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Skender Completes Construction at 1100 W. Fulton for Fulton St. Companies and Herman Miller

Skender recently completed 1100 W. Fulton, a 45,000-square-foot, five-story, single-tenant, mixed-use commercial building in the Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago. The build-to-suit office and retail project for the iconic furniture company Herman Miller, the building’s sole tenant, includes a bespoke showroom that is one of three in the world.

Completed in December 2020, the new project preserved the existing building’s historical masonry while incorporating a brand-new concrete structure that supported the 100-year-old exterior. The streamlined, phased construction timeline began with base building in December 2019 and interior construction in June 2020 to build out floors two through five while the base building was happening simultaneously. The final phase included the first floor, containing the Herman Miller retail showroom, a café and coffee bar.

The showroom is a pristine, museum-like space that required highly coordinated and meticulously planned engineering and construction. With no exposed cables or pipes, symmetrical ceilings, Pacific hardwood floors and custom light features, each floor of the building showcases a different brand offering from Herman Miller.

Skender, serving as general contractor, collaborated with architect Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, owner’s representative CBRE, developer Fulton St. Companies and project manager ConopCo Project Management to successfully complete the build-to-suit project within schedule on a tight site footprint. Skender also coordinated with all teams to ensure safety and health precautions were followed onsite amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skender is the construction expert behind many Fulton Market buildings and workspaces, including projects for Hyatt House, Google, Glassdoor, Mondelez, Soho House, Vital Proteins, and many more.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of new 536,000-SF Bank of America Flagship Office

Skender recently completed interior construction of the 536,000-square-foot office relocation for Bank of America’s (BofA) downtown Chicago offices. Bank of America, one of the world’s leading financial institutions, relocated to the Bank of America Tower at 110 N. Wacker, a new Class A+, 56-story high-rise that was concurrently under construction.

Encompassing 17 floors, approximately one third of the building, BofA’s new space includes private offices, open workstation areas, conference rooms, work cafés / pantries, support space and other modern workplace amenities. Unique features include a trading floor with supplemental cooling and uninterrupted power supply, critical-systems infrastructure, custom two-story trellises, a barista bar and market café, and two dedicated outdoor terraces. In addition, the interior includes a monument staircase connecting a two-floor conference center and executive suite.

“Completing this trophy project was a tremendous team effort in the face of unprecedented external challenges,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President Sarah-Lynn Cinquegrani. “Skender played a critical role in the project’s success – skillfully and safely managing hundreds of tradespeople and the complex logistics necessary to deliver our new office on time and under forecast. I couldn’t be more impressed with the team at Skender.”

Serving as general contractor, Skender collaborated with JLL, Interior Architects, and engineer Syska Hennessy Group to successfully complete the large-scale project on time, on budget and in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Building one of Chicago’s largest interior construction projects during a global public health crisis is a testament to the collaboration, commitment and ingenuity of all partners on this project,” said Skender Project Executive Ashlee Pforr. “We’re proud of our Skender team’s unbroken focus on quality, safety and efficiency in the face of unprecedented circumstances.”

Skender Named a Finalist for Crain’s Chicago Business’ Best Places to Work 2021

Skender has been named a “Best Places to Work” finalist by Crain’s Chicago Business for the fourth consecutive year. The award is designed to identify, recognize and honor the 100 best companies to work for in Chicago.

Each year Crain’s and Best Companies Group, an independent research firm, set out to find the local businesses that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees. They survey Chicago employees about everything from their workplace to benefits to company culture.

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. The full 2021 ranking will be announced in early April.

Skender Completes 200,000-SF Interior Construction on Walgreens Technology Center of Excellence in Old Post Office

Skender, serving as general contractor, completed construction last year on the new Walgreens Technology Center of Excellence, a 200,000-square-foot, open-office workspace in the redeveloped Old Post Office at 433 West Van Buren. The office, which was finished during the COVID-19 shutdown, will eventually welcome hundreds of employees, including e-commerce, mobile, pharmacy technology and digital team members as well as Walgreens Boots Alliance Information Technology personnel.

The expansive office spans multiple levels and buildings of the Old Post Office development and features a signature staircase, open and private offices, collaboration and conferencing spaces, data rooms, and kitchen and lounge spaces. It increases Walgreens presence in Chicago, where the company was founded in 1901, and signifies a commitment to attracting top technology talent with its desirable downtown location. Walgreens was the first major tenant commitment to the Old Post Office redevelopment project in 2018, and Skender’s first project of several in the major renovation of the iconic riverside Art Deco building.

“The Walgreens Old Post Office project represents collaboration, ingenuity and progress and was completed during a particularly challenging time for the City of Chicago and world at large,” said Skender Vice President Brian Bukowski. “We are proud to be part of the team that brought this innovative space to fruition and know that it will power Walgreens’ innovation for years to come.”

Other key project team members included: Mace as owner’s representatives; Stantec Inc. as architect and engineering firm; and the Walgreens construction and architecture departments.

Skender Starts Construction on 609 W. Randolph, a 15-story Office Building in Chicago’s West Loop Gate

Skender recently started construction on the Class-A office development at 609 W. Randolph in the West Loop Gate neighborhood in Chicago. The 15-story, 100,000+ square-foot building is being developed by Vista Property Group and designed by Antunovich Associates.

Located along W. Randolph Street between N. Jefferson Street and N. Des Plaines Street, the office building will be a four-minute walk from the Clinton CTA station, and a three-minute walk from Ogilvie Transportation Center, making it a convenient office location for commuters.

The façade will keep in line with the neighborhood feel and consist primarily of masonry with complementary steel, metal panel and exterior glazing, as well as a granite base. The building is designed to be WELL certified and exceed energy code.

The new office building, which is being developed on a surface parking lot adjacent to an existing five-story building at 601 W. Randolph, will be completed in early 2022. The project team includes:

Developer: Vista Property Group
Architect: Antunovich Associates
Contractor: Skender
Structural Engineer: WSP
Major Trade Partners: Adjustable Concrete Construction, Advance Mechanical Systems, Ewing-Doherty, Glass Solutions, International Concrete Productions, Titan Electric, USA Fire Protection
Leasing Team: CBRE
Construction Lender: Bank OZK (Nasdaq: OZK)

About Vista Property Group

Vista Property Group is a family-owned private real estate investment firm with a diversified portfolio of commercial, retail, and multifamily investments in urban centers. Core holdings are located in New York City, Chicago, North Carolina, and London, with an added focus on expanding into other exciting urban markets. For more information, visit vistaprop.com.

About Skender

Skender is a full-service building contractor and one of the nation’s top 100 construction firms, according to Building Design & Construction. We combine Lean process with high-performing teams to deliver unmatched results and maximum value. Headquartered in Chicago with a satellite office in Indianapolis, Skender serves its clients in the Midwest and across the country.

Skender Announces Executive Promotions and New Shareholders

Today, Skender announced executive and senior management promotions, as well as new shareholders at the leadership-owned construction firm.

Skender would like to congratulate the following executives and senior managers on their recent promotions and appointments:

Andy Halik, Vice President. Andy joined Skender in 2011 and has 15 years of experience in the construction industry. In his expanded leadership role, Andy will co-lead the Interiors group, focusing on market strategy, client service and motivating the team toward continued growth. Andy’s ability to nurture client relationships, his keen business intelligence, and the ability to work in partnership with his peers are all reasons for this recognition.

Brian Bukowski, Vice President. Brian joined Skender in 2007 and has over 17 years of experience in the construction industry. Brian will co-lead the Interiors group in his expanded leadership role, focusing on driving financial success, efficient operations and the team’s vision. Across a wide variety of client experiences in Illinois, Nevada and California, Brian’s focus is always client satisfaction and continuous improvement.

Brian Simons, Vice President. Brian joined Skender in 2007 and has over 16 years of experience in the construction industry. In his expanded leadership role, Brian will oversee Skender’s satellite Indianapolis office, which was awarded a significant IU Health project in 2020, while continuing executive oversight of healthcare teams in Chicago. Brian has steadily advanced his career in operations because of his devotion to clients, personalized customer service and ability to foster team cohesion.

Clay Edwards, Senior Vice President. Clay joined Skender in 2006 and has 20 years of experience in the construction industry. He has been appointed the new leader of Self-Perform and Construction Technology. This group optimizes value, safety, production and quality for Skender clients through offerings such as general labor, demolition, rough carpentry, BIM, 3D laser scanning and high-definition surveying, intelligent project tracking, drone mapping and immersive reality. With extensive interior construction expertise, Clay will also continue to provide executive-level counsel and client services for tenants and end-users.

Joy Perryman, Director of Risk Management. Joy started with Skender in 2015 and was soon promoted to manage the risk management department, working closely with operations to identify ways to mitigate risks in daily procedures. Joy is known for her detail-oriented work evaluating and administering insurance programs for all Skender’s business lines, working closely with the executive team to negotiate contracts and promote Enterprise Risk Management throughout the organization. She is a certified Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS), Certified Risk Manager (CRM) and member of the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

Mike Muehring, Senior Project Manager. Mike joined Skender in 2016 and has over 15 years of experience in the construction industry. As a Senior Project Manager, Mike is responsible for delivering projects on schedule, maximizing productivity and efficiency, and controlling project costs for his interiors clients throughout Chicago.

Todd Andrlik, Senior Vice President. Todd joined Skender in 2017 and has 21 years of marketing experience, including 16 in the construction industry. He quickly reinvigorated the marketing team, created effective strategies, generated bold brand awareness, and shaped external communication efforts. He plays an influential role on the leadership team by using his insight and creativity to maximize strategy.

“Our leadership team is energized and poised to continue delivering the proactive, collaborative and value-driven construction that our clients and the marketplace expect from Skender,” said Justin Brown, President and CEO, Skender. “Together, we are laser-focused on creating the premier building experience and helping our clients achieve groundbreaking results.”

Concurrently with these promotions, Skender is pleased to recognize new shareholders. Skender is a leadership-owned business aimed at sustainable, long-term success and ample advancement and succession opportunities. Shareholder appointment is a merit-based recognition of hard work, loyalty, collaboration with colleagues, outstanding service and embodying Skender’s core values.

New shareholders are: Andy Halik, Dan Ulbricht, Ashlee Pforr, John Estes, Pete Conlin, Patrick Sullivan, Luke DeTolve, Brian Ribordy, Jeff Krause, Stacy Laughlin and Todd Andrlik. They join existing shareholders: Justin Brown, Jerry Ball, Dan Marijan, Afshan Barshan, Clay Edwards, Lisa Latronico, Jeff Janicek, Brian Simons, Brian Bukowski, Joe Pecoraro and Tim Rogers.

About Skender

Skender is a full-service building contractor and one of the nation’s top 100 construction firms, according to Building Design & Construction. We combine Lean process with high-performing teams to deliver unmatched results and maximum value. Headquartered in Chicago with a satellite office in Indianapolis, Skender serves its clients in the Midwest and across the country. For more information on Skender, visit www.skender.com.

Skender Completes Construction on Sarah’s Circle’s Six-story Supportive Housing Facility for Women on Chicago’s North Side

Skender recently completed construction on the 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 housing, life necessities, and supportive services to permanently end their homelessness.

Following a groundbreaking in September 2019, the project stayed on schedule with delivery in 15 months. The new Sarah’s Circle facility, known as Sarah’s on Sheridan, has 38 units of permanent supportive housing for women who are homeless, as well as 50 beds for the Interim Housing Program. With the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating homelessness in Chicago, this facility will undoubtedly help an underserved community in the city.

“Sarah’s Circle is thrilled to be able to deliver our new facility on time and ready for occupancy right before the holidays, and the harshest part of winter,” said Kathy Ragnar, Executive Director, Sarah’s Circle. “Women who are now homeless will be able to start off the year in a new, fully furnished home of their own.”

Located at the intersection of Sheridan and Leland, this steel and precast building includes a basement, dining room, walk-in commercial freezer, office space for on-site case managers, computer lab, and group rooms. The building also incorporated original terra cotta and other design elements of the façade of the previous building on the lot, the Leland and Sheridan Building.

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

Watch the project video on YouTube.

Skender Completes Interior Build-out for Vi’s New Headquarters in Chicago’s Willis Tower

Skender completed the full-floor interior build-out for Vi, a luxury senior living company, on the 84th floor of Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower. The 30,405-square-foot office is Vi’s relocated headquarters. The office design showcases high-quality finishes and amenities reflecting the luxury experience that Vi offers residents in each of the company’s 10 life plan communities.

The new office includes a high-end conference center consisting of one boardroom, two medium conference rooms and two small conference rooms. Interesting construction features include custom millwork, an electric fireplace, custom light fixtures in the reception area, and two 12-foot custom sliding doors with an integrated laser-cut metal screen.

Following three weeks of demolition of the previous space, the project took 14 weeks of construction and was completed simultaneously with a major base-building project in the tower, requiring additional attention to project logistics. Skender collaborated with architecture firm Baumann Studios, engineering firm ESD, and owner’s representative Savills to successfully complete the project in January 2020.

Developing Life Sciences Real Estate At The Speed Of Innovation

Speed always has been a hallmark of the life sciences sector, with first movers standing to gain considerable market share while delivering much-needed medical devices and pharmaceuticals to the public.

But the race to produce a COVID-19 vaccine and related therapies is unlike anything that has come before, with a dozen potential vaccines already entering Phase 3 clinical trials only months after the virus was identified.

While we don’t know exactly when a COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available, research and development has advanced to combat this global threat at a pace that can only be described as “breakneck.” In contrast to today’s day-to-day progress, the mumps vaccine — considered the fastest ever approved — took four years to advance from collecting viral samples to administering a licensed drug.

Read the complete article, co-authored by Skender’s Jeff Janicek, at Life Science Leader > 

Skender Completes Interior Construction of IDEX Corporation HQ in Northbrook, Illinois

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 40,000-square-foot global headquarters for IDEX Corporation (NYSE: IEX), a specialty industrial machinery manufacturer that relocated from Lake Forest to Northbrook, Illinois.

Located on the third floor of 3100 Sanders Road, the modern workspace features a mix of private offices, conference rooms and huddle areas, as well as a community café in the floor’s center. New millwork and a custom reception display to feature the company’s diverse array of products were also installed. The building remained open and active throughout construction, which required extra attention to logistics and safety.

Skender collaborated with architect HED and engineer Syska Hennessy Group to successfully deliver the project.

 

Chicago Is A Lab Sciences Desert. But What Kinds Of Labs Does It Need?

Chicago is no slouch when it comes to lab sciences. The Chicago region boasts the headquarters of pharma giants Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie and Baxter International. But with lab spaces scattered across the suburbs and spread around the city’s research universities in Evanston and Hyde Park, the city lacks a centralized laboratory cluster like those in Cambridge and San Francisco.

Developers have recognized the void in the market and are pouring money into building new offices and research facilities and converting old structures into labs, said Skender Vice President Jeff Janicek, who focuses on healthcare and lab construction.

But creating a lab space isn’t as easy as bringing a few microscopes into a corporate office. Without the right guidance, first-time lab developers may end up building a kind of lab entirely different than what tenants are asking for.

“People tend to say ‘life sciences,’ when they really mean ‘lab sciences,’” Janicek said. “A chemistry lab looks entirely different from a biology lab, which looks different from a pharma lab. If developers go in with a one-size-fits-all mindset, they are not going to make it far with their lab tenants.”

Because the Chicago development market does not have much experience building labs, developers will sometimes propose sites that don’t make sense for the lab tenant market, or which aren’t appropriate for labs.

Janicek described how one client arrived with a landlord, a broker and what they thought was a bulletproof plan to put a chemistry lab on an upper floor of a building in the Loop. Janicek had to inform them that because of the volume of chemicals it would handle, the lab could only be on the first or second floor of the building. Plus, the building did not have the mechanical systems or vertical access shafts in place the tenant would need to retrofit the space.

After finding the right space, developers also have to be knowledgeable about what sorts of improvements each type of lab user will need. Chemical researchers usually require more fume hoods and sinks, while life sciences researchers may need more specialized temperature and humidity controls to keep samples safe. Biology researchers often need extra room for negative air pressure chambers and changing rooms to keep nasty parasites and spores from escaping the lab.

The key to successful lab construction and renovation projects, Janicek said, is to consult very early with the intended tenant about what their needs are and to consult with an engineer and contractor that can make those needs a reality. When it comes to retrofits, pre-construction will likely begin even before a property has been sourced.

“Sometimes the victory is in not wasting money,” Janicek said. “When developers involve us in the process early enough, we can steer clients away from poor choices, and we can propose other choices that will create a better, more affordable project.”

While researchers typically spend between 20% and 40% of their time in the lab, they also spend a surprising amount of time at their desks or in conference rooms, Janicek said, and developers that don’t set enough room aside for traditional workspaces may not see many nibbles for leases.

Sourcing a location for a new lab space is also a challenge. More and more, Janicek said, potential tenants in Chicago are former grad students looking for lab space to continue their research or launch a startup and they don’t want to have to commute out to the suburbs to go to work. For that reason, more developers are looking for potential lab renovation spaces in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, the West Loop and Fulton Market.

Most of the buildings in these neighborhoods will have trouble being converted to lab space, Janicek said, but there are a select number of sites that could be promising. Former healthcare facilities and even warehouses that were previously built for cold storage often have the infrastructure they need to be renovated into lab spaces, including piping systems, low ceilings and thick walls.

Janicek pointed to 2430 North Halsted St., a 120K SF commercial lab space and the first project in Sterling Bay’s life sciences initiative, The Labs. Exicure, the first tenant for the lab space, was growing rapidly and needed space to expand. The team at Skender was able to reposition some of the building’s existing infrastructure, delivering the lab space a mere four months from the initial idea to relocate and expand.

As the race for coronavirus therapies and a vaccine continues, Chicago is feeling the immediate crunch for lab space, but Janicek said an investment in more research facilities would also ensure Chicago remains a destination for lab sciences in the long term.

“The need for research space has been emphasized by the pandemic, but it’s always been there,” Janicek said. “The real estate community needs to try to give young scientific talent from Chicago a reason to stay close to home.”

 

This feature was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and Skender, and was first published by Bisnow.

Lessons Learned from Chicago’s Landmark Old Post Office Redevelopment

Even as many Chicago companies have delayed reopening offices until the threat of coronavirus has lessened, eventually companies will return to their workplaces for collaboration, to boost company culture, and to regain a separation between work and home for their employees. In the meantime, work continues on one of Chicago’s most talked-about office developments of the past few years: the Old Post Office redevelopment.

Inside this gigantic 1921 Art Deco structure, tenant representatives, architects, interior designers and general contractors have the unique opportunity to create the next era of office space in Chicago – one that honors the building’s historic integrity while delivering design, technology and amenities that will propel work into the future. But doing so is not without its challenges, even pre-pandemic.

As one of the early contractors to work inside the Old Post Office with two completed projects and three in progress, our Skender interior construction team has learned the unique nuances of building out in this adaptive reuse development.

Lesson 1: Merging old with new begins with care and planning.

The Old Post Office actually comprises three buildings and 2.5 million square feet: The original six-story building and two nine-story buildings from the 1930s. The north and south additions have floor-to-floor heights as high as 19 feet, and they are connected to the original east building with corridors that have 16-foot ceilings. In addition to the varying ceiling heights, each of the buildings has unique requirements to maintain the historic designation. Some tenants are only in one of the structures, while others span all three.

All of these factors add up to challenges that are critical to understand and plan for from the outset, ideally using building information modeling. Once the client and project team are in alignment, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Park Service (NPS) review all drawings for tenants building in the space, as well as all the finishes selected, to ensure they comply with restoration guidelines.

In the last few months due to COVID-induced supply chain challenges, Skender has worked with the design team early to get a list of finishes to check on availability before they’re submitted to the SHPO and NPS for approval, eliminating the need for multiple revisions.

Lesson 2: Understand the constraints of historic preservation – and the impact on your timeline.

The art deco elements that proffer the Old Post Office’s historic status can be difficult and expensive to source. Before beginning work, the team needs to observe the structure’s marble base, wood and wire molding, and wainscoting to see what needs to be repaired, and then source it to match. For example, there’s only one vendor in the U.S. that is able to replicate the mosaic tile that runs through the corridor and is required to be included in the design by the SHPO and NPS. To avoid costly delays and reorders, Skender does a floor survey early to order the right quantity of tile and plan for its production in the project timeline.

Placing updated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in a historic building can present issues as well. For example, the north building has a polished, non-industrial design, which means exposed data cabling for tech systems must either run in conduit or cable tray that is painted and finished to blend with the building’s elegant, pristine look.

AbelsonTaylor Lobby

Lesson 3: Responsiveness may be our greatest design tool.

The pandemic has taught us that the ability to be responsive to challenges is necessary. What works for your company in this moment may need to be changed. When it does, being able to turn to a firm that understands not only the unusual requirements of the space, but also your company culture and the demands of your work is essential.

While office spaces that are currently under construction may be more focused on separating coworkers and decreasing density, once a widespread treatment or vaccine is available for COVID-19, companies may want to reorganize to encourage collaboration or allow colleagues to gather again.

Pandemics are not the only event that require a company’s space needs to evolve: resizing the workforce, undergoing a major rebrand, merging with or acquiring another firm, adding new technology, or simply realizing that the realities of workflow mean different departments or colleagues need to be closer together can all require reconfiguring an office.

AbelsonTaylor Staircase 

Lesson 4: Experience counts.

Most project leads choose to work with general contractors that have an established reputation and plenty of successful projects in their portfolio. For a redevelopment with as many specific considerations as the Old Post Office, it can be beneficial to work with a contractor that has experience in the space and can carry information about maintaining preservation and addressing design challenges from one job to the next.

Our work on a current project is informed by issues we worked through in our past project. We know that the clay tile that is part of the deck construction requires special anchoring. We understand how to work with the high ceilings to maximize natural light by building walls that don’t reach all the way to the deck. We’ve sourced the correct metal caps for the exposed columns in two of the buildings. These examples are just some pieces of the knowledge we bring to each project.

Being part of a large-scale redevelopment of a landmark building offers a unique opportunity to learn on the job. The project team can honor the surviving historical features, while ensuring that what’s built around them is high-quality and balances longevity and flexibility. Building today may be uniquely complicated because of the pandemic, but adaptive reuse presents added complexity that can be lessened through experience.

 

This article, authored by Skender’s Lauren Torres, was first published by NAIOP.

Skender Completes Interior Construction to Expand Upwork’s Chicago Office

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

Upwork, the leading online talent solution, recently announced their decision to shift to a remote-first model. The Chicago office will act as a collaborative work space for team members in the area. This second phase of construction incorporates an open office concept for workstations combined with technology-rich meeting areas, an upgraded all-hands meeting space and café, server room, large training room and collaboration/break-out space.

The enhanced and expanded space will provide a Day 1 occupancy of up to 204 employees with infrastructure to expand to 250 workstations. The larger square footage has allowed Upwork to offer their workforce a solution to coming back into the office while still observing socially distant guidelines.

Skender collaborated with architecture/engineering firm CannonDesign and tenant’s representative Cresa to complete the project in Q2 of 2020. Upwork just recently reopened the office to begin utilizing the newly built-out space.

Skender Participates in National Safety Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction

Skender, one of the nation’s largest building contractors, is participating in the seventh annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction campaign during the week of September 14-18.

Coinciding with Construction Safety Week, the national campaign raises awareness about fall protection. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, falls from heights are the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction. The goal of this campaign is to prevent falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds by encouraging the proper planning, equipment and training.

To support the national campaign, Skender is taking extra time on its projects to discuss lessons learned, site-specific hazards, and preventative measures for avoiding fall-related injuries. “We have a strong culture of safety and regularly come together to support continued training and education,” said Skender Safety Director Dan Torres. “Every day, we walk our construction sites and carefully evaluate all potential hazards. During this campaign, we give special attention to fall protection and our site-specific safety plans, as well as our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Skender Completes First Biotech Lab Space and Base-building Work at 2430 N. Halsted

Skender, serving as construction manager, recently completed interior construction of the 30,000-square-foot laboratory and research office space for Exicure, Inc., a pioneer in gene regulatory and immunotherapeutic drugs. The clinical-stage biotechnology company is the first tenant in developer Sterling Bay’s recently redeveloped life sciences building at 2430 N Halsted.

Occupying the entire fourth floor, Exicure’s workspace features 44 lab stations, 11 fume hoods, open-office workstations, two tissue culture rooms with alarmed pressurization, an uninterrupted power supply, and space adapted for a custom-built DNA synthesizer machine. Skender collaborated with Sterling Bay, CannonDesign and CBRE to successfully complete the project.

As part of the base-building scope, Skender also worked with developer Sterling Bay to build-out the first- and second-floor common areas of 2430 N Halsted, a 125,000-square-foot medical research facility offering modern, flexible commercial lab space in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Skender’s base-building work included a reception area, four conference rooms, two staff offices, upgraded HVAC, new security and a lounge space for tenants.

Living history: The Old Post Office bridges Chicago’s past and future

Chicago is well known for its architectural heritage, though our actions sometimes belie this. In a city that has demolished more notable structures than others have even erected, we revere some of our gems while allowing others to decay.

The Old Post Office has existed in both of those states. Sitting fallow for years, its 2.8 million square feet long sat empty, serving no greater purpose than as the occasional backdrop for a Christopher Nolan Batman movie. Previous attempts to renovate the Art Deco gem fell through until New-York-based 601W Companies acquired the property in 2016.

Since then, a massive, $800 million repositioning has been underway. And though much of the building’s interior is still not quite ready for occupancy, these efforts have already paid off, attracting tenants such as Walgreens, Uber, Ferrara Candy and Cboe, among others.

One tenant who has moved in is AbelsonTaylor, a Chicago-based health and wellness advertising agency. Skender collaborated with HED and Syska Hennessy Group to deliver their 85,000-square-foot space in February. Before this client could occupy this space, an immense level of pre-planning and cooperation was involved.

A big portion of what the design-build team needed to do up front was survey the in-place materials, especially in the northern portion of the space. The north building, designed by the legendary Chicago studio of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, was constructed first in 1921, before later additions to the south in the 1930s. As such, standards governing the preservation of historical features are more stringent in this section of the building.

Read more at REJournals >

Skender Completes Interior Construction of American Library Association HQ in Chicago

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 55,000-square-foot Chicago headquarters of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world.

Located on a single floor at 225 N. Michigan Avenue, the modern office features a mix of private and open-concept workspaces, enhanced meeting and focus spaces, a library, as well as multiple podcasting and video conferencing rooms.

Skender collaborated with architect Nelson Worldwide, engineer Environmental Systems Design (ESD), and owner’s representative Cushman and Wakefield.

Skender Named One of Chicago’s 100 Best Places to Work by Crain’s

Skender was recognized today as a best place to work on the Crain’s Chicago Business 2020 Best Places to Work list. Of the 100 finalists, Skender ranked No. 8 in the large companies category and No. 29 overall. With a focus on collaboration, high-performing teams and efficiency, this is the fifth time in eight years that Skender has earned the prestigious Crain’s recognition; and makes 27 best-place-to-work awards (by multiple awarding bodies) since 2008.

Crain’s sets out to find the local businesses rated highest by their employees for creating quality workplaces. Its survey and awards program is 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. A record 14,522 employees participated in the publication’s 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 Completes Interior Construction of Equity Residential’s Chicago Office

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of the 75,000-square-foot Chicago office of Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR), an owner, developer and manager of rental apartment properties.

Equity Residential occupies two floors at Two North Riverside with private access to the building’s roof terrace that was built out by Skender as part of the project scope. The renovated office space features a new atrium with a connecting staircase; a mix of open workstations and private offices, conference rooms and board rooms; new bathrooms; and custom millwork throughout.

“The team did a great job carefully coordinating this gut renovation project,” said Skender Senior Project Manager and Team Leader Lauren Torres. Skender collaborated with architect Partners by Design; owner’s representative JLL; and engineering consultant ESD.

Skender Partners With F.A. Wilhelm to Build IU Health Bloomington Regional Academic Health Center

Skender is partnering with F.A. Wilhelm to build the new IU Health Bloomington Regional Academic Health Center on the campus of Indiana University. The state-of-the-art complex, scheduled to open in 2021, is a collaborative project between Indiana University Health and Indiana University. The overall facility includes 620,000 square feet for in-patient and out-patient clinical services, and 115,000 square feet for academic instruction. The sustainable development will seek LEED certification and include:

    • An outpatient facility to accommodate same-day surgeries and office visits with specialty care physicians and diagnostic testing
    • An inpatient complex to replace the existing Indiana University Bloomington Hospital and provide intensive care, complex surgeries, and labor and delivery
    • A women’s center for obstetrics as well as a neonatal intensive care nursery and other perinatal services
    • An emergency department to provide specialized care for conditions such as strokes, heart attacks or injuries to hands, limbs, etc.
    • A trauma center to treat severe injuries resulting from incidents such as automobile accidents, entailing multiple fractures, acute spine injuries, and brain injuries
    • An academic facility for health sciences education and research

 

Click here to see the project progress from October 2020.

Skender Completes Compounding Pharmacy for Major Chicago Hospital

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction of a 7,500-square-foot compounding pharmacy at a large Chicago hospital that consolidates three existing oncology pharmacies while expanding capacity to support projected growth.

The new sterile pharmacy allows for the safe preparation, mixing and packaging of drugs to meet individual patient needs. It features six compounding spaces that were constructed using cleanroom design to keep airborne particles within specified limits. The project also includes 17 mixing hoods, refrigerated and non-refrigerated drug storage, and an interlocked ante-room with cleanroom doors that allow the opening of only one door at a time.

To comply with cleanroom specifications, the material selection included solid surface wall protection, Terra Universal cleanroom doors, lab casework and extensive mechanical equipment to support cleanroom functionality and standards.

The project took place within an active hospital, requiring special logistics and safety measures, such as precise-sized materials to fit elevators, extensive noise and vibration controls, and electrical and plumbing shutdown coordination. With space and access constraints, a knockdown air handling unit was delivered in panelized sections, assembled and installed on site over four weeks.

Skender worked with Kahler Slater and ESD to successfully complete the new pharmacy.

Skender Ranks Among Midwest’s Top 30 Contractors, Illinois’ Top 10

The national construction industry publication Engineering News-Record (ENR) recently published its 2020 Top Midwest Contractors edition. Based on 2019 revenues, ENR ranks Skender #28 in the Midwest and #9 in Illinois. In the commercial construction and renovation sub-rankings, Skender earned the #4 and #9 spots, respectively.

Some of Skender’s prominent projects in 2019 included the 14-story, 167,000-SF Hyatt House hotel (photo above), the 90,000-SF headquarters build-out for Mondelēz International, the six-story supportive housing facility for Sarah’s Circle, LinkedIn’s 46,000-SF Chicago office expansion, and multiple projects for Northwestern Medicine.

Chicago-based Skender is a full-service building contractor specializing in the new construction and renovations of commercial, healthcare and multifamily facilities. Infused with the principles of Lean project delivery, Skender works closely with clients and partners to create value, increase quality, reduce waste and deliver tangible benefits throughout the entire construction experience. With a thoughtful and thorough approach refined over six decades, Skender takes the time to listen to and understand its clients, partners, their needs and their intentions, striving to deliver the premier building experience at the greatest value.

 

4 next-gen technologies that are changing construction today

For most of the last decade, emerging technologies designed to transform the built environment weren’t much more than fun toys to play with. They lacked sophistication and the ability to promote true efficiency and accountability or analyze data.

Not anymore. Yesterday’s toys have become today’s tools.

New, data-driven technology has finally given rise to construction efficiencies. New software and gadgets are advancing timelines, improving project team integration and collaboration, reducing costs and enhancing overall building quality.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, when technology permeates construction, there’s an almost 20% reduction in a project’s total life cycle cost as well as substantial improvements in completion time, quality and safety. The study estimates that the use of technology cuts construction costs for commercial office buildings by 12%, lifetime operations costs by 18% and reduces the construction timeline by 30%.

Take a look at the top four technologies Skender is currently using to break down industry productivity barriers and push the envelope beyond what construction was capable of just yesterday.

+ Laser scanning.

Attached to a tripod, a laser scanner looks like most land survey equipment – except it doesn’t just measure a single point at a time. It collects 28 million points in three minutes, with accuracy within 1/16 of an inch.

The laser scanner creates a point cloud for each measurement to be used as the base model for BIM coordination. Laser scanning is useful for project measurements that require precise detail, like floor leveling. Human error and guessing are eliminated, and costs are reduced when flooring subcontractors use the laser scanner to determine slope and elevation, and therefore, the amount of preparation and materials that are actually required for the job.

A point cloud created by the laser scanner can be analyzed to create a heat map of the floor plan, where cooler colors are the floor’s higher elevation points and hotter colors represent the lower points.

Case in point: On a recent project, a quick laser scan revealed that the architectural drawings were slightly off in measurement compared to the physical space. The laser scan was uploaded to the project BIM model, and the architect was able to correct the CAD model. When glass fronts were ordered for offices, we were confident they would fit the space. Had the materials been ordered when the offices were measured at difference of four inches, we would have waited an extra six weeks for new glass, installation and completion of offices. Together, these seemingly small changes shaved off significant time and money from the project.

+ 360-degree photo documentation. 

A small piece of consumer equipment typically used by YouTubers and Instagrammers, the 360-degree camera is easily accessible and relatively inexpensive. Most importantly, it captures an entire room in a single image. Add software like StructionSite and now you can place these photos directly into a facility’s 2D digital floorplan and client communication.

Instead of having to take eight to 10 photos to capture a room, 360-degree photo documentation allows contractors to capture more data in one photo, providing a significant time savings and comprehensive visual update. As with laser scanning, sharing the 360-degree images with subcontractors is another more efficient way to determine the amount of materials required.

 

 

TIP: Capturing 360-degree photos once a week during construction can provide a lifecycle view of the facility for a remote owner.

+ Drones.

Taking images of a job site from the ground up (no matter which iPhone you’ve got!) can’t compare to what a flying drone can capture in a three-minute land survey. Employed ideally on large site surveys, drones can easily capture progress photos and videos from 400 feet in the air. With the ability to pre-plan the route and desired documentation of the site via software, drone automation promotes ease of use and time savings.

Case in point: A recent job had a batch of soil that needed to be removed from the site, but it was impossible to determine how much until the team actually arrived to dig. Deploying Skender’s drone provided a precise measurement of soil on the ground, which allowed the team to plan for and accurately price out its removal.

 

 

+ Augmented/mixed reality. 

While augmented or mixed reality has been around for a couple of years, Microsoft’s second iteration of the HoloLens propelled the technology from a toy to a useful construction tool. A headset device worn like glasses, the HoloLens 2 provides an immersive experience for its users.

Uploading a project’s BIM model into the HoloLens 2 makes it possible for owners, end users and other stakeholders to strap on the device and physically walk through the job site, “feel” the final finishes, and view them in real time as digital objects on top the existing building structure. HoloLens 2 provides users with the ability to touch and even “move” building elements and furnishings while walking through the physical core and shell space. A self-contained computer with Wi-Fi connectivity, the HoloLens 2 is a game changer for construction.

 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES BRING NEXT GEN BUILDINGS CLOSER

Efficiency, data-driven analysis and productivity are paramount to the financial success of any construction project. New technologies like these streamline project management and the construction timeline, reducing waste and ultimately delivering a more precise project to the owner—every time.

 

This article, authored by Skender’s Clay Edwards and Ben Stocker, was first published by Building Design+Construction.

10 Renovations To Consider Before Reopening Your Office

This summer, as offices are starting to reopen across the country, many companies are considering all their options to make a safe and healthy return to work for employees. Even as states have begun their reopening process, the threat of COVID-19 is still present, and it will require a careful, vigilant and ongoing plan to ensure a workplace that’s the safest it can be. Companies will need to do more than put hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere and rearrange desks to put employees’ minds at ease.

Some safety measures may require a company to consult their architect and general contractor to implement renovations, ranging from small face-lifts to more significant structural updates. Companies looking for worry-free, low-risk and high-quality renovations should partner with contractors with proven project delivery processes and commitment to clean and safe construction sites. GCs with healthcare construction experience often carry over the high standards practiced at healthcare job sites to their other projects – which is especially important now when rigorous measures need to be taken to keep on-site employees safe, and reduce the risk when office employees return to the space, too.

Regardless of whether your company is heading back into the office ASAP or still managing a remote workforce, there’s still time to make updates with no or little disruption to your return-to-work timeline. Here are 10 recommended office updates to support a healthy return to work:

1. Dedicate separate rooms for deliveries and visitors.

By designating or creating distinct spaces – one for packages and deliveries and another for visitors – employees can limit contact with people coming into the office. Keeping deliveries as contactless as possible by using applications to manage them can also reduce transmission from outside the office.

2. Make the most out of reception.

Turn the reception area into a multipurpose space for employees to sanitize their hands, have their temperatures taken, and pick up safety equipment like face masks and sanitizing wipes. It can also be the checkpoint and physical reminder for where the “new normal” starts, with prominently placed signs featuring instructions and directions on how employees should interact with each other.

3. Install signage and floor graphics to demonstrate where and how employees should move through the office.

While most employees know they should be keeping distance between each other, it’s sometimes hard to know exactly how far apart that is – and the regular reminder doesn’t hurt. Placing stickers on the floor to indicate this distance, or arrows in hallways to determine which way people should be flowing through, can help employees maintain proper distance and avoid crowding in tight areas.

4. Add keycard-operated automatic doors to reduce touch-shared surfaces.

Limiting the number of high-touch surfaces is a key tactic of containment, and door handles are one of the most touched surfaces in an office. Automatic doors activated by keycards or ID badges can eliminate the need for those risky surfaces. This is a bigger financial lift, but is worth considering for longer-term health and safety of the office.

5. Divide break areas and spread out pantries.

The central kitchen and eating area of yesterday’s open office will need to be broken up to curb virus spread. By installing smaller pantry areas around the office, employees can still access these spots without gathering in large groups. Spreading out smaller kitchenettes with sinks provides more handwashing stations, too. You don’t have to close off lounge-type spaces, but spread the seating to encourage distancing or smaller pods rather than gatherings. Similarly, maximizing your company’s use of any outdoor space, which many health experts consider safer, by making them tech-ready is another away-from-the-desk option.

6. Upgrade HVAC systems.

Since coronavirus particles travel through the air, HVAC systems should be a major focus of reopening efforts. Upgrading HVAC systems with the ability to more carefully filter air and limit widespread circulation can reduce disease spread. This will likely be controlled by the building owner when leasing or subleasing space in a multi-unit building, so it’s worth bringing up when coordinating the reopen.

7. Separate benching systems or add dividers between desks.

Breaking up current benching systems and spacing them out six feet apart and/or adding dividers between desks that can’t be spaced out can ensure employees are adequately spread out. Adding dividers can be a quick installation or require a heavier lift to build more substantial partitions, depending on the route you want to take.

8. Add wall-mounted monitors and cameras in conference rooms.

Even when offices reopen, many firms won’t bring back all employees or will institute alternating on-site and at-home schedules – so collaborating with the remote workers will require enhanced digital collaboration. Installing tools to promote digital work can naturally facilitate that collaboration.

9. Build out new rows of phone booths.

Creating new enclosed spaces for employees to take calls can serve the dual purpose of promoting virtual collaboration with remote teams and boosting office health. Placing hand sanitizer and wipes near these booths encourages employees to keep them clean, too.

10. Rearrange existing or install new furniture.

Outside of rearranging desks, other office furniture can be spaced out to provide additional seating for employees while promoting social distancing. New furniture with resilient and easy-to-clean materials and surfaces can also improve cleanliness. As comfort has become a key element to working from home, furniture with comfortable materials can ease employees’ transition back to the office.

While the immediate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have quickly disrupted all aspects of daily life – including the office environment – the long-term effects are still forming. Plus, the threat of COVID-19 will likely exist for an indefinite period of time, even as business must go on. We anticipate that these healthy return to work considerations won’t just be temporary fixes, but rather will last past this crisis and transform the workplace for the healthier and better. Investing in these office renovations now will demonstrate to employees that their health and safety is important not just for the near term, but for the long haul.

 

This article, authored by Skender’s Clay Edwards, was first published by Work Design Magazine.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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.

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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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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 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.”

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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 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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.

Skender Wins Interior Contractor of the Year

Skender took home the Interior Contractor of the Year award last night at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Commercial Real Estate Awards. The awards program raises money to provide meals for hungry Chicago-area residents while recognizing outstanding achievements in the industry.

The annual ceremony attracts nearly 2,000 of the top commercial real estate, architecture and construction professionals. Skender has won the coveted Interior Contractor of the Year award three of the last four years and was one of 10 finalists in the category this year.

With locations in Chicago and San Francisco, Skender collaborates with companies of all sizes—startups to global brands—to deliver their real estate visions. Skender has built millions of square feet of award-winning interior workspace environments for clients that include 1871, Capital One, Conagra Brands, Facebook, GGP, Glassdoor, Google, Kraft Heinz, Morton Salt, Motorola Mobility, United Way, Whole Foods, Wilson Sporting Goods and countless others.

Blending six decades of experience with our culture of efficiency and innovation, Skender partners with its clients to create something incredible—new construction or renovation, for offices, healthcare, multifamily housing, hospitality, higher education, and retail.

Skender’s Timothy Swanson used today’s CoreNet countdown challenge to discuss the intersection of design, construction and manufacturing. In 3 minutes. 

AHA #GoRed Campaign

On February 20, Skender Foundation sponsored an event for the American Heart Association and its #GoRed campaign to help spread awareness about heart disease. Dr. Annabelle Santos Volgman from Rush University Medical Center was there to present her insight and expertise.

Hack the Office: Turning Underperforming Spaces Into Workplaces of the Future

Towering glass office buildings are becoming obsolete.

As creative space gains traction among companies beyond the tech industry, opulent lobbies and renovated elevator bays no longer attract young workers like they used to. Professionals crave space designed around user experience. Office workers want a balanced place with room to collaborate, socialize and concentrate on heads-down work.

Spaces like converted warehouses pioneered the push toward customization. This replaced button-up environments with the collegial and modern feel companies have sought to adopt. These offices have become scarce in the market, and many are too small to support large companies. But traditional Class-A spaces, which used to accommodate these businesses, have experienced a market slowdown. In the Chicago Metro Area, vacancies fell 40 basis points to 17.4% in Q4.

Rather than build a new office from scratch and drive up vacancy rates further, design firms are exploring how underperforming assets can be remade into attractive creative space scaled to meet the needs of each individual. Gensler was among the first to pioneer the idea of hackable buildings, but the concept has since grown in popularity.

“Every company wants an office that is their own,” Skender Vice President Clay Edwards said. “‘Hacking’ the office allows users to build on an existing design, to take it from something impersonal and informal to a space that truly defines their brand and corporate culture. ”

A Personalized Welcome

Gensler’s plan for hackable office space adapts existing buildings through a series of project-based renovations. At the Latitude 34 office complex in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, one project included personal entry doors for each tenant. Rather than have every company in the building shuffle staff through the main lobby, individual front doors offer a connection between interior office space and the exterior facade. The design mimics comparable entry design in warehouse conversions and gives employees a sense of place and brand identity from the moment they arrive at the office.

Latitude 34’s makeover paid off. Video media company Fullscreen and media investment company GroupM both signed leases in the revamped office space in 2014.

Manipulating the volume of the interior space is another form of placemaking and personalization. At Latitude 34, one office space renovation called for the creation of two connecting floors, creating an open, loft-style environment. When Gensler moved into a former banking hall in Downtown Los Angeles, it followed a similar design philosophy, adding skylights and multilevel office space.  Erik Drost/Flickr The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, D.C.

Optimizing Underutilized Space

The rise of mobile computing and remote work has changed the way workers use office space. Employees can work from coffee shops, on couches or even from home. Companies now have emptier offices. Some estimates placed 2015 office space levels at 30% of what they were in 1970.

By hacking office space, businesses transform underutilized desk space into new areas for collaboration or social activity. A well-lit corner of the floor can become a lounge space while kitchens and dining areas act as impromptu meeting spaces.

Areas of the office that were once overlooked have also entered the conversation. In its proposed remodel of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., Gensler suggested adding a rooftop soccer field to the FBI HQ. The field would not only provide office users with an additional fitness space but also improve the urban landscape by becoming a public park.

Promoting Flexibility

Co-working made flexible work environments a possibility for emerging startups. Businesses can pick and choose the number of desks they need and adjust as the company grows or consolidates its workforce. Large companies have adopted the practice within their own spaces to accommodate shifting employee headcounts and various working styles. The conference room in demand today might not be necessary tomorrow.

Taking a cue from pop-up retail, hackable office design uses construction practices like movable walls and multipurpose spaces to deliver offices quickly, efficiently and with an emphasis on people. Employees retain the ability to adjust the space as their needs evolve.

At the 1871 tech center at the historic Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Skender worked alongside Gensler and JLL to deliver a collaborative tech incubator space in four months. After touring entrepreneurial work sites to learn about what tech workers needed, the design and construction team transformed the existing showroom space into an open office floor plan. Most of the space is designed for flexible use. The large common area can transform from 100 workspaces to a 275-seat auditorium.

Like a living, breathing organism, the Class-A office buildings of today have the potential to become the dynamic, attractive workplaces of tomorrow.

This article, authored by Travis Gonzalez with commentary by Skender’s Clay Edwards, originally appeared on Bisnow.com.

Skender Revolutionizes How the Industry Builds, Integrates Design, Construction, and Manufacturing

Embracing Vertical Integration, Skender Expands on its Core Construction Business, Launches a New Advanced Manufacturing Company, Acquires Design Team, and Hires Design and Construction Technology Industry Leaders

Envisioning a radically more efficient future for the building industry, Skender announces its expansion beyond construction, becoming a vertically integrated company including construction, design and building component manufacturing functions. The expansion includes significant investment in the launch of a new Chicago-based advanced manufacturing subsidiary and the acquisition of the boutique design firm Ingenious Architecture. Skender has also recruited two industry trailblazers: architect and thought leader Tim Swanson and construction technology innovator Kevin Bredeson. As part of the transformation, Skender Construction has rebranded as Skender, reflecting the expansion beyond its core construction business.

“Fragmentation has crippled our industry far too long,” states Mark Skender, the company’s CEO. “Our new business model revolutionizes how the industry builds by demolishing the silos between design and construction, and introducing manufacturing. Combined with our Lean project delivery approach and culture of perpetual innovation, we can now fully realize the potential of vertical integration to significantly reduce risk, delays and waste while maximizing value, quality and positive experiences for our clients. It’s a uniquely stress-free building solution.”

Challenging traditional assumptions is at the heart of the Skender culture, which is rooted in collaboration and the Lean construction approach of waste reduction, transparency and ideation. “We are asking new questions,” explains Justin Brown, Skender President and Partner. “Why can’t we apply sophisticated design principles to modular manufacturing? How can we eliminate weather delays by bringing large parts of the process indoors? How can we significantly boost productivity without sacrificing quality? We are not just rolling out a new business model—we’re rethinking everything about building design and construction, from concept to completion and beyond.”

Skender Launches a New, Chicago-based Advanced Manufacturing Start-up

Launching a new, start-up advanced manufacturing company, Skender will open a manufacturing facility on the southwest side of Chicago that will employ union labor to build modular building components. Relocating some or most of the onsite construction process to the manufacturing facility will centralize and stabilize labor, realize a standardized assembly line process for higher-quality building components, and eliminate weather-related delays during much of the construction process. Among the many benefits are increased flexibility, shorter schedules, reduced costs and greater speed to revenue.

Both a CEO search and a rigorous facility selection process are currently underway; production is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2018. More details will follow this initial launch announcement.

Skender Acquires a Design Team Focused on Efficiency, Integration

Leveraging technology to enhance architecture firm partnerships and maximize design efficiency, Skender is making multiple investments in people and technology. The company has made two key executive hires, including Kevin Bredeson as Chief Technology Officer and Tim Swanson as Chief Design Officer. In the new role of CTO, Bredeson will use his recognized leadership in design and construction technologies to ensure Skender’s technology stack is constantly evolving, supporting forward movement toward maximum efficiency and optimal integration. Kevin’s past technology leadership experience includes tenures at Suffolk Construction, Pepper Construction and Gilbane Building Company. Swanson, a thought leader and regular speaker on the value of integrating design and construction, joins Skender from CannonDesign, where he led the Chicago office and the firm’s national City Design practice. Swanson will serve as leader of Skender’s new integrated design team.

To provide the design expertise required to fully integrate the building process, Skender has also acquired Ingenious Architecture, a team of 10 research-based, technology-savvy architects and designers. The new design team will work under Swanson’s leadership to offer Lean, integrated services such as design-build, design-assist and design-for-manufacturing to new and existing healthcare, hospitality and multifamily clients. To further bolster productivity and enhance client experiences, the team will collaborate with the new CTO to infuse operations-focused technologies, such as virtual design and construction (VDC) and building information modeling (BIM), with emerging technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and drone imaging. The team will continue to serve their existing Ingenious Architecture clients, primarily focused on the healthcare and corporate/commercial sectors, as well as collaborate across the firm’s projects.

In Skender’s award-winning corporate interiors business, the integrated design team will provide support to third-party architectural firms chosen by Skender’s clients, contributing their expertise to enrich the construction-architecture firm relationship.

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.

Skender Breaks Ground on 26,000-SF Esperanza Health Center

Skender broke ground on the new 26,000-square-foot Esperanza Health Center at 4700 S. California Avenue in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood.

The two-story clinic will serve an area in great need of health care services. Large portions of residents in Esperanza’s service area live below twice the poverty level and have been designated as medically underserved with a health professional shortage by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Esperanza, meaning hope in Spanish, is living up to its name as the new facility will be a fully accessible building, providing critical services that are currently lacking in this area of southwest Chicago.

By teaming up with local specialty care and community-based organizations, the new facility will house comprehensive medical and wellness services, and utilize forward-thinking design, featuring a dynamic façade comprised of color-shifting metal panels, to attract and unite the surrounding community. The two-story 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 construction manager, is collaborating with architect JGMA and McNitt Consulting on the project, which is on track for a February 2019 completion.

Elgin Tower Building

Skender recently 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, serving as general contractor, collaborated with St. Louis-based architect Webster Design, owner Capstone Development Group and the City of Elgin to complete the monumental project.

GGP New HQ Tour

Skender recently completed interior construction of the 176,000-square-foot headquarters for retail real estate company GGP at River North Point. This video highlights the new, three-floor space. The project was a collaboration between GGP, Skender, ARCHIDEAS, Environmental Systems Design, JLL and a team of talented trade specialists.

6 trends shaping smart hotels

“From real-time guest feedback to AI-driven hyper-personalization, the hotel of the future will emphasize service, convenience, authenticity, and just the right amount of technology.”

Heads Up: The 5 Hidden Expenses of Open Ceilings

Open ceilings, with their exposed ductwork and industrial vibe have become popular – but trendy rarely equals inexpensive. For many years, omitting the traditional drop ceiling was assumed to be not just cooler but also to cost less. Common sense seemed to be that by choosing open ceilings, the cost of the drop ceiling was simply avoided, saving on labor, materials and time.

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.

Great news! Or was it? It appeared this popular feature that conveys a sense

of spaciousness and casual charm also saved money. Unfortunately, the news was premature.

Our years of experience have shown that open plenum ceilings have many benefits, but being cheaper isn’t one of them. It’s important to consider the hidden costs of open ceilings, which almost always make them more expensive, particularly over a building’s life cycle.

Hidden expense #1: Open does not mean unfinished

At first glance, it might seem contradictory to think that an open ceiling would cost more than installing a suspended ceiling system and infrastructure. The catch: there’s work required in both cases. Even when ductwork is exposed, it’s anything but unfinished. Hidden ductwork is typically blocky, dirty, oily and generally not aesthetically pleasing. Round or oval ducts deliver a more “finished” look but are significantly more expensive.

Hidden expense #2: Higher labor costs

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, but any savings is more than offset by the cost of labor-intensive tasks required for open plenum. For instance, this 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.

Hidden expense #3: Making it pretty

At a minimum, space users want everything painted, from the exposed ceiling to the ductwork and plumbing — a job that’s more complicated than simply painting walls. More significantly, existing infrastructure that’s been hiding behind suspended ceilings is often unsightly, requiring major work to make it attractive to employees or customers. In other words, the casual look of an open plenum is actually the result of substantial work.

Hidden expense #4: Sound considerations

In addition to visual considerations, open plenum plans come with a 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 an exposed ceiling can create an echo effect that gets amplified as people talk louder to be heard over ambient noise.

Avoiding noise problems in open plenum plans comes at a cost. Office and retail users may install acoustical panels directly onto the deck, or suspend baffles to absorb sound in critical areas. Another solution: spray-on acoustical material on the ceiling’s hard, reflective surfaces. These products soften the surfaces to absorb some of the noise, and typically have other benefits such as thermal insulation and fire protection.

Hidden expense #5: Skyrocketing energy bills

Even if open plenum ceilings can be installed cost-effectively, there are operational cost considerations that can change the equation somewhat. A major trend in construction cost estimation is to look at 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 CISCA study mentioned previously noted that energy costs were found to be lower in suspended ceilings than in open plenum ceilings. The savings ranged from 9 percent to 10.3 percent in offices, and from 12.7 percent to 17 percent in retail spaces studied. In addition, CISCA noted that open ceilings required frequent cleaning and periodic repainting. “Considering both first-time and operating costs, suspended ceilings are extremely cost effective,” the study concluded.

Weighing the pros and cons

The additional cost of open plenum ceilings shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Office and retail space should be designed and built to maximize its appeal to employees or customers and to enable productive use of the space; incurring an incrementally higher cost structure is a secondary concern. But users who are getting ready to build out space should be aware of the true cost of different alternatives to avoid surprises during construction. It’s natural to make the assumption that an informal, exposed ceiling is less expensive than a suspended ceiling — but the reality is often quite different.

This is the first in a two-part series on pros and cons of on-trend office and retail design elements. Stay tuned to Market Share for the second part of the series.

Big Kids Rock Chicago

Join us February 27 at City Winery for Big Kids Rock, a concert hosted by Little Kids Rock featuring Skender’s rock band Not to Exceed among others in support of music education in Chicago Public Schools. Tickets available here: https://lnkd.in/dVSPBSC

Skender Rock Band to Perform at West Loop Concert Benefiting Music Education in Chicago Public Schools

Little Kids Rock will host a fundraiser, Big Kids Rock, on February 27, 2018 at City Winery in the West Loop. This year’s event will help raise funds for Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives by restoring, expanding and innovating music education in our schools. Skender Construction’s band, Not to Exceed (NTE), will perform and consists of Chicago-based construction industry musicians with a vibrant, rock-inspired sound, powered by strong vocals and unified rhythm. NTE members bring to the stage a vast history of performances at high profile Chicago venues such as House of Blues, Joe’s on Weed Street, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Hard Rock and various street festivals.

Little Kids Rock pioneered Modern Band, a music program that teaches kids to perform, compose and improvise the music they love—be it rap, reggae, rock or R&B. The organization trains teachers to run the innovative program, and donates accompanying instruments and resources as necessary to teach popular music in a way that empowers students to experience instant achievement. Little Kids Rock has been serving Chicago Public Schools children and teachers since 2008, and is currently active with over 32,000 students, 150 schools and 160 trained and equipped teachers.

The “big kids” of the Big Kids Rock benefit concert are titans of various industries, including lawyers, doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, engineers and others who have been impacted by the power of music and want to share that gift with the next generation of music-makers. Every $5,000 raised helps Little Kids Rock launch a Modern Band music program in another school, serving nearly 200 students per year.

Skender Starts 225,000-SF Restack Project for HERE Technologies

Skender Construction recently started 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.

Throughout eight floors of the Boeing Building, the HERE Chicago office is being transformed into a contemporary environment that reflects the company’s vision, brand and history of innovation. Scheduled to be completed by late Summer 2018, HERE Chicago will have space for more than 1,400 employees in an open-floorplan seating arrangement that will facilitate better and faster collaboration. Employees will have a variety of meeting rooms that accommodate anywhere from 2 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. Local artists will be commissioned for several interior murals and significant enhancements will be made towards green initiatives and ergonomics.

HERE Technologies is backed by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Intel, Pioneer, Bosch and Continental. The company’s location data and services are extensively used across industries, from automotive to the Internet of Things (IoT). When work is completed, the new-look office space is expected to serve as a showcase for the company’s smart office and location tracking technology.

“At HERE Chicago, more than 1,100 employees are working toward our vision of the future, where an Autonomous World benefits everyone,” said Angel Mendez, Chief Operating Officer of HERE Technologies. “We’re proud to be a longstanding member of the city’s tech community where our team of professionals – including hundreds of passionate engineers and product managers leveraging agile processes – help to deliver software, products and services that enable everyone to harness the power of location. This workspace transformation strengthens our approach, opens up new lines of communication, and makes room for many new employees we expect to join us in 2018.”

Skender will coordinate utility shutdowns and all construction logistics to minimize the impact on ongoing building operations. Serving as general contractor, Skender is working in collaboration with Gensler, JLL and ESD Global to complete the project by September 2018.

Skender Starts 225 000-SF Restack Project for HERE Technologies

Skender recently began interior construction of the 225,000-square-foot office space for HERE Technologies at 425 W. Randolph. We are excited to be partnering with Gensler, JLL and ESD (Environmental Systems Design, Inc.) on this big restack project!

Skender Completes Iconic Elgin Tower Rehabilitation Project

Skender Construction recently 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. Demolition included the removal of old coal fired boilers and radiators to update the building with energy efficient water heaters and individually controlled fancoil units within each apartment. Skender and the design team worked with 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. Exterior façade tuckpointing, stone replacement and abatement activities were completed by outside contractors, but coordinated through Skender to maintain the project schedule.

Skender, serving as general contractor, collaborated with St. Louis-based architect Webster Design, owner Capstone Development Group and the City of Elgin to complete the monumental project.

Senior living design trends for 2018

“Designing boutique and upscale communities for seniors and their baby boomer family members has been at the forefront of design considerations.”

Aging Population Driving Medical Office Demand in U.S.

“The population aged 65 and above is expected to increase by 1.7 million (3.3 percent) in 2018 and by 9.2 million (18 percent) over the next five years, driving short- and long-term demand for medical services.”

#SkenderRed

Skender is going red for women to help support the American Heart Association’s #GoRed Campaign to bring awareness and learn more about heart disease.

Skender Completes 176,000-SF Headquarters Relocation Project for GGP

Skender Construction recently completed interior construction of the 176,000-square-foot headquarters for retail real estate company GGP, formerly known as General Growth Properties, at River North Point.

GGP relocated 700 employees to its new headquarters at 350 N. Orleans. GGP’s new, three-floor space contains modern finishes, an abundance of natural light, and an open office format with exposed ceilings. The design includes strategically placed conference rooms, phone rooms, hubs and gathering areas to foster a collaborative environment and serve as launching pads for the next great commercial real estate idea. Barz™ paneling systems by Ceilings Plus are located throughout the office in addition to four open hub collaboration rooms enclosed by curved glass. The focal point of the space is the third-floor café that walks out to a 10,500-square-foot private roof deck overlooking Wolf Point and three branches of the Chicago River.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with Chicago-based design firm ARCHIDEAS, Environmental Systems Design and JLL to successfully complete the project.

Skender Chairman Joseph Skender Inducted into Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame

Skender Construction Chairman Joseph Skender was inducted into Midwest Real Estate News‘ Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Each year the magazine inducts a new class of the biggest names in the commercial real estate industry. Joseph was selected from a pool of more than 500 nominations and joins 96 others in this year’s class.

In high school, Skender began working summers with his father who owned a small residential construction company in the south suburbs of Chicago, eventually working his way through college on a variety of construction jobs. Since taking a leadership position at the firm in 1980, Skender has helped Skender Construction grow to become one of the largest general contractors in Chicago.

Skender is a busy supporter of charitable and community organizations, and co-founded Skender Foundation, a 501(c)(3) private foundation dedicated to helping organizations impacting education and wellness. Skender serves on DePaul University’s board of trustees and is a member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago and Economic Club of Chicago.

Midwest Real Estate News officially announced the Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame class of 2018 in the December/January 2018 issue.

4-Story Stair Atrium – Phase Update Steel & Concrete

One of our superintendents, Mike Brooks, walks us through the first phase of constructing a 4-story stair atrium for a confidential client. It was a great coordinating effort between the Skender team, designers, framers, surveyors and many more to get this stairwell underway.

Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

Wilson Sporting Goods Co. wanted to move its HQ to a new 90,000 SF space in downtown Chicago. They partnered with Skender Construction to build out the new space in One Prudential Plaza by Millennium Park with amazing features of metal mesh walls, two-story connecting stair, and custom graphics of sports fields on their cafe floor.

Skender Completes 100,000-SF Rehabilitation of Multifamily Property

Skender Construction recently completed the rehabilitation of Sage Crest Apartments, a two-building, 100,000-square-foot affordable housing development.

Located along Rt. 31, just north of downtown Aurora, the two six-story apartment buildings are owned by Preservation Partners Development III, LLC. To complete the remodel of 102 occupied units, Skender coordinated one-week resident move-outs in batches of 12 units per week. Residents moved out Saturday and returned the following Saturday to a completely renovated apartment. Each one-, two- and three-bedroom unit was turned over on time.

In addition to the unit remodeling, the project included extensive exterior and accessibility improvements, as well as community room updates and energy efficiency upgrades. Additionally, Skender resurfaced the parking lot, provided roof replacements, new sidewalks, new exterior lighting, new floors in the corridor, an elevator refresh and a new roof drain installation.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with architect Fitzgerald Associates and multiple trade partners to successfully complete the project.

New Year, New Job

A new year signals fresh beginnings and, for many of you, finding a new job may be at the top of your list of resolutions.

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Lean Construction: Reducing Waste And Enhancing Value

Many designers, architects, engineers and contractors have discovered methods, collectively known as “Lean Construction,” to improve the overall process of creating a new project, along with cutting construction costs.

Skender Completes 90,000-SF Office for Wilson Sporting Goods

Skender Construction recently completed a 90,000-square-foot headquarters relocation project for Wilson Sporting Goods, the American sports equipment manufacturer.

Located on the fifth and sixth floors of One Prudential Plaza, the sports-inspired, open-office workspace incorporates brick walls, a wood ceiling in the café and a communicating stair. The stair required Skender to remove a large section of the 6th floor slab and provide structural reinforcement around the new opening.

Wilson’s passion for sport is branded throughout the office with custom graphics of sponsored athletes and a café floor striped with different fields of play for football, basketball, golf and tennis. The reception lounge features custom metal display boxes with glass fronts and internal lighting that will hold vintage sporting artifacts mounted for display. The reception desk includes leather hides that were stitched together to resemble baseball stitching.

Skender, serving as general contractor, collaborated with architect Gensler and owner’s representative Newmark Knight Frank to successfully complete the build-out.

Motorola Mobility: The Helicopter Lift

Planning a helicopter lift at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago is complex. A number of challenges presented themselves – from pedestrian safety to lifting heavy mechanical equipment from a barge on the Chicago River.

Belinda Moore Promoted to Associate Executive Director of Skender Foundation

Skender Foundation recently announced the promotion of Belinda Moore to associate executive director of the nonprofit organization.

Belinda has been integral to Skender Foundation’s growth since the organization’s inception in 2012, most recently serving as volunteer committee chair of the foundation and member of the Builders’ Board, a subcommittee of Skender Foundation comprised of philanthropic-minded leaders working together to inspire positive, sustainable change in Chicago. Previously, Belinda held multiple accounting and administrative roles for Skender Construction, one of the nation’s largest building contractors.

In her new role, Belinda is responsible for developing and implementing the foundation’s vision and strategic plan. She also oversees the planning and execution of events; program and committee oversight and implementation; coordination of volunteer opportunities; and the approval process for grant applications.

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

Midtown Crossing Apartments

The four-story Midtown Crossing Apartments building, by Over the Rainbow Association (OTR), contains 33 affordable, barrier-free and accessible apartments. In addition to OTR, the project team consisted of Skender Construction as general contractor, Weese Langley Weese as architect and Lightengale as financial consultant.

Lisa Latronico Promoted to Partner at Skender Construction

Skender Construction recently announced that Vice President of People and Culture Lisa Latronico has been promoted to Partner at the firm.

Lisa has played an instrumental role in driving Skender’s Lean and employee-focused culture. Since joining the firm in 2001, Lisa has pioneered many award-winning employee enrichment and recruiting programs, leading the firm to consistent recognition as a best place to work in Illinois and Chicago. She oversees Skender’s human resources team to cultivate the next generation of unrivaled talent and superior culture. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Governors State University and a certificate from DePaul University in human resource management.

“Lisa is an extraordinary leader and teammate, and as such, we are thrilled to announce that Lisa has been named a partner at Skender. Her enthusiasm is unparalleled, with a deep focus and commitment to distinguishing Skender through our people and culture. More so, she has become a valued executive leader and strategic partner, helping to guide our company’s future,” said CEO Mark Skender.

As Vice President and Partner, Lisa will continue to lead the human resources team and focus her operational efforts on employee enrichment, retention and recruiting. She joins her colleagues Joseph Skender (Chairman of the Board), Mark Skender (Chief Executive Officer), Justin Brown (President), Afshan Barshan (Executive Vice President), Andrew MacGregor (Executive Vice President), Dan Marijan (Executive Vice President) and Clay Edwards (Vice President) on Skender’s leadership board.

“When I joined Skender in 2001, I recognized something special in Joe and Mark Skender. Their integrity was instantly apparent and admirable,” Lisa said. “A deep affection for our culture and team quickly developed. That same affection and team approach inspires me every day as I strive to create meaningful programs for our employees and their families to feel connected, empowered and engaged like I did from the very beginning.”

Medical Campuses Are Becoming Mixed-Use Hubs

At a growing number of hospitals across the country, it is now possible to have a cappuccino with your CAT scan. Mixed-use real estate is coming to healthcare, and more hospitals are integrating shops and appealing public spaces into their designs.

Avoiding Wasted Time and Materials in a High-cost Development Cycle

As founding members of the Chicago chapter of the Lean Construction Institute, Skender Construction has implemented Lean principles for more than a decade, proving time and time again that use of the Lean Construction method can reduce waste and save both time and money.

360¡ of GGP New Office Space

For the new 176,000-square-foot office space being built by Skender Construction for GGP Inc., K13 insulation is applied to help keep noise levels down in the open-office floor plan.

Skender Completes Specialty Clinic for Rush Oak Park Hospital

Skender Construction recently completed the interior build-out of a specialty medical clinic at Rush Oak Park Hospital (ROPH).

Located on the fifth floor of the ROPH medical office building, the new specialty clinic includes 21 exam rooms, an allergy room and infusion room, as well as four procedure/treatment rooms. Support and ancillary spaces include reception, waiting, blood draw and administrative offices. A portion of the build-out is dedicated to the adjacent ROPH hematology/oncology practice, adding four infusion bays and a nurse’s station.

Working in the occupied space, Skender coordinated utility shutdowns and all construction logistics to minimize the impact on ongoing building operations. Skender served as general contractor and collaborated with Eckenhoff Saunders Architects and Berg Engineering Consultants to successfully complete the build-out.

Skender Completes New 45,000-SF Independent Living Facility

Skender Construction recently completed Midtown Crossing Apartments, a new 45,000-square-foot affordable housing development located near downtown Des Plaines, Illinois. The four-story, 33-unit independent living facility is owned by Over the Rainbow Association (OTR), an Illinois nonprofit association dedicated to providing affordable, barrier-free housing solutions for people with physical disabilities. All 33 units in the Green Enterprise Community building are energy efficient, handicap accessible and barrier-free.

The building takes on a geometrical form with large roof overhangs and a vibrant combination of colors and materials throughout the building. Midtown Crossing exemplifies self-sufficient ADA compliance with unique features such as luxury vinyl plank flooring, large roll-in bathrooms with integrated showers, accessibly designed custom kitchens and expansive elevator lobbies.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with architect Weese Langley Weese and key trade partners to successfully deliver another barrier-free apartment community for Over the Rainbow Association.

The Climate Corporation’s Chicago Office

The Climate Corporation’s 21,000-square-foot Chicago office, built by Skender Construction and designed by Shive-Hattery with COR Consulting as owner’s representative. The Climate Corporation is a subsidiary of Monsanto Company and creator of digital tools to help farmers sustainably increase their productivity.

Skender Completes 52,000-SF Office Build-out for Glassdoor

Skender Construction recently completed a 52,000-square-foot office build-out for Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing job sites.

Located at 1330 W. Fulton Market in Chicago, the new open office workspace spans one and a half floors and features curved glass and drywall throughout, metal and wood integrated millwork, a curved operable partition, as well as two kitchens and a café.

Skender collaborated with design firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates and owner’s representative Project Management Advisors, Inc. to complete the two-story build-out. Click here to watch a video of Glassdoor’s new space.

Glassdoor’s Chicago Office

Skender completed a 52,000-SF office build-out for Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing job sites. Located at 1330 W. Fulton Market in Chicago, the new open office workspace spans one and a half floors and features curved glass, metal and wood integrated millwork, a curved operable partition, two kitchens and a cafe. Skender collaborated with design firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates and owner’s representative Project Management Advisors, Inc.

Skender Foundation’s Harvesting Hope 2017: Benefiting Snow City Arts

Skender Foundation hosted its sixth annual Harvesting Hope fundraiser, hosted by the organization’s Builders’ Board. Thanks to the event hosts, sponsors and 300 attendees, Skender Foundation was able to donate $37,000 to Snow City Arts, a non-profit organization providing art education to young patients in local hospitals. For more information, visit skenderfoundation.org.

Skender Construction Uses Green Power and Partners with EPA

Skender Construction announced today that it recently joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. Skender is offsetting 100 percent of its annual Chicago office electricity use, or 250 thousand kilowatt-hours (kWh), with the purchase of green power via renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Renewable Choice Energy.

Skender Construction is currently the only general contractor Green Power Partner in Illinois. As a Green Power Partner, Skender joins DePaul University, the Morton Arboretum, and a wide variety of leading organizations committed to leading their industries in the reduction of carbon emissions and the movement toward a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally-preferable carbon-free resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of those sources in the United States and advance the American green power market.

As a Green Power Partner, Skender’s Chicago headquarters earned enough points to pursue LEED Gold certification for commercial interiors from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Skender Completes 21,000-SF Office Build-out for The Climate Corporation

Skender Construction recently completed a 21,000-square-foot office build-out for The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company and creator of digital tools to help farmers sustainably increase their productivity.

Located at 1330 W. Fulton Market, the new open office workspace incorporates rustic wood walls and a custom art feature wall at the entrance. The Climate Corporation’s passion for agriculture is manifested throughout the office with an antique tractor on display and huddle rooms built out as silos using oversized barn doors. Two dedicated workshops house The Climate Corporation’s equipment and ongoing projects, and a large breakroom with a custom chain link design wall offers ping pong and foosball for employees.

Skender, serving as general contractor, collaborated with architect Shive-Hattery and owner’s representative COR Consulting to successfully complete the build-out.

Skender Construction Wins Top Safety Award

Skender Construction recently won the “gold medal” safety award in the construction achievement category from Raffles Insurance. More than 70 other companies were eligible in this category and Skender earned the top honor, which recognizes outstanding safety, loss prevention and claims management.

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 fifth 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 27 percent lower than the national average.

Three Skender-built projects honored at AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards

Three Skender Construction projects were recently honored at Designight 2017, the annual design excellence awards event of the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). At the event, AIA Chicago recognized outstanding work from Chicago architecture firms for projects designed and built throughout the world. The three Skender-built projects that earned recognition were:

  • Morningstar: The 26,000-square-foot build-out of Morningstar’s global headquarters in Chicago was awarded a Citation of Merit in the Interior Architecture Awards category. Selected from nearly 100 entries, the project was designed by Perkins+Will and built by Skender for Morningstar’s technology employees. The space includes open concept space and a custom-built stage area called “The Drum,” which serves as an auditorium with bleacher-style seating shaped like Morningstar’s signature logo.
  • Safe Haven Veteran Village: The 55,000-square foot affordable veterans housing development received a Citation of Merit award in the Distinguished Building Awards category. Serving as general contractor, Skender collaborated with architect UrbanWorks to successfully complete the Melrose Park, Illinois project, which includes 12 buildings and 35 residences on five nearby but separate sites. All of the buildings are wood construction with cement board, brick and a cedar veneer.
  • Echo Global Logistics, ECHO Wall: Designed by CannonDesign and built by Skender, the ECHO wall received Special Recognition for Architectural Branding within the Divine Detail Awards category. Located at the entrance of the transportation logistics firm’s new office, the ECHO wall is constructed from raw Cor-Ten steel and resembles a scalar representation of the box trailers that are the hub of Echo Global’s business.

The 62nd annual Designight celebration was held at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom on October 13.

Skender Completes Two Restaurants for Four Corners Tavern Group at 150 N. Riverside

Skender Construction recently completed two restaurant build-outs for the Four Corners Tavern Group at 150 N. Riverside, one of Chicago’s newest commercial high-rise buildings along the Chicago River. The two eateries total nearly 15,000 square feet of space for Small Cheval and Porter Kitchen & Deck.

Porter Kitchen, a restaurant and bar, occupies the ground level and includes warm and elegant décor as well as a riverfront patio with seating. Small Cheval, a retro-style burger venture between Four Corners Tavern Group and Hogsalt Hospitality, is located on the main floor. Above Small Cheval, Porter Kitchen occupies the roof deck and offers views of the river and Chicago architecture. The interior construction project also included some restaurant administration office space.

Skender collaborated with Four Corners Tavern Group and design firms Box Studios, Studio K, ESD, Next Step Design food service consultants, and Travis Sound Design to successfully complete the restaurant construction.

Skender Construction HQ Moves to 1330 W Fulton

Experience #SkenderHQ move-in day! We captured initial employee reactions and reflections on day one at 1330 W Fulton, a Sterling Bay property known as Fulton West. Special thanks to our architect, Perkins+Will.

Skender Foundation Summer Eclipse Event 2017

Skender Foundation hosted its sixth annual fundraiser, Summer Eclipse, on July 20, 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). This yearÕs event highlighted Chicago Youth Programs (CYP), an award-winning organization that serves children across the entire city with a simple philosophyÑto impact the long-term outcome of a childÕs life, you must serve the child long-term.

A total of $400,000 was raised in one night by sponsors and more than 500 event attendees. Of that, $30,000 will be donated to CYP while the balance will be dispersed to other charities dedicated to education and wellness throughout the year. In 2016, Skender Foundation donated to more than 100 different charity organizations.

How Building Occupants And Construction Can Co-Exist

Contractors and end users need to decide on a construction method that fits budget, timing and safety concerns. For Skender, that means devising a plan that combines flexibility, creativity and regular communication.

Timelapse of Skender’s “Blueprint for Growth”

Our “Blueprint for Growth” goal reminds us to maintain our core values and culture as we grow. This video shows the mural installation by artist Amanda Paulson at our new headquarters. For more on building cultures, listen to the #WorkTrends interview with Skender’s Lisa Latronico: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/talentculture/2017/09/13/building-great-cultures

#WorkTrends Recap: Building Great Cultures

A great workplace culture where employees can thrive and take an organization to the next level can have a lasting impact on recruitment, retention, and the bottom line. But how do you get there?

Skender Expands in Chicago with Move to 38,000-SF Space in Fulton Market

Skender, one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing contractors, has helped many organizations attract talented employees by building out inviting workplace interiors that promote collaboration and well-being. Now the Chicago-based firm has done the same for its own headquarters space, in a relocation and expansion lease in the Fulton Market district.

Skender is moving into its new 38,000-square-foot space at 1330 W. Fulton, a Sterling Bay property known as Fulton West. The new location is 50 percent larger than its previous space at 200 W. Madison to accommodate Skender’s rapid growth, and the move to Fulton Market reflects the firm’s high-energy culture.

“We set out to build a premier office space that fits our culture and enables us to continue hiring top construction talent,” said CEO Mark Skender. “In two years, we have doubled in size, growing from 114 to 226 employees.”

The flexible, open-plan workspace features exposed concrete ceilings and numerous collaboration spaces with the latest video conferencing technology. Three large multipurpose rooms feature overhead doors that open to a central corridor and coffee bar. A variety of unique lounge spaces create an inviting environment for teamwork.

“This is an exciting milestone for Skender,” said President Justin Brown. “Through our work for clients, we’ve seen how a dynamic, appealing workplace can help attract the best employees and sets the table for collaboration and innovation.”

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked with architect Perkins+Will to complete its new headquarters.

The Capital One “Superfloor”

“One of the ways that we show we value our employees is giving them a great workplace,” said Hannah French, Capital One’s senior manager of workplace solutions. Capital One partnered with Skender to build its 50th “superfloor” into a collaborative, inviting and flexible workspace.

Skender Ranks Among Nation’s Top 100 Contractors

Skender Construction ranked among the top 100 construction firms in the U.S., according to a report compiled by Building Design+Construction magazine. As part of the publication’s 2017 Giants 300 Report, which ranks U.S. building contractors by annual revenue, Skender earned the No. 82 spot with 2016 revenues of $335 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. 37 among the top office contractors, No. 51 among the top healthcare contractors, and No. 68 among the nation’s top multifamily contractors.

Additionally, Skender was recently recognized by Midwest Real Estate News. In the magazine’s “2017 Best of the Best” issue, Skender ranked among the top 20 general contractors in the Midwest. This ranking was also determined by 2016 revenues.

In addition to these industry accolades, Skender recently earned multiple “Best Place to Work” honors. The Daily Herald Business Ledger named Skender as a Best Place to Work in Illinois for the ninth consecutive year. And for the tenth consecutive year, the National Association for Business Resources named Skender one of Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. The regional competition honors companies that distinguish themselves as having the most innovative and thoughtful human resources approach.

Skender Construction Growing in San Francisco Bay Area; Firm Starting Several Interior Renovation Projects

Skender Construction’s San Francisco office has won construction management assignments for several renovation projects in the Bay area. Among the projects recently started or beginning soon:

  • JPMorgan Chase (San Francisco) – 22,000-SF critical infrastructure upgrade and digital signage installation at 560 Mission Street
  • HERE (Berkeley) – 18,000-SF interior buildout of a research and development facility plus 9,000-SF buildout of ancillary office
  • Public Financial Management (San Francisco) – 12,000-SF interior renovation of occupied space at 50 California Street
  • Capital One (Oakland) – 7,000-SF interior buildout in historical high-rise office building
  • One Front Café (San Francisco) – infrastructure upgrade for first-floor café at One Front building
  • UC San Francisco (Parnassus Campus) – concrete slab repair and rebuild of office space
  • At the Crossroads (San Francisco) – 6,000-SF interior buildout from a cold shell located at 167 Jessie Street

Skender began managing construction projects for clients in the San Francisco area in 2010 and opened its local office at 101 Mission Street in 2016. Skender’s San Francisco team has successfully completed renovation and new construction work in the Bay Area and beyond for Fletcher Jones, Capital One, Here, JPMorgan Chase, Preservation Partners Development, Harley Ellis Devereaux, ESD and Bay Labs.

Skender Starts 168,000-SF Headquarters Relocation Project for GGP

Skender Construction recently started interior construction of the 168,000-square-foot headquarters for retail real estate company GGP, formerly known as General Growth Properties, at River North Point.

GGP is relocating 700 employees to its new headquarters at 350 N. Orleans. Once complete, the space will reflect GGP’s brand and culture with a bright, collaborative work environment that includes open workstation areas, private offices, conference rooms, reception, satellite pantries, large café and teaming areas throughout. The space will also include a two-story viewing atrium.

Serving as construction manager, Skender is working in collaboration with Chicago-based design firm ARCHIDEAS, Environmental Systems Design and JLL to complete the project by January 2018.

Jeff Krause, Experienced Senior Superintendent, Joins Skender Construction

Jeff Krause has joined Skender Construction as a senior superintendent. With more than 20 years of construction experience, Krause brings to Skender an impressive background in ground-up high-rise, healthcare, education and institutional projects. He will be working with Skender’s housing and healthcare teams to manage projects in those markets.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to the Skender team,” said Skender Construction President Justin Brown. “Jeff’s knowledge of complex, ground-up construction is an exceptional addition to our company and we’re excited to have him help push us forward on large-scale projects.”

Prior to joining Skender, Krause was a senior superintendent at Power Construction where he oversaw a variety of large-scale, high-profile projects, including the 42-story Ritz-Carlton residences, 690-unit Marquee at Block 37, 56-story Essex on the Park, 300,000-SF residential mid-rise building at 1200 W. Madison, and the new hospital / bed tower at Rush University Medical Center. He earned a bachelor of science degree in construction management from Western Illinois University.

“The energy level here at Skender Construction is like nothing I have seen in my 20-plus years in the industry,” said Krause. “It is contagious and has sparked tremendous enthusiasm that I look forward to sharing with our clients and project teams.”

Sixth Annual Summer Eclipse Raises $400,000 for Local Charities

Skender Foundation hosted its annual fundraiser, Summer Eclipse, on July 20 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). This year’s event highlighted Chicago Youth Programs (CYP), an award-winning organization that serves children across the entire city with a simple philosophy—to impact the long-term outcome of a child’s life, you must serve the child long-term.

A total of $400,000 was raised in one night by sponsors and more than 500 event attendees. Of that, $30,000 will be donated to CYP while the balance will be dispersed to other charities dedicated to education and wellness throughout the year. In 2016, Skender Foundation donated to more than 100 different charity organizations.

CYP provides over 40 comprehensive programs to at-risk youth, from birth through 25 years of age, living in the Washington Park, Near North/Cabrini Green, North Lawndale and Uptown/Rogers Park neighborhoods. CYP is dedicated to serving those least likely to have access to support. These neighborhoods have some of the highest rates of youth living in poverty out of all 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“Skender Foundation and Chicago Youth Programs spent a beautiful evening in Chicago celebrating our shared commitment to serving the city’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Cinaiya Stubbs, deputy executive director of CYP. “We are thrilled to have been included and look forward to the impact that the donation from Skender Foundation will make in the lives of our youth and families. From healthcare to violence prevention, mentoring, academics and college readiness—all will be supported by the donation.”

“We are thrilled by the support we received at this year’s Summer Eclipse,” said Cheryl Skender, Skender Foundation President. “Chicago Youth Program’s mission is truly inspiring and we were honored to highlight CYP at this year’s Summer Eclipse. A big thank you to our generous sponsors for their donations and to attendees for making it a wonderful evening.”

Mead Johnson Nutrition Project

Mead Johnson’s Molly McDermott discusses her experience working with Skender on the interior construction of Mead Johnson’s new 64,000-SF office at 444 W. Lake Street, Chicago.

Skender Completes New 64,000-SF Office for Global Nutrition Company

Skender Construction recently completed a 64,000-square-foot interior office buildout for Mead Johnson, a leading nutrition company for babies and children. The baby formula company, a new division of Reckitt Benckiser’s, has relocated from Glenview, Illinois to 444 W. Lake Street in downtown Chicago.

The three-floor project included a 1,500-square-foot slab cut for a self-supporting feature staircase with custom rails and a 2,000-square-foot one of a kind Arktura ceiling system. The space also contains a high tech audio visual system, high-end lobby, open floor plan, conference rooms and executive offices.

Serving as general contractor, Skender worked in collaboration with Partners by Design, Environmental Systems Design and Development Resources, Inc. to complete the project in 20 weeks.