018

Join us this Thursday at Latinisimo ’18 in support of Esperanza Health Centers! The event will explore the culinary traditions of Latin America with 9 restaurants representing the best of Chicago’s Latin American cuisine, all in support of one of the top-rated community health centers in the nation.

Skender Foundation : Summer Eclipse 2018

Summer Eclipse early bird tickets are on sale now! Purchase yours today and join us July 19 at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to support The Bridge Teen Center, a nonprofit community center that provides free after school programs, weekend entertainment and special events for students in 7th-12th grade. 

Limelight 2018 featuring A Road to Greenbuild Event

Mark your calendar for Limelight, a celebration of achievements in sustainability with Illinois Green Alliance (formerly USGBC-Illinois). We are proud sponsors of this event, and of all the work by Illinois Green Alliance to make our communities more sustainable. 

Skender Completes Clinic for Major Chicago Health System

Skender, serving as general contractor, completed the 17,000-square-foot interior build-out of a health care clinic for a major Chicago health system.

Located on the first floor of the building, the new clinic included the expansion of the existing imaging department with a new Siemens 3TMRI, Rad/Flouro Machine, and relocated Carestream Rad. Skender built out an immediate care center, including seven additional exam rooms; a new cancer treatment center with infusion rooms; and expansion of the building’s laboratory. Lastly, the build-out included two procedure rooms, six recovery bays, nursing stations, a conference space and new lobby.

Working in the occupied space, Skender coordinated utility shutdowns and all construction logistics to minimize the impact on ongoing building operations. Skender collaborated with Anderson Mikos Architects, ltd. and ESD Global to successfully complete the build-out.

Skender Launches Interior Construction for 207,000-SF Chicago Office

Skender has begun interior construction on a 207,000-square-foot office in Lincoln Park, Ill., which will serve as the new Chicagoland home of C.H. Robinson.

Developed by Sterling Bay, the property is within the first Sterling Bay riverfront property in its Lincoln Yards development, which also happens to be a contender for the Amazon HQ2 bid.

“It’s a great space, brand new building, and kicks off the Lincoln Yards development,” Michael Andre, Skender’s project manager, told Commercial Property Executive“For C.H., the space they are in right now is a big space with a lot of bodies. The new space has a design with an open atrium concept that splits right down the middle, so it should be a very lively building.”

The top floor alone will feature approximately 1,200 workstation benches.

A SOLID PARTNERSHIP

Skender and Sterling Bay have collaborated numerous times in the office, hotel and retail sectors throughout Chicago, with much of their partnering helping to shape the popular Fulton Market corridor.

Last month, Skender broke ground on a 14-story, 200-key Hyatt House hotel in Chicago’s West Loop. When completed, the 167,000-square-foot hotel will be the first extended-stay lodging in the city’s Fulton Market neighborhood.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive magazine.

5 Ways To Make Affordable Housing Development Feasible

U.S. cities continue to swell in population. But for people looking to live in urban areas, limited affordable options are the new normal.

The U.S. needs an additional 4.6 million apartments to meet demand by 2030, the National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association estimate. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines affordability as housing for which the occupants pay no more than 30% of their household income on rent. But across all renter households, nearly half allocate more than 30% of their income toward housing.

Despite high demand, affordable housing inventory continues to decline while luxury development experiences oversupply across major markets. Discouraged by rising construction costs, land restraints and zoning regulations, developers favor market-rate housing. Apartment completions in the 150 largest U.S. cities increased to nearly 400,000 units in 2017, but luxury buildings accounted for almost 80% of the new supply in the current cycle.

“Recent developments in the tax credit arena have affected how developers are able to make new affordable housing projects viable,” Skender project executive Joe Pecoraro said. “The old formula just doesn’t work as well, if at all, in today’s new reality. Developers and their construction partners will have to explore new ways of financing deals and new ways of building to keep affordable housing deals cost-effective.”

The push for more affordable development has led some developers to look beyond government incentives. From working with nonprofits to partnering with a contractor specializing in lean construction, here are five ways to make affordable housing more cost-effective.

Continue reading this article on Bisnow.

Skender Receives City of Elgin’s Mayor’s Award for Historic Preservation of 15-story Elgin Tower Building

Skender, along with St. Louis-based Webster Design and owner Capstone Development Group, received the William Stickling Memorial Award at the 28th annual Mayor’s Awards Presentation honoring outstanding contributors to Elgin’s heritage. The award recipients were selected by the Elgin Heritage Commission and Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin based on the project team’s dedicated efforts to preserving Elgin’s historic architecture, neighborhoods and cultural resources.

In February, Skender completed the 60,000-square-foot, 15-story rehabilitation of The Elgin Tower Building, a historic centerpiece in downtown Elgin, Illinois. Condemned in 2014 due to a fire, the former bank turned office building underwent a complete gut rehab transformation into 44 market-rate apartment units with modern finishes.

Skender worked with Webster Design and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to protect and preserve the building’s historic elements, which involved retaining original terrazzo in the corridors, refinishing or recreating wooden landmark unit entries, rebuilding elevators to operate within the existing shafts, replacing exterior windows and coordinating local street closures to facilitate the project’s temporary loading dock.

Skender Breaks Ground on 14-Story Hyatt House Hotel in Chicago’s Fulton Market

Construction firm Skender has broken ground on a 14-story Hyatt House hotel in Chicago’s Fulton Market district. The 167,000-square-foot, 200-room development is located at 105 N. May St. The Hyatt House will be the first hotel in the Fulton Market district to cater to extended-stay corporate travelers. Amenities will include an indoor pool, green roof, fitness center and bar and lounge. Sterling Bay is the project developer, and Eckenhoff Saunders Architects is the architect. Completion is slated for summer 2019.

From REBusinessOnline.com.

Skender Starts Interior Construction of new 207,000-SF C.H. Robinson Office in Chicago’s Lincoln Yards Development

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently launched interior construction of a new, 207,000-square-foot office for C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 500 third-party logistics and supply chain management provider. The office is located within the first Sterling Bay riverfront property in its Lincoln Yards development in Lincoln Park, a contender for the Amazon HQ2 bid.

C.H. Robinson is relocating from its current offices at 1840 N. Marcey Street to accommodate the business’ rapidly growing Chicago workforce. The technology-rich office space will offer a wide range of amenities in support of a highly collaborative and productive workplace, including open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, two reception areas, a warming pantry and large café, a 5,000-square-foot roof terrace and an open atrium that cuts dramatically through all four floors of the firm’s space.

Skender frequently delivers interior spaces to companies of all sizes—from startups to global brands. Skender has built millions of square feet of award-winning interior workspace environments for clients that include 1871, Facebook, Google, Whole Foods, Wilson Sporting Goods and countless others. Skender and Sterling Bay are frequent collaborators throughout Chicago in the office, hotel and retail sectors, with much of their work together shaping the popular Fulton Market corridor. They are working with designers Vocon and SOM on the C.H. Robinson office, scheduled for completion in July 2018.

 

DisruptCRE – Chicago

Skender CTO Kevin Bredeson will be speaking about #BuildingTech at DisruptCRE Chicago on May 3. Hope to see you there! 

Skender Breaks Ground on 14-story, 167,000-SF Hyatt House Hotel, a New Development in the Fulton Market District

Skender, serving as base building and interior construction manager, has broken ground on Chicago’s newest Hyatt House extended-stay hotel. The new 14-story, 167,000-square-foot hotel is located in the heart of Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood at 105 N. May Street. The Hyatt House will be the first hotel in the Fulton Market district to cater to extended-stay corporate travelers, and includes amenities ranging from an indoor pool and multiple green roof features to upgraded common areas such as the bar and lounge with city views.

Scheduled to open in summer 2019, the hotel building will offer a first-floor lobby and future retail space. The pool, workout center and lounge are situated on the 14th floor, with 200 guest rooms on floors 4-13. Sterling Bay is the hotel’s developer and Skender is collaborating with project architect Eckenhoff Saunders Architects.

The hotel’s exterior cladding comprises hand-laid masonry, precast concrete panels, unitized window wall systems, metal panels and intricate storefront system. Building information modeling (BIM) is being used to coordinate all site utility, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems around the post tension and reinforced concrete structure. Additionally, in line with their commitment to Lean construction principles, Skender included Target Value Design in their pre-construction services to eliminate inefficiencies during the project’s schedule.

Skender’s subcontractor labor force to build the hotel will include local community hires from the surrounding West Loop neighborhood, as well as ample participation from minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) and women-owned business enterprise (WBE) firms.

Skender has performed construction extensively throughout the Fulton Market District. At 1K Fulton, Skender teams have built spaces for Google, the SRAM headquarters and Swift & Sons. Across the neighborhood at 1330 W. Fulton (Fulton West), Skender has constructed the firm’s own headquarters and the headquarters for Sterling Bay, as well as spaces for The Climate Corporation and Glassdoor.

The Hidden Costs of Open Ceilings

While open ceilings have many benefits, costing less isn’t one of them. Skender’s Clay Edwards explains in this Work Design Magazine article: 

Movers + Shapers: Lean and Mean

Skender Executive Vice President Afshan Barshan identifies some payoffs of adopting Lean principles into Skender’s business practices.

Sprout Social – Interior Showcase

Sprout Social collaborated with Skender and Partners by Design to expand its HQ by 64,000 square feet. Skender served as general contractor on the social media management company’s original HQ build-out in 2016.

Does Your Modern Build-out Have a Hearing Problem?

Open ceilings, exposed concrete floors and glass-walled spaces are the hallmarks of contemporary interiors. These design choices convey a hip and modern mindset for the companies and retailers that inhabit them, but they can come with a drawback that impacts business: noise.

Without the sound-dampening effects of the acoustical tiles used in drop ceilings and wall-to-wall carpeting and other soft surfaces, ambient noises such as conversations, whirring heating and cooling systems, and shifting furniture are amplified. And plans to mitigate this heightened noise can add extra materials, labor costs and time to your build-out.

Head Off Office Noise Woes

As I described in “Heads Up: The 5 Hidden Expenses of Open Ceilings,” open or plenum ceilings come with hidden costs that should be considered before a build-out is planned. One of these costs is dealing with loud and distracting spaces created by them in conjunction with the popular open floor plans of contemporary offices. Without enclosed offices or high cubicles to retreat to, the cacophony of conference calls, impromptu meetings, and even innocuous email alerts and typing sounds can be overwhelming.

Ignoring the issue may lead to decreased employee productivity, feelings of privacy and job satisfaction. Noisy spaces may also make a poor impression on clients or lead to costly mistakes caused by misheard or overheard sensitive information.

White noise systems mask some noise, but employees may find the artificial noise itself to be a distraction. For open offices, acoustical sprays are increasingly popular for replacing the effect of the acoustical tiles that compose drop ceilings. The biggest downside from a build-out perspective is that all other site work must pause for a week or more while the acoustical spray is applied. The cost of the materials and labor to install acoustical sprays should also be factored into the budget.

Handling Ambient Noise in Retail and Restaurants

Creating inviting retail and restaurant interiors not only has to do with how they look, but also how they sound. Customers may avoid restaurants where the ambient noise level makes it hard to have a private conversation or retail spaces where they must shout to receive service.

Getting the industrial look without industrial noise requires using construction and interior design solutions that help absorb sound. In addition to acoustical spray, the team may want to incorporate banquettes or booths, upholstered furniture and carpeted areas, as well as curtains, wall hangings or other textiles. These measures create the potential for many new design choices, and add cost and time to your build-out, so they should be planned for accordingly.

Don’t Forget the Unseen When It Comes to Modern Interiors

Open ceilings and other contemporary design choices will continue to be popular because of their sleek, stylish looks. But, make sure not to neglect hearing when you’re designing to please the senses. One of the biggest complaints about work and retail spaces with these features is their noisiness. With some advanced planning and investment, using acoustical spray, white noise, and furniture and textile choices can help alleviate the echo effect that open ceilings create.

This is the two in a two-part series on pros and cons of on-trend office and retail design elements. Read part one of the series, Heads Up: The 5 Hidden Expenses of Open Ceilings.

Read more at blog.naiop.org > 

5Kto1K

We are proud to sponsor Sterling Bay’s 4th Annual 5k to 1k Fulton Market race! All proceeds benefit Cara Chicago, a leader of poverty alleviation throughout Chicagoland. #skendermoves 

Skender Named No. 6 Best Place to Work in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business

Skender was recognized today as the No. 6 best place to work in the Crain’s Chicago Business 2018 Best Places to Work list. To determine the top 100, Crain’s partnered with an independent workplace excellence research firm to survey nearly 9,000 employees at Chicago-area companies. The 100 finalists were further assessed using a variety of criteria including benefits, policies, practices, employee experiences and workplace culture. The award program was open to all publicly or privately held organizations, either for-profit or not-for-profit, and organizations, with at least 25 employees working in the seven-county Chicago area. Of the 100 finalists, Skender ranked No. 6 overall, and No. 4 in the medium-sized company category.

With a focus on innovation, teamwork and efficiency, Skender has earned more than 20 best-place-to-work awards in the last decade. Collaboration is central to Skender’s character: from our commitment to building meaningful client relationships to our valued trade partnerships to our belief that every voice in our company has value. The result is a truly refreshing project experience for our clients, our partners and our employees.

Skender is always in search of great talent—learn more about our culture and see our open opportunities.

About Skender

Skender is revolutionizing how the industry builds by unifying construction, design and advanced manufacturing to create a more efficient, streamlined process—and a single source of truth. We bring together every stage of the journey for designing and constructing commercial, healthcare and multifamily properties. Our Lean, integrated and tech-infused business model focuses on optimizing and innovating, ensuring our clients and project partners walk away feeling energized about the design and construction process. With offices in Chicago and San Francisco, we offer expertise to local and global brands.

Tech Report 5.0: Why wait for 3D renderings?

“Real-time rendering still presents some trade offs when compared to traditional rendering. But as the technology advances, the benefits will begin to outweigh the limitations.”

Skender Completes 64,000-SF Headquarters Expansion for Sprout Social

Skender recently completed the 64,000-square-foot interior build-out expansion for social media management company Sprout Social at 131 S. Dearborn.

Skender previously completed Sprout Social’s seventh floor build-out in 2016. To accommodate rapid growth, the client decided to expand its footprint to the eighth floor, which previously served as a call center. The one-story build-out added open-office seating, interior private offices, flex space, conference rooms, a training room, large boardroom, makers space, two additional intermediate distribution frame (IDF) rooms, as well as a second café with full presentation capabilities. The tech-driven project required the restoration of the HVAC system and addition of a unique underfloor electrical infrastructure. The first five weeks of the project were spent on demolition alone as the previous space required complete demolition and roughly 50% of its raised floor had to be raised to create a level surface.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with architect Partners by Design, MEP engineer Syska Hennessy Group and owner’s representative Development Resources, Inc. to successfully complete the build-out.

Skender Named a Finalist for the 2018 Best Places to Work in Chicago

Skender has been named a finalist for the 2018 Best Places to Work in Chicago. Since 2008, Crain’s Chicago Business has set out to find the local businesses that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees. This year, Crain’s partnered with Best Companies Group to survey Chicago employees about everything from their workplace to benefits to company culture.

This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the 100 best companies to work for in Chicago. The full Best Places to Work in Chicago ranking—plus two lists that spotlight the employers who rank especially high among women and baby boomers—will be announced at an event on April 12 and featured in the April 16 issue of Crain’s. It will also be available online at www.chicagobusiness.com.

Determining the Best Places to Work in Chicago involved a two-step process. The first step consisted of evaluating each participating company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of employee surveys aimed at assessing the experiences and attitudes of individual employees with respect to their workplace. This part was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the best companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, and also analyzed the data and used its expertise to determine the final ranking.

For more information on the Best Places to Work in Chicago program, visit www.bestplacestoworkCHI.com.

 

4-Story Stair Atrium – Phase Update Fire Shutter and Coordination

Project Manager Greg Koziol​ describes the next phase of constructing a 4-story stair atrium for a confidential client. The Skender team took on all necessary coordination as well as the implementation of a protective fire shutter on every level to continue the builds of the stairwell and atrium.

Vertical Integration

By unifying design, construction and manufacturing under one roof, we’re revolutionizing how the industry builds.

Skender Completes Build-out of San Francisco Homeless Support Facility

Skender recently completed the 6,000-square-foot interior build-out of At The Crossroads (ATC), a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that helps homeless youth and young adults build healthy and fulfilling lives.

The three-story tenant improvement project included major upgrades to the existing cold shell space. These improvements included the addition of new electrical and water service to the space, new interior partitions creating offices, flex space, lounge areas, conference room space as well as a break room area. Additional improvements included upgrades to the perimeter windows, new restrooms and a fully integrated millwork package that was custom built to meet ATC’s needs.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with Architectural Resources Group, Ventura Partners, WSP and multiple trade partners. The project team volunteered services in support of the nonprofit organization.

Skender Starts Work on Sterling Bay’s 35,000-SF Headquarters Relocation Project

Skender recently started interior construction of the 35,000-square-foot headquarters for Sterling Bay, a Chicago-based real estate investment and development company, at 1330 W. Fulton, a Sterling Bay property known as Fulton West.

Sterling Bay is relocating from its current offices at 1040 W. Randolph to accommodate the business’s rapid growth and future needs. Once complete, the eighth-floor space will showcase the company’s forward-thinking brand and innovative work environment. The space includes open office workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms of varying size, a reception area, commercial kitchen and large café. Skender is working with the design team to procure materials for high-end finishes within an aggressive 14-week time frame.

Serving as general contractor, Skender is working in collaboration with Perkins+Will and WMA Consulting Engineers to complete the project by the end of May 2018.