Skender Starts Phase II of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Nourish Project

The second phase of the food bank’s expansion project will help to address the root causes of hunger across Chicago and Cook County

Skender has started construction on a 37,000-square-foot expansion of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a food bank on Chicago’s Southwest side that provides food for families and individuals at risk of food insecurity while advancing a mission to end hunger. The new structure at 4100 W Ann Lurie Place will add onto the food bank’s existing two-story warehouse and office.

To aid in the Food Depository’s goal to produce and distribute 2.5 million prepared meals annually to community members, Phase II of the Nourish Project will expand the light industrial facility to include a commercial kitchen for meal preparation and packaging, and a demonstration kitchen for nutrition education. The project also includes 11.5 acres of site work with parking for volunteers, guests and fleet, as well as space for growing fresh produce in the future.

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository is excited to move forward with Skender on this transformational project,” said Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Food Depository. “This expansion of our facility will directly result in more healthy prepared meals for our neighbors at increased risk of hunger, including older adults, people with disabilities, individuals with medical conditions, and other households. We look forward to the day the first meals are produced in our new commercial kitchen and delivered to households across our community. This is a vital step in our mission to end hunger.”

The Food Depository completed Phase I of the Nourish Project in 2019, which expanded cold storage, upgraded the existing warehouse, and created new and renovated spaces for their volunteer program. The first phase renovations have been essential throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as demand for food assistance soared to record levels.

As the need for prepared meals is projected to increase dramatically, Phase II will allow the Food Depository to reach target populations who have experienced unique barriers to food access during the pandemic, now and in the future. The new phase will also include a community partnership strategy that aims to increase the total number of healthy meals distributed by purchasing meals from local minority and women-owned businesses and community organizations.

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository has been a beacon of hope since its founding more than 40 years ago,” said Justin Brown, President & CEO, Skender. “This expansion will enable the organization to provide 10,000 healthy meals every day while serving as a catalyst for economic impact through essential partnerships with women- and minority-owned businesses. It’s an honor to serve as general contractor on a project that will positively impact the lives of so many in our community.”

The Nourish Project is driven by a $75 million capital campaign. Phase II of the project is expected to reach completion in early 2024. Partners by Design is the project architect.

To learn more about the Nourish Project, visit: https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/get-involved/give/nourish/

Skender Gives Back in 2022 with Volunteering and Charitable Contributions to Education, Health and Affordable Housing

Skender, a building contractor with a long history of giving back to the community, continued its philanthropic legacy in 2022 by supporting dozens of non-profit organizations through volunteering, charitable giving and civic participation.

“Doing good and giving back matters deeply to our team,” said Justin Brown, President & CEO at Skender. “We are driven to make real change through our ongoing community-building and philanthropic initiatives, and it’s incredibly gratifying to see the positive impact that our contributions can have on those in need.”

Recognizing its responsibility to the world and striving to build a legacy of integrity, Skender focuses its philanthropic efforts on four pillars of social responsibility: People, communities, business and clients, and the environment. Skender concentrates much of its charitable giving on supporting education, health and affordable housing initiatives. Since 2010, Skender has donated nearly $8 million to 300-plus nonprofit organizations.

Skender’s 2022 philanthropic highlights include:

Habitat for Humanity: As part of Habitat for Humanity Chicago’s Women Build program, Skender raised more than $30,000 for the global nonprofit housing organization. Skender team members volunteered at multiple Habitat for Humanity build days throughout the Chicagoland area, helping to build homes for families in need of affordable housing. In 2022, Skender’s Ashlee Pforr was named to Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors.

ACE Mentor Chicago: In 2022, Skender launched a scholarship program in partnership with ACE Mentor Chicago, a non-profit focused on introducing high school students to the fields of architecture, engineering and construction. The $10,000 scholarship supports the next generation of rising industry professionals. Skender’s inaugural scholarship recipient was Alondra Santos, a senior at the University of Illinois Chicago who is majoring in civil engineering. In addition to the scholarship, Skender’s Brian Bukowski served on ACE’s Fundraising Host Committee.

City of Hope: Skender’s Dan Ulbricht and his band, the Square Feets, performed at the 25th Anniversary REACH Social to raise money for the treatment of cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Dan, a guitarist and vocalist, started performing at charitable fundraisers 20 years ago, and since then has helped bring the industry together to raise millions for City of Hope, Alzheimer’s Association, Music Will, Federation of Women Contractors, and many more.

National Alliance on Mental Illinois (NAMI) Chicago: After five hours of competitive bracket play, Skender won Bisnow’s 3×3 charity basketball tournament, resulting in $35,000 in winnings going to the NAMI’s Chicago Office, one of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organizations dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Genesys Works: For the fifth consecutive year, Skender partnered with nonprofit Genesys Works to provide pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities.

Almost Home Kids: Traditions are a meaningful part of the culture at Skender and each year our employees—er, elves—work with Almost Home Kids to buy wish-list gifts and spread holiday joy to families and children dealing with medical complexities.

Skender is shaped by progressive philanthropy, a focus on people and vibrant community-building initiatives. Our history of compassion includes charitable contributions to these 300-plus organizations.

 

Skender Completes Construction of Mixed-Use Development Connecting Housing and Healthcare in Lansing, Illinois

The Joint Venture with Ashlaur Construction Brings Accessible Housing and Healthcare for Veterans and People with Disabilities

Skender, in conjunction with joint venture partner Ashlaur Construction, recently completed the new construction of Torrence Place, a three-story, mixed-use affordable housing and health clinic development at 2320 Thornton-Lansing Road in Lansing, Ill. Developed by Full Circle Communities, this project provides 48 accessible and adaptable units with a focus on veterans and people with disabilities. The finished building includes a 3,600-square-foot health clinic and pharmacy on the ground floor operated by Christian Community Health Center.

Additional resident amenities include a community lounge and patio, a library, a computer lab, on-site laundry, storage lockers, a fitness center and on-site supportive services. The earth-toned exterior and timber frame structure underscore the building’s quality and sustainability. Torrence Place is certified as an Enterprise Green Communities Building for its high sustainable standards and intent to reduce environmental impact and improve resident health. The building features eco-friendly paint, coatings, plumbing fixtures, lighting, heating equipment and appliances.

“When you put together a team with a common mission to strengthen the community, the results speak for themselves,” said Joe Pecoraro, Project Executive at Skender. “The addition of a health clinic added an extra layer of purpose that heightened our passion for this project. We built more than a housing development; we built a sense of belonging, wellness and comfort.”

The project team included Full Circle Communities, Christian Community Health Center, Skender, Ashlaur Construction, architect Cordogan, Clark & Associates and CAGE Civil Engineering. Torrence Place opened its doors to residents in late October 2022.

Five Skender Projects Earn “Coolest Office” Recognition by Crain’s Chicago Business

This week, Crain’s Chicago Business announced its selection of the coolest offices and coolest singular features that stand out from other workplaces. Five Skender projects earned recognition.

Coolest Offices: TrueBlue
TrueBlue’s 80,000-square-foot headquarters was built out in the redeveloped Old Post Office. The office’s coolest feature, according to Crain’s, is a massive ceiling installation, or architectural cloud, which doubles as a sound dampener and defining focal point. Other highlighted attributes include the lobby’s “unmistakably laid-back vibe with its cognac-colored leather chairs and floor-to-ceiling steel frame panels,” as well as brick, wood, leather and steel features throughout.

Best Staircase: CCC Intelligent Solutions
CCC Intelligent Solutions’ radiused staircase is a stunning centerpiece in their new headquarters at 167 N Green Street in the Fulton Market neighborhood. The distinctive stairs connect the ninth and eighth floors of the 140,000-square-foot workspace, which was designed and built to support the company’s growth and innovative culture.

Best Rooftop Space: Hazel Technologies
Hazel Technologies was one of the first tenants to move into 320 N. Sangamon Street, a new 13-story office building in Fulton Market with impressive rooftop views. The two-story, 54,000-square-foot lab and office build-out was one of Chicago’s first office-to-lab conversions with several infrastructure customizations, specialty equipment and finishes.

Best Custom Mural: Stream Realty Partners
Stream Realty’s mural is a kaleidoscope of patterns, hand-painted by Chicago artist Kate Lewis.

Best Game Room: iManage
iManage’s game room features board games, video games, pingpong and countertop taps. “The geometric lights on the slatted ceiling add a playful touch” to this fun, collaborative work environment.

“The personality of our clients shines through their workspaces,” said Andy Halik, Vice President, Skender. “We’re grateful for the work, the partnerships, the recognition and all the hard work that made these offices remarkable.” Click here for the full list by Crain’s Chicago Business.

 

 

Association of Medical Facility Professionals Panel Featuring Skender’s Jason Utah Digs Into Life Sciences Building Design and Construction

Co-working is no longer just for office workers; shared offices and laboratories have come to the life sciences industry. On October 5, 2022, The Association of Medical Facility Professionals (AMFP) hosted a panel discussion and tour of 2430 N. Halsted, Sterling Bay’s redeveloped life sciences building in Lincoln Park. The 5-story building is currently home to biotech companies, such as Evozyne and Exicure, and will be the future home of BioLabs for shared laboratory spaces and other tenants looking for state-of-the-art lab space.

Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the 125,000-square-foot building was formerly owned by Lurie Children’s Hospital and was redeveloped in 2019 to accommodate a variety of life sciences tenants. In collaboration with Sterling Bay, CannonDesign and CBRE, Skender served as construction manager on the build-out of the building’s first lab tenants – 28,000 square feet for Exicure (clinical-stage biotech and DNA testing lab and office) and 28,000 square feet for Evozyne (molecular engineering lab and office). Now, Skender is building out the second floor for BioLabs, a co-working space for life science startups that provides young companies with the space to test, develop and grow their game-changing ideas. Once complete, this space will be BioLab’s first Midwest location in the country.

The AMFP panel, called Life Sciences: Real Estate, Design & Construction, was held in the BioLabs space and included speakers Jason Utah, Senior Project Manager at Skender; Gary Owens, VP of Operations for BioLabs; Patrick Dempsey, Senior Vice President at CannonDesign and Dr. Suzet McKinney, Principal and Director of Sterling Bay’s Life Sciences Division, who served as moderator.

To open the conversation, Dr. McKinney asked the panelists to explain some of the challenges their teams faced with converting 2430 N. Halsted from a single occupancy building into a multi-tenant building. Mr. Dempsey explained that the building had initially been built in two phases – one side in the 1990s, and the other in the early 2000s.

As a result, Mr. Utah said his team at Skender took great pains to ensure a seamless flow was created between the two sides. The north side of the building was quite antiquated, and many updates needed to be made in terms of ventilation and equipment. However, all the panelists agreed that converting a single tenant building that was already being used for life sciences was a much simpler process than converting a traditional office building into lab space.

“This was a ready-to-go, proven building that had been operating as a lab for 30+ years,” said Mr. Utah. “It already had the necessary mechanical equipment, a back-of-building elevator for getting materials upstairs, and a storage space for chemicals and gas tanks on the first floor, which is something that not many office buildings have.”

One of the biggest conversion challenges was creating brand new common areas—such as a welcoming entryway—reservable huddle and meeting rooms, and a large conference area, which is critical for tenants who are going to be using every square foot of their space for labs.

“Amenities are extremely important when courting young entrepreneurs and startup CEOs,” said Mr. Owens. “Especially after two years of a pandemic, you need to find ways to pull people from their homes.”

Additionally, Mr. Owens noted that BioLabs tenants – who all go through an intensive vetting process prior to being admitted into the space – are going to be looking to this building to show potential investors and employees that they are a valid company who can afford space in a beautiful, amenity rich building.

Dr. McKinney then asked the panelists for their thoughts on Chicago’s emerging life sciences market. They discussed the differences between the life sciences hubs in Cambridge and the West Coast, noting that Chicago is unique in that it has several different hubs throughout the city – in Lincoln Park, Fulton Market, and eventually, Lincoln Yards.

“I like that it’s spread out, because it adds diversity to the industry,” said Mr. Owens. “Historically, young life sciences entrepreneurs in Chicago had to leave for the coasts in order to get off the ground, but if we invest in life sciences here, we can create the kinds of resources and amenities these young companies need to grow.”

The panel wrapped up with an audience Q&A, in which the panelists discussed the challenges of completing the conversion during the pandemic. They also discussed the environmental sustainability of the building – which likely would have been torn down if it wasn’t able to be leased as a life sciences space, and the partnerships that will enable BioLabs to provide lab tenants with top-of-the-line equipment.

Post-panel, the crowd was able to take a walking tour of the entire building, including the BioLabs space which is expected to be completed by March 2023.

Skender’s Joe Pecoraro discusses multifamily building trends at Bisnow conference

On October 6, 2022, Skender Project Executive Joe Pecoraro was invited to speak on a panel at the Bisnow Multifamily Annual Conference (BMAC), which brought together leaders from across the commercial real estate industry to discuss the current state of the multifamily market in the greater Chicagoland area. Held at the stately Loews Chicago Hotel off Navy Pier, the conference featured discussions on new technology and innovation, design trends, financing options and the challenges of construction in the current economic and international environment.

Pecoraro was featured as a participant on a panel called ‘Forward Thinking Development, Design & Construction,’ which focused on how top firms are building, designing and delivering product in the different regions of the Chicagoland area post-COVID.

The panel was moderated by Thomas Roszak of Thomas Roszak Architecture and, in addition to Pecoraro, included panelists such as: James Letchinger, Founder and CEO of JDL; Phillip Beckham III, Principal at P3 Markets; Aaron Galvin, CEO of Luxury Living Chicago Realty; Jeffrey Zogby, Vice President, Chicago at Project Management Advisors; and John Lynch, Executive Director at Oak Park Economic Development.

The conversation began with a lightning round, in which each panelist described their role at their respective companies and the multifamily amenity they are most excited about. While the other panelists mentioned features like indoor-outdoor facilities, public transit access and communal space, Pecoraro declared his favorite multifamily amenity to be “a great construction budget,” which got more than a few hearty chuckles from the crowd in the Loews ballroom.

Next up, the panel discussed the Chicagoland neighborhoods where they’re seeing the most activity and opportunity for future projects. Several panelists pointed to the Fulton Market and West Loop area, which has seen tremendous growth over the last few years and is in many ways the current “favorite child” when it comes to real estate development in the city.

“There are about 25,000 units in the later stages of development in downtown Chicago,” said Aaron Galvin of Luxury Living Chicago Realty. “12,000 of those are in the West Loop or Fulton Market area, and that doesn’t even include some of the most recent announcements that are just now being conceptualized.”

The group examined how the West Loop’s recent boom in multifamily construction was made possible because of the area’s previous growth in office and retail. As a result, rents in the area have gone up considerably, and these are only going to get higher as taller buildings in the neighborhood are erected and can offer view premiums. Other areas noted by the panel as prime for expansion were the Southside Chicago neighborhood Bronzeville, the River North, Gold Coast and Old Town markets, and the northern suburbs of Elmhurst, Skokie and Wilmette.

While rents and wages are still on a healthy incline, moderator Thomas Roszak noted that many of the challenges felt by CRE professionals over the course of the pandemic remain, which Pecoraro agreed with from a construction standpoint.

Pecoraro said his team at Skender used to make two to three phone calls and one site visit to make sure long-lead-time materials arrived on time, but that same process can now take 10 or more phone calls and multiple site visits, as supply chain issues and material costs have driven up lead times for essential materials. Beckham and Galvin agreed, pointing specifically to glass as a material that’s seen some major hold-ups on an international scale.

While there are certainly roadblocks on the horizon in the form of supply chain issues, rate hikes and worker shortages, the panel ended with optimism about the future of Chicago’s real estate market.

“Ultimately, Chicago is a great city,” said Galvin. “There’s a lot of growth here in terms of jobs, and no city has had more Millennial growth since 2010. I expect this will continue with Gen Z down the line.”

Skender Completes Construction of 345 N Morgan, a New Office and Retail Development by Sterling Bay

Lifestyle Workforce Design Drives the Development to 85% Pre-Leased

Skender today announced the completion of the new 200,000-square-foot boutique office and retail building located at 345 N. Morgan in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood. Skender acted as general contractor in the construction of the new building, which was developed by Sterling Bay. The building was intentionally designed for a lifestyle work environment with amenities and workspaces built for flexibility. The building is already 85% leased with tenants expected to start occupying in March 2023.

New tenants of 345 N Morgan can completely customize their workplace experience and inspire a dynamic, modern workforce. The amenity-rich building includes private outdoor terraces on each floor, a 5,000-square-foot roof deck with sweeping views of the Chicago skyline, a conservatory bar and lounge with a double-sided fireplace, a full-service fitness center, a coworking library and several high-tech conference spaces to meet the evolving needs of an increasingly virtual workforce.

Designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, 345 N Morgan offers timeless style, unbounded potential and an environmentally friendly design. The building is seeking LEED certification, and its floor-to-ceiling windows will provide tenants with abundant natural lighting and views of one of the city’s most vibrant and dynamic areas. The design aesthetic also includes arched windows and welded metal accents as a tasteful nod to the neighborhood’s manufacturing past.

“The Skender team was proud to work with Sterling Bay, JLL Construction and Eckenhoff Saunders Architects on this beautiful building,” said Justin Brown, President & CEO, Skender. “So much hard work, effort and collaborative communication went into the completion of this project, and we are excited for this new Fulton Market cornerstone to become a home away from home for all the tenants who will soon be moving in and making the space their own.”

The building was swiftly completed in just 13 months. “Our aggressive schedule, especially through global supply shortages, was possible thanks to a decisive owner, high-performing project team, amazing trade partners and persistent communication,” said Marty Barrett, Senior Project Manager, Skender.

Skender is also building out five floors of tenant interiors at the property, including four floors for supply chain management firm HAVI Group and one floor for office furniture designer/manufacturer Allsteel.

To learn more about 345 N Morgan, visit: https://sterlingbay.com/properties/345-north-morgan/

Skender Completes Redevelopment of 93-Year-Old Historic Property in Maywood

The 100-Unit Maywood Supportive Living Project Provides Affordable Housing for Low-income Seniors

Skender today announced the completion of its latest adaptive re-use project, Maywood Supportive Living, a 133,000-square-foot all-inclusive assisted living facility for low-income seniors located at 316 Randolph St. in Maywood, Illinois. To create the 100-unit supportive care center, developer Celadon Partners hired Skender as general contractor to transform the former Central Baptist Home, which has been on the State of Illinois’ National Register of Historic Places since 2017.

Over the course of construction, Skender stripped the historic building down to its structure to add modern amenities while taking great care to preserve and restore its natural architectural detail. Built in several different phases between 1929 and 1965, the building features a unique mix of Tudor-Revival and modernist styles. Skender’s restoration process included refurbishing the wood trim, stucco and brick facades to their former glory, installing new windows, revamping the first-floor lobby to highlight the original terrazzo floors, replacing the roof, restoring the commercial kitchen and dining area and converting 100 rooms into supportive living units, complete with kitchenettes.

“Skender is a true strategic partner, a problem solver and exactly the collaborator we needed to take on a complex redevelopment project like this,” said Scott Henry, Principal, Celadon Partners. “With their team’s depth of experience and out-of-the-box thinking, they proactively brought solutions that positively impacted the team, the project and the community.”

Residents of Maywood Supportive Living can enjoy a wide variety of supportive services and amenities designed to promote personal comfort and peace of mind. The restored building features an in-house beauty salon, a wellness clinic, a laundry room, a general store, a recreation area and lots of lounge areas where inhabitants can relax and socialize with one another. As a supportive living facility, Maywood is an affordable community for older adults living independently who may need financial assistance and on-site nursing support services.

“It’s been a great collaboration with Celadon and an exciting journey to watch our high-performing team breathe new life into such a grand, historic and distinctive space,” said Afshan Barshan, Senior Vice President at Skender. “We are thrilled to see residents begin to move in and enjoy all the amenities.”

In addition to managing the construction, Skender provided design-build mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services on this project. Design was provided by Gleason Architects. Financing was arranged by NDC Corporate Equity Fund, KeyBank, US Bank, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The redevelopment process began in June 2021 and took just 14 months to completion. Residents began moving into Maywood Supportive Living August 31, 2022.

 

Skender’s Jason Utah shares challenges and triumphs of life sciences construction at Bisnow Conference

Bisnow hosted its Chicago Healthcare and Life Sciences Real Estate Conference on August 11, 2022, at the Illinois Science + Technology Park in Skokie, IL. The standing-room-only crowd listened to three different panels of experts focused on Chicago’s evolution as a life sciences hub. The panelists agreed that there is staggering demand for this specialized real estate and the City of Chicago needs to invest heavily in innovation to attract companies to Chicago (and keep them from leaving).

Jason Utah, Senior Project Manager at Skender, was a participant on the “Strategic Lab Design and Construction” panel, which included speakers with diverse backgrounds in engineering, technology, real estate consulting and brokerage, building controls and construction. Carl Wolf, COO of LanzaTech, offered the end user’s perspective. Mr. Wolf spoke of how important flexibility was in the design of his company’s space at Illinois Science + Technology Park, a key factor in their ability to grow at their own pace.

Jason agreed, and indicated how important it is to collaborate with all disciplines as early as possible in the process to build that flexibility in. But he also stated that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for developers looking to build new spec lab space.

“Different biomedical companies operate differently depending on the science conducted in their space, and if they are using wet labs or dry labs,” he said. “Flexibility is key, but it’s not always possible to make that same flexibility translate from tenant to tenant.”

The panel transitioned to discuss conversions from traditional office use to lab and R&D. JLL’s Scott Brandwein mentioned the difficulty of these conversions due to certain things that can’t be changed—even with an endless flow of capital— such as loading docks and the need for first-floor chemical storage.

Jason mentioned Skender’s Hazel Technologies project, which was a complex two-story, 54,000-square-foot conversion for a USDA-funded technology company developing solutions to extend the shelf life of fresh produce.

“There were challenges on this project, for sure,” he indicated. “Hazel wanted their own space in Fulton Market that demonstrated their culture, but they also needed it fast to accommodate their growth. We had to figure out how to make the existing infrastructure of a Fulton Market office building manage all of the lab equipment and technology. A generator took over a parking space, and a restaurant was eliminated so its shafts could be used for Hazel’s air handling and exhaust. The project was really successful, but conversion might not be the right fit if you need speed-to-market,” he added.

The conversation shifted away from conversion vs. purpose-built projects to flexible working in the life sciences sector. Jason mentioned BioLabs, a co-working provider, and its 30,000-square-foot location at 2430 N. Halsted Street in Chicago. Skender is managing the interior construction on the project. “This ‘WeWork’ concept that is available in Chicago is having a big effect on attracting young talent. Start-ups normally looking at the East and West Coasts are now looking here,” he said.

Generally, the panelists were bullish on Chicago’s future in life sciences and feel that the sprawl of new development or conversions to different parts of the city is a really positive thing compared to very concentrated clusters you see in markets like Boston. Partnerships between the City of Chicago, research hospitals and universities and developers will be critical as we to try to attract more talent and innovation to this great city.

Skender Breaks Ground on 741 North Wells, a 201,000-SF Multifamily Rental and Retail Tower in River North

Developer VISTA Property and its general contractor, Skender, broke ground today on 741 N Wells Street, a new mixed-use multifamily rental building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Designed by Antunovich Associates, the 21-story, 201,000-square-foot development will include 168 apartment units, communal tenant amenities and an elegant building lobby. Located prominently at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Wells Street, 741 N Wells is one of the latest new developments going up in River North.

“River North is booming. People want to live and work in dynamic live-work-play neighborhoods that form the heart of downtown Chicago,” said Ark Latt, Chief Development Officer, VISTA Property. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Ald. Brian Hopkins and the entire 2nd Ward to contribute a real estate asset that supports and enhances a strong community.”

The multifamily building will include 50 studios, 101 one-bedrooms and 17 two-bedrooms, as well as a rooftop terrace with pool, meeting facilities, exercise area, bicycle storage and parking for roughly 50 vehicles. The building will include expansive floor-to-ceiling windows on all facades, along with exceptional 9-foot ceiling heights offering unique views for all residents.

“I am incredibly proud of our team and the hard work that has gone into planning and coordinating this project before any shovels hit the ground,” said Justin Brown, President & CEO, Skender. “We’re thrilled to be working with VISTA Property and Antunovich again. This is going to be another impressive building for the neighborhood.”

VISTA Property financed the project with a first mortgage loan from Huntington Bank, and has also engaged Luxury Living Chicago Realty, downtown Chicago’s premier marketing, consulting and residential leasing brokerage firm.

“We are excited to help execute VISTA Property’s first large-scale multifamily property in Chicago,” said Aaron Galvin, CEO of Luxury Living. “Having collaborated with VISTA, Antunovich and Skender throughout the development process, we are confident this property will set a new standard for boutique luxury rentals in River North.”

The team of VISTA Property (developer), Skender (general contractor) and Antunovich Associates (architects) recently completed 609 W. Randolph, a 15-story boutique Class A commercial office building serving as a gateway to Fulton Market.

Skender Wins Bisnow’s Inaugural Tournament of Champions 3-on-3 Charity Basketball Competition

After five hours of competitive bracket play, Skender earned the top spot at Bisnow’s first annual Tournament of Champions 3-on-3 charity basketball competition. Skender’s team went undefeated with $35,000 in winnings going to the team’s chosen charity, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago. Ticket proceeds were donated to C.H.A.M.P.S. Male Mentoring Program. The tournament was played on the penthouse basketball court at 167 Green Street in Fulton Market.

Skender Wins 2022 General Contractor of the Year Award

Skender was named the General Contractor of the Year (Office) at the 2022 Illinois Commercial Real Estate Awards, hosted by REjournals on July 13. Nearly 1,000 industry professionals attended the award ceremony. Skender’s workforce diversity, industry expertise, and achievements in new construction and interiors during the calendar year 2021 were recognized.

In January 2021, Skender broke ground on 609 W. Randolph, a 15-story office building in the West Loop for Vista Property. Designed for health and sustainability, the property is built for WELL and LEED certifications.

In February, Skender completed 200,000 SF of interior construction for Walgreens in the Old Post Office. Skender has led more than 600,000 SF of interior construction in this historic redevelopment.

In March, Skender collaborated with developer Fulton St. Companies and tenant Herman Miller to complete 1100 W. Fulton, a five-story, 45,000-SF office and retail redevelopment that included significant historical masonry preservation. Skender delivered a custom Fulton Market office building in just 12 months, under budget.

Also in March, Skender completed the 536,000-SF Bank of America office buildout at 110 N. Wacker. The 17-story project was one of the largest interior projects in recent Chicago history.

In June, Skender began the historic redevelopment of Maywood Supportive Living, a five-story, 133,000-SF project at 316 Randolph Street in Maywood.  The existing building—built in two phases beginning in 1929— has long sat vacant. With architectural details intact, the redevelopment will provide 100 units of affordable, supportive living housing with substantial in-house healthcare and nursing amenities.

In August, Skender broke ground on 345 N. Morgan, a 200,000-SF office and retail building for Sterling Bay in Fulton Market. The project will include private outdoor terraces, a 5,000-SF roof deck, a coworking library and a conservatory lounge.

Skender’s 2021 projects included life science and lab construction. In November, Skender started on the 54,000-SF office-to-lab conversion at 320 N. Sangamon in Fulton Market.

In addition to this General Contractor of the Year (Office) honor, Skender recently won Interior Contractor of the Year (Owner Projects) at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Commercial Real Estate Awards.

Skender Announces Management Promotions

Today, Skender announced management promotions for six rising leaders at the Chicago-based commercial construction firm. Skender would like to congratulate the following on their recent promotions:

Marty Barrett, Senior Project Manager. Marty joined Skender in 2017 and has 12 years of experience in the construction industry. Marty has worked on over 2.5 million square feet of projects throughout his career, including some of Chicago’s most notable healthcare and commercial projects. He earned a degree in civil engineering from Marquette University.

Tony Scott, Senior Project Manager. Tony joined Skender in 2015 and has nine years of experience managing day-to-day activity of interior construction projects throughout Chicagoland. Tony has been involved in more than 1 million square feet of projects. He earned a degree in building construction technology from Purdue University.

Kelly Allen, Project Manager. Kelly joined Skender in 2020 and has seven years of experience in the construction industry. An integral part of her project teams, Kelly is currently dedicated to a high-profile, 485,000-square-foot interior construction project in Chicago. She earned a degree in civil and environmental engineering from Villanova University.

Jack Bauschelt, Project Manager. Jack joined Skender in 2017 and has eight years of experience in the construction industry. Recently, Jack has been a key part of Skender’s Indianapolis team, working closely on projects for Indiana University Health, such as the new regional academic health center in Bloomington and the Capitol View medical office building in downtown Indianapolis. He earned a degree in business administration and management from Purdue University.

Zuli Cortes, Project Manager. Zuli joined Skender in 2019 and has 11 years of interior construction experience. Most recently, Zuli was part of the teams that delivered a 32,000-square-foot renovation for a Chicago-based law firm, and new amenity space at 225 W Wacker. He earned a degree in construction engineering and management from Marquette University.

Colleen O’Brien, People & Culture Manager. Colleen joined Skender in 2013 and has advanced through several project- and people-oriented roles. She is instrumental in many Skender programs such as internships, talent acquisition, process automation, Lean Coffee, and high-performing teams training. She earned degrees in communications and psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago.

“These are collaborative and hardworking leaders who guide our high-performing teams to deliver quality and value-driven projects for our clients,” said Lisa Latronico, Vice President of People & Culture, Skender. “We congratulate Marty, Tony, Kelly, Jack, Zuli and Colleen for their exceptional work as we strive to deliver the premier construction experience.”

Skender Launches Scholarship, Recognizes First Recipient

We proudly introduce our first-ever ACE+Skender scholarship recipient, Alondra. She is a rising senior at the University of Illinois Chicago, majoring in civil engineering and helping pave the way for more women seeking careers in architecture, construction and engineering.

Skender partnered with ACE Mentor Chicago to offer an annual $10,000 scholarship to support the next generation of rising industry professionals and align with our ongoing efforts to attract more women to construction. Three cheers for Alondra!

Crain’s Chicago Business: Roundtable on Life Sciences

With thriving neighborhoods and more affordable real estate, Chicago is emerging as a life sciences hub.

Investment in life sciences was at an all-time high in 2021. As a result, demand is quickly growing for research and development space in Chicago which is emerging as a major life sciences market. Three experts in commercial real estate development, design and construction, shared their insights with Crain’s Content Studio on the trends that are shaping the future of life sciences in Chicago.

Life sciences companies are rapidly evolving, and they need spaces that can accommodate that. What factors most influence the commercial real estate, design and construction decisions companies face?

Andy Halik: Labs typically need more technically sophisticated structures with more complex mechanical systems—particularly power and HVAC—than a typical office building. Structurally, they’ll need more risers and shafts; the good news is, if the building doesn’t have these structural needs, they can usually be installed to accommodate the lab-specific needs. Access to adequate power is critical. Life sciences tenants use an average of seven times more electricity than office tenants, because their lab and systems like HVAC, exhaust and electrical load systems need more finely tuned environments.

Suzet McKinney: To meet the evolving needs of life sciences tenants, real estate developers serving the sector must broaden their vision beyond merely functional, purpose-built laboratory facilities of decades past. That journey begins with a collaborative relationship between the developer and the life sciences tenant to ensure an adequate understanding of the needs of life sciences companies, not just for their current business needs, but also for their growth needs as well. Some of the unique building needs for life sciences companies include a flexible lab footprint and space design to accommodate workflow, efficiency, size of equipment, and traffic flow throughout the lab, as well as proximity between labs and offices. Human-centered architecture and amenities are important because, at the end of the day, buildings and laboratories don’t make scientific breakthroughs–scientists do. By creating lab environments where research and the exchange of ideas is easy, enjoyable and seamless, we increase occupant satisfaction and set the stage for innovation.

Brett Taylor: Fundamentally, there are a few building requirements that are unique to life science tenants to accommodate their lab needs. The structural grid for a lab building consists of 11-foot modules, a time-tested and universal approach that takes lab bench width and other attributes into account. Floor-to-floor height is 1-1.5 feet higher than a typical office building to accommodate additional building service requirements. Additionally, some lab tenants may install sensitive equipment that require low building vibration, therefore the structural system may need to be modified to accommodate those specific requirements. Collaboration space is critical. As such, lab buildings typically have higher collaboration / amenity ratios than typical spec offices, especially multi-purpose areas that are often used for hosting lectures and other industry presentations.

What factors are driving the industry’s interest in Chicago?

McKinney: Most of the key demand drivers that make for a successful life sciences market already exist in Chicago. Namely, top-tier research universities and healthcare institutions, STEM talent, National Institutes of Health funding and venture capital funding. However, Chicago has never had sufficient lab space to keep entrepreneurs and their companies here. At Sterling Bay, we’ve recognized the damage this exodus has done to our economy for decades. We think by providing quality lab spaces and full life sciences ecosystems, we can stop the bleeding to the coasts and the departure of talented scientists and entrepreneurs that come out of the universities here. Our government has awakened to this fact as well. We now have a more cohesive effort that is centered around the goal of growing Chicago’s life sciences ecosystem and raising the city as a major life sciences market.

Halik: There are two main factors driving this industry’s growth. One is an increase in Chicago-area universities and local incubators developing young talent and providing them with pathways and resources to start companies. The idea of setting down roots in Chicago is appealing to this talent pool. The second main factor is the pandemic-related needs for more life sciences research. Both factors are resulting in demand for more specialized lab space in Chicago. Higher vacancy rates in traditional office space have also caused many building owners to consider converting office space to lab space.

Taylor: There’s a desire to invest in Chicago for lab space because it is an emerging market compared to coastal cities where the industry is more established. At the same time, many adjacent industries, including tech, education and health have large presences in Chicago. The talent and important points of connection are already here. There are opportunities to build synergy with nearby universities and hospitals, and that creates huge benefits. We’re seeing life sciences buildings being designed for various users who require a mix of dry labs, wet labs and office space. These new buildings are dynamic enough to accept a variety of users, which is another reason why the Chicago market is so desirable. Many life sciences companies are used to having to adapt an existing building to a lab use rather than working with a developer who can accommodate their specific needs.

The full Q&A continues at Crain’s Chicago Business.

Skender Nearing Completion of Renovation and Expansion at Indiana University Health West Hospital Clinics

Skender, serving as construction manager, is advancing on the renovation of Indiana University Health (IU Health) West Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic and expansion for its Infusion Clinic at 1111 Ronald Reagan Parkway in Avon, Indiana, a near-west suburb of Indianapolis. Employees of IU Health West Hospital recently participated in a ceremonial wall signing to celebrate the start of final construction stages.

The Outpatient Clinic was previously occupied by a third-party outpatient operator and IU Health is integrating it into their network. The Infusion Clinic project includes the renovation of an existing infusion clinic, adding new infusion bays, adding a compounding pharmacy and modernizing all finishes. By increasing the infusion bay capacity by 40%, the clinic will allow IU Health to continue serving patients requiring intravenous methods of receiving medicine. The compounding pharmacy will allow IU Health’s pharmacists to tailor medications to patients’ unique needs onsite.

Work on the clinic started mid-April. The Outpatient Clinic is scheduled to be open in July while the Infusion Clinic will be ready for operations in August, with the compounding pharmacy active later in the fall. Skender is collaborating with architect ArcDesign, interior designer Four Point Design and MEP engineer BSA LifeStructures.

Skender Completes Interior Office Renovation for Law Firm Ice Miller in Chicago’s Loop

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed the gut renovation for the Chicago office of law firm Ice Miller LLP. The newly renovated 34,000-square-foot office spans two floors in 200 W. Madison. The workspace features a monument staircase that connects the floors, demonstrates the collaborative nature of the firm and its new office, and serves as a gathering spot for employees.

Ice Miller’s modernized workspace focuses on accommodating the law firm’s growth with more open desks, offices and collaborative, small-group destinations throughout. The flexible workplace now includes a reception area that can open up to accommodate large gatherings and a café off the staircase connecting floors 35 and 36. Another modern feature of the new office is an open ceiling, which increases room height and spaciousness.

“When embarking on this overhaul of our office space, we wanted to plan for flexibility and growth, as well as create opportunities for our employees to naturally bump into each other, leading to collaboration that might not otherwise happen,” said John Burke, Office Managing Partner, Ice Miller. “Skender understood this goal and built our space to perfectly support our team.”

“Many law firms are building office spaces to cultivate a culture of equality and teamwork, and the physical space can certainly support these objectives,” said Mike Muehring, Senior Project Manager, Skender. “Our team has extensive experience with delivering workplaces with feature staircases, collaborative spaces and cafés that encourage team building, and we’re incredibly proud to have brought this kind of space to life for Ice Miller.”

Skender collaborated with architect NELSON Worldwide and engineer Kent Consulting Engineers (KCE) to complete Ice Miller’s office renovation.

Skender Completes Construction of Lab and Office for Hazel Technologies at 320 N. Sangamon in Chicago’s Fulton Market

Skender recently completed construction on the interior build-out of the two-story, 54,000-square-foot lab and office space for Hazel Technologies, a USDA-funded technology company developing solutions to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. Hazel is one of the first tenants to move into 320 N. Sangamon Street, the new 13-story Fulton Market office building developed by Tishman Speyer and Mark Goodman & Associates. Hazel selected space at 320 N. Sangamon, which was planned and built as an office building with ground-floor restaurant and retail, because of the location and building amenities, providing an opportunity to convert brand-new office space for lab usage.

As developers and building owners begin offering options in Chicago to convert office space into lab space for life sciences firms, Hazel’s move into 320 N. Sangamon represents one of the first completed conversions in the city. For many life sciences companies growing in Chicago, repurposing space for lab needs in an urban office building provides employees with an amenity-forward, accessible and turnkey experience.

“The new space gives Hazel Tech a phenomenal foundation for today and tomorrow’s innovative projects that will revolutionize the supply chain and drive a step-change in food waste reduction,” commented Adam Preslar, CTO and co-founder of Hazel Technologies. “We combine facilities for molecular biology, postharvest agronomy, biochemistry, and materials science into an integrated space for maximum cross-pollination between our top-tier scientific teams.”

Amidst the unprecedented supply chain crisis and ongoing volatility with building materials costs, this project required careful coordination to procure and install both standard construction materials as well as special lab equipment in time for move-in. Hazel’s lab space required several infrastructure customizations, such as new air handling, general exhaust and fume exhaust, new boilers, and uninterrupted power supply generators with capacity to manage all the lab equipment and technology. Specialty equipment and finishes include fume hoods, snorkel hoods, negatively pressured lab spaces, and acid- and solvent-resistant finishes.

“The ability to convert two floors of 320 N. Sangamon was the perfect solution for Hazel Technologies’ condensed schedule and complex technical needs. A truly creative approach was needed to make the conversion possible, and capitalizing on in-place restaurant infrastructure was a key differentiator,” said Jason Utah, Senior Project Manager, Skender. “Our team’s proactive planning and project management allowed us to overcome volatile lead time issues by employing early procurement packages for lab and mechanical equipment to deliver the labs and offices on time.”

Hazel is moving from its current location at University Technology Park at Illinois Tech in Bronzeville to accommodate its plans to double its local workforce to approximately 100 people in 2022. The build-out includes space for open research laboratory and lab support, as well as 10,000 square feet of administrative and office space and 5,000 square feet of collaboration space, including several sizes of meeting rooms, huddle rooms, and prep and tasting rooms.

Skender collaborated with developers Tishman Speyer and Mark Goodman & Associates, tenant representative CBRE, architect Perkins & Will and engineer Cosentini Associates on this project.

Skender Wins 2022 Interior Contractor of the Year Award

Last Thursday, May 19, Skender was named the 2022 Interior Contractor of the Year (Owner Projects) at the 34th Annual Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards.

The awards are considered the top honors in the Chicago commercial real estate industry and the dinner event is the largest annual fundraiser for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Skender was a finalist in three categories and its 2022 trophy made four Interior Contractor of the Year awards in the last eight years.

Among the Skender projects highlighting its landlord work was 43,000 square feet of spec suites in the Old Post Office. That project included 11 divisible office suites plus an accompanying amenity space with two conference rooms, a reading room and a library. The space featured unique historic touches, including mosaic tiles as well as salvaged doors from Old Post Office storage that were reworked and reinstalled along the corridor of the space.

In addition to the Chicago Real Estate Awards, Skender recently earned 2022 Interior Build-out of the Year by the Chicago Building Congress for its construction of Walgreens’ new tech hub office at the Old Post Office. Skender has built more than 600,000 square feet of workspace in the redeveloped Old Post Office at 433 West Van Buren.

 

Skender Completes Construction of Sloan’s New Showroom and Office in Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on the flagship showroom and office space for Sloan, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing systems.

Located at 333 N Green St in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, the project serves as Sloan’s largest showroom in North America. It features custom millwork, operable sliding glass doors and product displays showcasing Sloan’s touch-free, sustainable and aesthetic product offerings. The open office consists of Falkbuilt demountable partitions, which enclose perimeter private offices.

Skender collaborated with architect Lamar Johnson Collaborative, project manager CBRE, and engineer Syska Hennessy.

More project news and photos: Building Design & Construction

Skender Project Wins 2022 Interior Build-out Award

Walgreens’ new tech hub office at the Old Post Office Chicago recently won the 2022 Interior Build-out Award from the Chicago Building Congress. The project team included Skender as the general contractor; Mace as owner’s representatives; Stantec Inc. as architect and engineering firm; and the Walgreens construction and architecture departments.

The new Walgreens Technology Center of Excellence is 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 pandemic, is home to 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.

Click here to learn more about the project.

REBusiness: Skender Begins Structural Construction of 250,000 SF Medical Office Building for Indiana University Health

INDIANAPOLIS — Skender, working with Meyer Najem Construction, has begun structural construction of the new Indiana University Health (IU Health) Capitol View medical office building and parking garage in downtown Indianapolis. The project consists of a 250,000-square-foot medical office building and a 310,000-square-foot parking structure with 939 parking spaces. A pedestrian bridge connects the building to the parking structure.

The project has been under construction since November and is now entering the structural phase of construction. Structural construction refers to components of the building that are essential to its stability such as foundations, floors, walls or beams. Completion is slated for summer 2023. The project team includes architect atelierRISTING, civil engineer Circle Design and structural engineer Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve. The team is pursuing LEED Silver certification for the property.

Source: REBusinessOnline

Skender Begins Structural Construction for Indiana University Health Capitol View in Downtown Indianapolis

Skender, a leading construction firm based in Chicago and Indianapolis, announces its work with Meyer Najem Construction on the new Indiana University Health (IU Health) Capitol View medical office building and parking garage. IU Health is currently undergoing a major transformation and expansion within its downtown Indianapolis medical campus. The new facility is located on two city blocks bordered by Capitol Avenue on the west, Muskingum Street on the east, 14th Street on the south and 16th Street on the north.

The project consists of a new 250,000-square-foot medical office building (MOB) and 310,000-square-foot precast concrete parking structure that has 939 parking spaces, connected with a pedestrian bridge. The structural steel MOB will be finished with an appealing façade blend of curtain wall, metal panels, masonry and Indiana limestone. The project team is pursuing LEED Silver certification due to the property’s numerous sustainability features and high energy performance.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with IU Health to deliver the best healthcare experiences for patients in Indianapolis,” said Brian Simons, Vice President, Skender. “This urban infill site has been a topic of intense scrutiny for more than a decade, and now, the promise of revitalization to the surrounding neighborhood is a reality. The project requires skillful coordination with public transit and heavy urban traffic, and our entire construction delivery team is rising to the occasion to ensure streamlined project execution with minimal neighborhood disruption.”

The project has been under construction since November 2021 and is now beginning the structural phase of construction with anticipated delivery in summer 2023. Skender is on the core construction delivery team with contractor Meyer Najem, architect atelierRISTING, MEP and civil engineer Circle Design, structural engineer Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve (LHB), and a team of dedicated trade partners.

Skender Completes Construction of Milwaukee Tool’s Chicago Office in Historic Old Post Office

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on an engineering design and innovation space for leading jobsite solutions developer Milwaukee Tool in Chicago’s Old Post Office. The 70,000-square-foot space is located on the third floor of the south building and encompasses 10,000 square feet of research and development lab space and 60,000 square feet of open and private offices. The office space includes a large collaboration space called the Beehive, as well as a training room and multiple medium-sized conference rooms. The firm’s first engineering office outside of Wisconsin signifies its growth efforts to attract the top Midwestern technical talent.

The lab space provides room for the company’s engineers to develop innovative ways to solve problems that make the brand’s end users safer and more productive. It includes a sound-controlled testing room for use-cycle testing on batteries and power tools, as well as thermochambers for longevity and lifecycle testing. In such a historic building, the McGuire engineering team secured a variance request with the City of Chicago so Milwaukee Tool could house special pieces of equipment in the lab to give them the capabilities for this to be a state-of-the-art facility.

To meet Milwaukee Tool’s immediate space needs, Skender split the project into two separate permits to expedite the lab space for the team of engineers who needed access to the lab as soon as possible. The construction team was able to navigate through the ongoing supply chain crisis to deliver the entire space in 20 weeks – with an expedited turnover in 12 weeks for the lab space overlapping with the 16-week build-out for the office space.

“As Chicago’s lab sciences sector continues to expand, this project demonstrates the complexities in the sector and the required collaboration to bring them to life,” said Jacob Boyle, Senior Project Manager, Skender. “Our building team’s seamless coordination with Milwaukee Tool allowed us to deliver the space as quickly as they needed it.”

Skender collaborated with owner’s rep JLL, architects Nelson and SPS and engineering firm McGuire to build Milwaukee Tool’s Chicago headquarters. Skender has also entered into an official partnership with Milwaukee Tool to streamline access to its power tools and products on future projects in the midst of a supply chain pinch.

REJournals: Skender completes construction on Vista Property’s 609 W. Randolph, a next-generation office building

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on 609 W. Randolph, an innovative boutique office building in Chicago’s West Loop.

The 15-story building offers over 100,000 square feet of office space, as well as a tenant lounge, conference and meeting areas and a rooftop terrace on the top floor. The exterior building design combines the history of the neighborhood with an eye toward the area’s revival, featuring brick masonry as the primary finish around the whole building and a glass exterior on the east façade.

The penthouse lounge and terrace boast city and rivers views and provide a casual, nonrestrictive work environment for tenants to enjoy an alternative option for working, socializing or hosting clients. 609 W. Randolph includes other amenities such as the wellness studio, a 24-seat executive conference room, mixed-use communal space, secure bicycle parking, private shower rooms, and reservable meeting spaces.

As wellness has become a major focus for building owners and tenants alike, 609 W. Randolph is designed for health and sustainability, with WELL and LEED certifications and features including high-performance air filters, motion-sensor restroom fixtures, and touchless, automatic doors.

Skender and Vista Property collaborated with architects Antunovich Associates (base building) and Partners by Design (spec suites) as well as leasing broker CBRE.

Skender Named a Finalist for Three Prestigious Industry Awards

Skender is thrilled to be a finalist for three awards at this year’s Greater Chicago Food Depository Commercial Real Estate Awards — both Interior Contractor of the Year categories for owner projects and tenant projects as well as the Redevelopment of the Year category.

Skender delivered on its promise of incomparable results and maximum value across a broad range of interiors and new construction projects in 2021. During a period of continued uncertainty around pandemic and supply chain disruption, Skender continued to provide reliable, responsive and effective counsel to clients, including developers, owners and tenants across multiple sectors. The 1100 W Fulton project, up for Redevelopment of the Year, featured the best of all construction worlds — new construction, historic preservation and cutting-edge interiors. The collaboration with developer Fulton St. Companies and Herman Miller delivered a custom, five-story office and retail building ahead of schedule and under budget.

Every step of the building process is collaborative and we are grateful for all those who helped make our 2021 construction projects a reality.

Skender Completes Construction on Vista Property’s 609 W. Randolph, a Next-Generation Office Building

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on 609 W. Randolph, an innovative boutique office building in Chicago’s West Loop. The 15-story building offers over 100,000 square feet of office space, as well as a tenant lounge, conference and meeting areas and a rooftop terrace on the top floor. The exterior building design combines the history of the neighborhood with an eye toward the area’s revival, featuring brick masonry as the primary finish around the whole building and a glass exterior on the east façade.

The penthouse lounge and terrace boast city and river views and provide a casual, nonrestrictive work environment for tenants to enjoy an alternative option for working, socializing or hosting clients. 609 W. Randolph includes other amenities such as the wellness studio, a 24-seat executive conference room, mixed-use communal space, secure bicycle parking, private shower rooms, and flexible, reservable meeting spaces.

“609 W. Randolph is one of many buildings to come online in the West Loop lately, but its unique mix of historic design and future-focused amenities puts it above the rest,” said Alex Panici, Project Executive, Skender. “Our team is proud to deliver this one-of-a-kind office building to usher in a new era of the workplace.”

As wellness has become a major focus for building owners and tenants alike, 609 W. Randolph is designed for health and sustainability, with WELL and LEED certifications and features including high-performance air filters, motion-sensor restroom fixtures, and touchless, automatic doors.

“Skender was the ideal construction partner. It truly was a Class-A collaboration,” said Ark Latt, Chief Development Officer, Vista Property. “With top-notch amenities, an emphasis on wellness and an accessible, dynamic neighborhood, 609 W. Randolph is in an ideal, walkable spot for employees to live, work and play in the future of the city. This best-in-boutique-class office offers flexible and responsive workspaces, creating the office destination of choice.”

Skender and Vista Property collaborated with architects Antunovich Associates (base building) and Partners by Design (spec suites) as well as leasing broker CBRE.

Skender Completes Construction for Equity LifeStyle Properties

Skender recently completed the office interior build-out for Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) at 2 N. Riverside in Chicago’s West Loop Gate, along the Chicago River. This renovation updated ELS’ 65,000-square-foot office across two-and-a-half floors and added a new roof deck to deliver an enhanced workplace experience for its employees.

The renovated office space includes a mix of conference rooms, private offices, collaboration areas, as well as cafés and pantries. An interconnecting staircase connects the two main floors, and exposed ceilings lend an open office feel to the space. The new roof deck provides desirable outdoor space for employees to work or socialize during the day.

“Just as Equity LifeStyle Properties provides high-quality resorts and living communities for its clients and residents, they succeeded in applying the same pride in their assets and customer experience to their office space, which provides a collaborative state-of-the-art employee experience, modern design and an excess of natural light,” said Tony Scott, Project Manager, Skender. “Our team worked diligently to mitigate supply chain issues and delivered this office renovation with minimal timeline disruption.”

Skender collaborated with architect Partners by Design, MEP engineer McGuire Engineers, structural engineer Structural Shop, technology engineer Engineering Plus, broker and owner’s representative CBRE, and branded environment and signage designer Spark Chicago. Through this design collaboration, ELS not only tells their story but celebrates their values and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as sustainability.

“We are excited to announce that ELS has also achieved LEED Gold certified,” Scott said. “Working to pursue LEED was an important focus for the ELS team as LEED has a positive impact on each person, their individual environment, and our planet.”

Skender Hires Three Senior Professionals to Support Continued Growth

Skender, one of the nation’s top building contractors, announced the hiring of three industry veterans to support its continued growth: Eric Fiket, Jen Haub and Andy Reinhard. Skender welcomes them in the following roles: 

Eric Fiket, Senior Project Manager. Eric brings 16 years of industry experience and joins Skender from Linn-Mathes, following roles at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Eckenhoff Saunders Architects and FitzGerald Associates Architects. As senior project manager, he is responsible for planning and delivering new construction projects with Skender’s commercial projects team. Eric earned a degree in architectural studies from the University of Illinois Chicago.

Jen Haub, Assistant Controller. Jen brings 20 years of accounting experience and joins Skender from Pepper Construction, following roles at Ragnar Benson Construction and RSM McGladrey. In this role, she works with Skender’s finance and accounting team to maintain records, prepare financial reports, and ensure accuracy across accounts and projects. Jen earned a master’s degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Central College.

Andy Reinhard, Senior Estimator. Andy brings 17 years of industry experience and previously held estimating roles at Shawmut Design and Construction, and Leopardo Companies. As senior estimator on the commercial team, he guides new construction projects through the planning, design and execution phases, supporting project budgeting, bidding, scheduling, constructability, logistics and value analysis. Andy earned a degree in civil engineering and construction management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Our firm has been growing significantly over the past few months with exciting opportunities and projects across all markets,” said Justin Brown, President and CEO, Skender. “We’re excited to welcome Andy, Jen and Eric to team Skender as we remain laser-focused on providing an unrivaled building experience from preconstruction through construction and delivery.”

Skender Completes Construction of New Fulton Market Headquarters for CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc.

Skender recently completed the interior build-out of the new headquarters for CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc., a leading SaaS platform for the P&C insurance economy. Located at 167 N. Green Street in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood, the new headquarters was designed and built to support the tech leader’s growth and foster the company’s strong culture of innovation and collaboration.

The space includes a radiused stairwell, a stair opening and platform that connects the ninth-floor reception space to the eighth-floor town hall and customer experience area. On the eighth floor, an entry area allows visibility into a design center, providing a view into the technology that helps to power CCC’s advanced AI solutions, and open work areas lend a neighborhood vibe to the space, and private offices double as conference rooms when not in use.

CCC’s customer experience area features collaborative lounge space, breakout niches and booths, lit branding, and wood wall and ceiling coverings. This client-facing space also features branding components that were finished with specialty automotive paint as a nod to industries that CCC’s technology supports.

“Our team worked to create a space to serve as a design center for CCC reflective of its commitment to innovation, collaboration and culture,” said Tyler Knox, Project Manager, Skender. “That thoughtful work and careful coordination allow CCC to kick off the new year with a space ready to support world-class employee and customer experiences.”

Skender collaborated with architect Partners by Design, MEP/FP engineer Salas O’Brien, structural engineer Epstein, AV & technology designer Waveguide, branding designer Spark, and owner’s representative Cushman & Wakefield.

Could your building help meet soaring demand for lab space?

Lab sciences is one of the most talked-about sectors in real estate right now – but how can a traditional office building owner court these companies as tenants? By understanding what lab sciences leaders look for in potential lab and office space, commercial real estate owners can determine whether their buildings might be prime candidates for this dynamic market.

Today’s lab sciences firms are booming across the spectrum, from record-breaking investment in life sciences to unprecedented technological breakthroughs in materials science and electrical engineering. Add in intensifying talent wars and extreme pressure to get innovative products faster to market than ever before, and it’s no wonder there’s extreme competition for quality space.

At the same time, the great work-from-home experiment of the last 20+ months inspired professional services firms to rethink their footprints. As tenant demand shifts from familiar faces to new ones, many building owners are asking what it might take to convert, say, a Class A office building into a desirable lab space.

The answer depends on a variety of factors, including location, structure and more – but it may be more feasible than you think.

Five Ways to Win Lab Sciences Tenants

How can you break out of the decades-long mold of owning a conventional office property? A little creative thinking – backed by engineering insight – goes a long way.

Consider the following on your journey to a scientific-tenant-friendly building:

1. Get up to speed on prospective lab sciences tenants.

If you’re not already familiar with the various lab sciences categories, now’s the time to learn some basics.

Wet labs work with biological matter and therefore have stringent requirements for air filtration, plumbing, equipment, waste disposal, life safety and fire protection. But dry labs, which focus more on applied and computational mathematical research, can more easily plug into existing real estate.

Many different types of lab sciences needs exist, from dialysis samples to small electronics manufacturing, to general labs akin to your old high school chem lab. Startups are also bringing new momentum to the market – and unique space needs, such as access to flexible lab space, as well as more meeting-oriented office space.

2. Understand the role of your building’s location.

Professional services and other office-anchored work need locations that will appeal to staff as well as the clients and customers they serve. In life sciences, however, it’s more important to have the right functioning space than to offer a convenient location for customers.

That said, location is key to recruitment and retention for your prospective tenants. For those reasons they’ll favor real estate options in a bustling market, preferably near universities or medical campuses, and where life sciences innovators may be able to rub shoulders with others on the street. However, still keep an eye on locations that are attractive in the market more generally; for example, Skender is building out a company’s research and development lab space in an office building in an exciting neighborhood.

You’ll also need to ensure any lab science facility needs won’t disturb neighbors in, say, a residential area. Lab work that disposes of chemical load via the exhaust fans shouldn’t be near an apartment building with porches, for example. So, before taking on a tenant, consider how their particular work would affect any neighboring areas.

3. Evaluate your building structure to learn what it can handle.

Can your building accommodate the intensive systems that lab sciences firms require? Labs typically need more technically sophisticated structures with more complex mechanical systems. Structurally, they’ll need more risers and shafts than an office building would.

Access to adequate power is also critical. Life sciences tenants use an average of seven times more electricity than office tenants because their equipment and systems need more finely tuned environments, from air conditioning and fans to exhaust and electrical load systems.

Conduct a feasibility study with a mechanical and electrical engineer to determine your best course of action when such tenants come knocking.

4. Remember the human experience for talent.

Amid the war for talent, lab sciences tenants want buildings that prioritize convenience and offer flexible layouts. So, for example, these tenants might look favorably on secure parking lots and/or showers and locker rooms for their bike-to-work contingent.

Within the workspace, they also tend to value flexible design that facilitates collaboration and engagement, with easy access to shared spaces as well as comfortable, inviting break rooms where employees can catch a breath.

5. Provide private access to non-public-facing infrastructure. 

Avert awkward elevator moments by keeping orange biohazard-labeled materials out of common elevators. Because they work with specialized equipment and sensitive chemicals, lab sciences tenants need a private way to get in and out of their space without running into other tenants. This often includes a loading dock, a dedicated service elevator, and private storage areas.

Are You Ready to Capitalize on This Growing Market?

Demand for quality lab sciences space is only expected to rise. By adapting existing space to accommodate their specific needs, building owners can reposition their portfolios for a more resilient future.

This article is authored by Skender’s Jeff Janicek and Jason Utah. It was originally published by NAIOP.

Skender Completes Construction on 16-Unit Supportive Living Apartment Community in Matteson, Illinois

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on Mustacchi Manor, a three-story, 16-unit supportive living apartment community for non-profit developer Over the Rainbow Association (OTR) in Matteson, Illinois.

The building, designed by Weese Langley Weese Architects, provides affordable housing and independent living solutions for individuals with physical disabilities. The units include roll-in showers, pull-under sinks, accessible appliances and lower switches, outlets, windows and door handles. It joins a three-development campus on 10 acres of land in Matteson.

Since 2015, Over the Rainbow, Weese Langley Weese and Skender have collaborated on four properties, totaling more than 100 units.

Skender Announces Executive and Senior Management Promotions

Today, Skender announced executive and senior management promotions for three rising leaders at the Chicago-based commercial construction firm. Skender would like to congratulate the following on their recent promotions:

Jeff Reist, Project Executive. Jeff joined Skender in 2015 and has 16 years of experience in the construction industry, including multifamily, adaptive reuse, historic restoration, hospitality and other commercial projects. Jeff has demonstrated a remarkable ability to foster a team-building environment, as he consistently coaches others to achieve their highest potential. He is a great adopter of Lean practices, a steadfast and tactical project manager, and he is continuously focused on team and overall company improvement.

Lauren Torres, Project Executive. Lauren joined Skender in 2013 and has 13 years in the construction industry, including some of Chicago’s most notable corporate interiors projects. Lauren has epitomized a strong and balanced work ethic as she has steadily built meaningful relationships both internally and externally. She has grown as a leader through mentorship and continues to pay it forward by mentoring her teammates and demonstrating an intrinsic drive to help others succeed.

Jacob Boyle, Senior Project Manager. Jacob joined Skender in 2016 and has 12 years of experience in the construction industry, including corporate interiors, healthcare, mission critical and life sciences projects. Jacob’s forward-thinking, out-of-the-box approach to project management has been a refreshing and vital addition to the Skender team. Jacob demonstrates his ability to persevere through adversity, eagerly and effortlessly taking on every opportunity.

“The leaders at Skender are ushering our teams forward into a new year of delivering high-quality, value-driven projects for our clients across the Midwest,” said Justin Brown, President and CEO, Skender. “We congratulate Jeff, Lauren and Jacob, who exemplify the kind of collaborative, hardworking leadership we strive for that provides clients a premier building experience.”

Multi-Housing News: Occupied Rehab: A Solution for Affordable Construction Challenges

Skender’s Joe Pecoraro shares a solution for dealing with uncertainty in costs, schedules and labor.

Making the numbers work for financing affordable housing construction was a challenge even prior to the pandemic—and now the compounding factors of construction material delays, rising material costs and labor shortages are making it even more difficult. New ground-up construction needs solid financial data to secure financing, and the uncertainty of the supply chain and labor market means developers are facing protracted due diligence periods before they even begin work. The bottom line: it is taking longer to get much-needed affordable housing units into the marketplace at a time when the demand is greater than ever.

At the same time, much of the existing stock of affordable housing in the U.S. isn’t meeting the standards of safety, sustainability and disability accessibility required of new construction. Equally of concern, it’s not meeting our shared mission in the affordable housing industry of providing dignified and high-quality homes to our neighbors who most need them.

One option that helps to solve this problem, while not taking affordable multifamily stock off the already depleted market, is occupied rehabilitation. An occupied rehab program allows affordable housing developers to take advantage of the rehabilitation tax credit to make necessary updates to existing or recently acquired housing stock, while the building remains occupied.

How Occupied Rehab Works

During the renovation, residents are moved out temporarily (usually for a period of one to two weeks) to a hotel or a vacant unit in the building. They return to newly rehabbed apartments that not only have a fresh look, but also are ADA-compliant, have updated kitchens, bathrooms, mechanicals, and appliances, and are more energy efficient—all important components of the rehabilitation program.

Using Lean construction methods, which emphasize the reduction of inefficiencies, redundancies and waste, contractors can keep projects on budget for owners and complete them with minimum disruption to residents. Groups of units are worked on in a phased approach, and each subsequent phase is further streamlined as lessons learned are applied from earlier units in real time, such as knowledge of the building’s existing mechanical and electrical features and accommodations that may have to be made to bring energy-efficient appliances into the apartment.

Improvements can be relatively small in cost—especially compared to ground-up construction—but have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of residents. For example, plumbing work done during the rehabilitation has allowed residents to take hot showers for the first time in months. Other updates can improve the longevity of the building and reduce its environmental impact. Many older buildings need to upgrade their elevator systems and points of entry and exit for safety and accessibility concerns.

In addition to upgrading individual units, occupied rehab projects can include common areas. Renovating areas such as a cafeteria/multipurpose room, common restrooms or a fitness center, further provides opportunities for the residents to enjoy an improved living experience.

Why is now the right time to consider occupied rehab?

Lawmakers increasingly support raising affordable housing fund. Earlier this year, the 4 percent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) was fixed at a true 4 percent rate, a boon for affordable housing investors. More recently, the “Build Back Better” legislation, which has so far passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, includes several provisions to expand and improve the LIHTC program.

While the bill’s details are still being debated in the Senate, housing tax credits could increase by up to 40 percent, and the package will include significant funding for affordable housing, including $65 billion for public housing repairs and preservation.

Most of the work done in occupied rehab can be financed through a combination of 4 percent tax credits, 9 percent tax credits, and other programs such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) zones. With new federal commitment to bolstering these programs, developers should take a look at which buildings in their current portfolio could benefit from an occupied rehab project.

Occupied rehab can be a win-win for owners of affordable housing multifamily buildings as well as their residents. The renovation process treats residents with respect, giving them safer and better places to live, while not disrupting or displacing them for a long period. It allows developers to take advantage of tax-credit programs to bring their buildings up to standards in shorter time frames and without affecting occupancy rates. In this time of uncertainty in costs, schedules and labor, occupied rehab is a way to make affordable housing construction work.


Joe Pecoraro, project executive, Skender, is a leading adopter of Lean construction techniques and has helped shape Skender’s Lean-focused culture since joining the company in 2005. Pecoraro oversees Skender’s multi-unit housing team, and his expertise has helped deliver a wide range of successful multifamily residential, affordable housing and senior living projects.

This article was originally published by Multi-Housing News.

Skender Expands Operations in Indiana, Hires Jamie Nieves as Local Business Development Leader

Skender is pleased to announce the expansion of its Indiana presence and the hiring of Jamie Nieves, a seasoned economic and business development professional and Indiana native. As vice president of business relationships, Nieves will work with Brian Simons, vice president, who heads Skender’s Indianapolis office and oversees construction teams. Skender began work in Indiana in early 2020 and has been involved in the construction of significant healthcare, retail and office projects totaling over 1 million square feet throughout the state.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jamie to team Skender. Her experience creating partnerships in both the private and public sector to benefit communities in the region, as well as her robust background in civil engineering and infrastructure, will be incredibly valuable as we expand our work in Indiana,” said Simons, who graduated from Purdue in 2003.

About Jamie Nieves

Nieves joins Skender from Indianapolis-based DBE/MBE engineering consulting firm Shrewsberry & Associates, where she was director of business development. Prior to moving back to her home state of Indiana, Nieves was business development manager at engineering firm ECS Southeast in North Carolina and held senior economic development roles at the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and Northern Kentucky Tri-ED. As a leader in business retention and expansion, she has secured more than $86M in capital investment for Midwest communities and hundreds of jobs throughout the communities she has served.

Nieves holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and finance from Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, and she began her career in the architecture, construction and engineering industry with Gibraltar Design in Indianapolis.

“I was drawn by Skender’s focus on long-term relationship-building and creative, collaborative problem-solving,” said Nieves. “I am looking forward to building on both my personal Indiana roots, as well as the high-quality work Skender has already completed with its partners here. Through our work, we can benefit communities throughout Indiana.”

Skender’s Work in Indiana

Skender is a leading national construction firm with strong Midwestern roots and award-winning new construction and renovation projects in healthcare, lab sciences, office, multifamily, mixed-use and other building types. In Indiana, Skender has completed or is in process on multiple projects including:

IU Health Bloomington Hospital
Bloomington, Indiana

Skender partnered 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, which opened in December 2021, includes 620,000 square feet for in-patient and out-patient clinical services, and 115,000 square feet for academic instruction.

IU Health Capital Projects
Indianapolis, Indiana

Skender has been engaged in the planning and construction of capital and infrastructure projects with IU Health, and the team anticipates construction to commence in 2022.

Allen Crossings
Fort Wayne, Indiana

In partnership with Echo Development, Skender will begin construction on a multi-unit, 11-acre retail development near the Parkview Hospital campus in northwest Fort Wayne in spring 2022.

Aspire Indiana Health Clinic
Indianapolis, Indiana

Skender has commenced the demolition and renovation of an existing clinical space to create a new full-service clinic for the nonprofit healthcare provider to serve the northeast side of Indianapolis.

Construction Tops Out at 345 N. Morgan in Chicago’s Fulton Market

Skender recently reached the final height at 345 N. Morgan, a 233,000-square-foot, 11-story ground-up boutique office and retail building. The new development, known as THREE FOUR FIVE, is located in Fulton Market, on one of the neighborhood’s most dynamic blocks. The topping-out ceremony signifies the end of the structural phase of construction as the project team works toward the building’s completion and anticipated opening in fall 2022.

The office and retail building will feature sleek, modern finishes, high ceilings and arched windows, and welded metal accents, drawing on the neighborhood’s industrial past. Amenities will include private outdoor terraces, a 5,000-square-foot roof deck with sweeping views, a conservatory bar & lounge with a double-sided fireplace, a full-service fitness center, a coworking library and several high-tech conference spaces to meet the needs of today’s hybrid workforce.

Skender is collaborating with developer and owner Sterling Bay and Eckenhoff Saunders Architects on this project.

Watch the event video below.

Occupied Rehab: A Solution for Affordable Construction Challenges

In this time of uncertainty in costs, schedules and labor, Joe Pecoraro of Skender, shares a solution.

Joe Pecoraro

Making the numbers work for financing affordable housing construction was a challenge even prior to the pandemic—and now the compounding factors of construction material delays, rising material costs and labor shortages are making it even more difficult. New ground-up construction needs solid financial data to secure financing, and the uncertainty of the supply chain and labor market means developers are facing protracted due diligence periods before they even begin work. The bottom line: it is taking longer to get much-needed affordable housing units into the marketplace at a time when the demand is greater than ever.

At the same time, much of the existing stock of affordable housing in the U.S. isn’t meeting the standards of safety, sustainability and disability accessibility required of new construction. Equally of concern, it’s not meeting our shared mission in the affordable housing industry of providing dignified and high-quality homes to our neighbors who most need them.

One option that helps to solve this problem, while not taking affordable multifamily stock off the already depleted market, is occupied rehabilitation. An occupied rehab program allows affordable housing developers to take advantage of the rehabilitation tax credit to make necessary updates to existing or recently acquired housing stock, while the building remains occupied.

How Occupied Rehab Works

During the renovation, residents are moved out temporarily (usually for a period of one to two weeks) to a hotel or a vacant unit in the building. They return to newly rehabbed apartments that not only have a fresh look, but also are ADA-compliant, have updated kitchens, bathrooms, mechanicals, and appliances, and are more energy efficient—all important components of the rehabilitation program.

Using Lean construction methods, which emphasize the reduction of inefficiencies, redundancies and waste, contractors can keep projects on budget for owners and complete them with minimum disruption to residents. Groups of units are worked on in a phased approach, and each subsequent phase is further streamlined as lessons learned are applied from earlier units in real time, such as knowledge of the building’s existing mechanical and electrical features and accommodations that may have to be made to bring energy-efficient appliances into the apartment.

Improvements can be relatively small in cost—especially compared to ground-up construction—but have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of residents. For example, plumbing work done during the rehabilitation has allowed residents to take hot showers for the first time in months. Other updates can improve the longevity of the building and reduce its environmental impact. Many older buildings need to upgrade their elevator systems and points of entry and exit for safety and accessibility concerns.

In addition to upgrading individual units, occupied rehab projects can include common areas. Renovating areas such as a cafeteria/multipurpose room, common restrooms or a fitness center, further provides opportunities for the residents to enjoy an improved living experience.

Why is now the right time to consider occupied rehab?

Lawmakers increasingly support raising affordable housing fund. Earlier this year, the 4 percent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) was fixed at a true 4 percent rate, a boon for affordable housing investors. More recently, the “Build Back Better” legislation, which has so far passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, includes several provisions to expand and improve the LIHTC program.

While the bill’s details are still being debated in the Senate, housing tax credits could increase by up to 40 percent, and the package will include significant funding for affordable housing, including $65 billion for public housing repairs and preservation.

Most of the work done in occupied rehab can be financed through a combination of 4 percent tax credits, 9 percent tax credits, and other programs such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) zones. With new federal commitment to bolstering these programs, developers should take a look at which buildings in their current portfolio could benefit from an occupied rehab project.

Occupied rehab can be a win-win for owners of affordable housing multifamily buildings as well as their residents. The renovation process treats residents with respect, giving them safer and better places to live, while not disrupting or displacing them for a long period. It allows developers to take advantage of tax-credit programs to bring their buildings up to standards in shorter time frames and without affecting occupancy rates. In this time of uncertainty in costs, schedules and labor, occupied rehab is a way to make affordable housing construction work.

This article is authored by Skender’s Joe Pecoraro. It was originally published by Multi-Housing News magazine.

Skender Completes Interior Construction of Global Headquarters for Chemical Manufacturer in Northbrook, Illinois  

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed interior construction on the three-and-a-half-floor, 87,000-square-foot corporate office for Stepan Company, a global chemical manufacturer, at 1101 Skokie Blvd in Northbrook, Illinois. The office, which serves as Stepan’s global headquarters, reflects the company’s respectful and stimulating workplace culture and will support the organization’s efforts to attract and retain top industry talent.

The new office build-out includes a learning and development suite with a training room separated by operable partitions, cafes on each floor, a board room with high-end finishes, a fitness center, an IT Genius bar, a library space and state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.

“Our new headquarters embodies sustainability and reflects our values with spaces designed for collaboration, well-being and flexibility.  We are excited to have this beautiful new environment to safely support our customers and grow Stepan Company,” said Janet A. Catlett, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.

Skender collaborated with Avison Young and architect and engineer CannonDesign on this project. Stepan expects to receive LEED Silver certification on the build-out early in 2022.

“Despite ongoing supply chain constraints, our team was able to remain agile and create new critical paths around these challenges,” said Jacob Boyle, Sr. Project Manager, Skender. “The leaders at Stepan and our collaborators at CannonDesign made quick, thoughtful decisions to navigate these disruptions, ultimately resulting in minimal impact.”

Skender Completes New Spec Suites in Old Post Office

Skender recently completed the interior build-out for 43,000 square feet of spec suites in the North building of the historic Old Post Office in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. The 11 divisible office suites provide lease options ranging from 1,000 to 7,000 square feet, as well as an accompanying amenity space with two conference rooms, a reading room and a library.

As with most of the space in the redeveloped Old Post Office, these spec suites feature unique historic touches, including mosaic tiles as well as salvaged doors from building storage that were reworked and reinstalled along the corridor of the space. Additionally, the space has ornate metal screen design features, wainscot paneling, specialty ceilings, custom millwork built-ins and a fireplace in the library space.

“Our knowledge of the building and detail-oriented team were critical success factors in delivering these high-quality spec suites for the owner, 601W Companies,” said Lauren Torres, Senior Project Manager and Team Leader, Skender. “It was a great collaboration and a fantastic result.”

Skender worked closely with building owner 601W Companies, architect Partners by Design, and project manager JLL.

Construction Starts on 50,000-SF Laboratory and Office Workspace at 320 N. Sangamon in Chicago’s Fulton Market

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently started construction on the interior build-out of the two-story, 50,000-square-foot lab and office space for Hazel Technologies, a USDA-funded technology company developing solutions to extend the shelf life of fresh produce. With an anticipated completion in early spring 2022, Hazel will be one of the first two tenants to move into at 320 N. Sangamon, the new 13-story Fulton Market office building developed by Tishman Speyer and Mark Goodman & Associates.

Hazel will move from its current location at University Technology Park at Illinois Tech in Bronzeville to expand its footprint as it accommodates its plans to double its local workforce to 70 people in the coming year. The build-out includes space for open research laboratory and lab support, as well as 10,000 square feet of administrative and office space and 5,000 square feet of collaboration space, including several sizes of meeting rooms, huddle rooms, and prep and tasting rooms.

Converting office space into lab space requires extra attention to detail within infrastructure customizations, such as new air handling, general exhaust and fume exhaust, new boilers, and uninterrupted power supply generators with capacity to manage all the lab equipment and technology. Multiple specialized space types are found within the lab space, including a pilot lab, dry lab, sensory lab, wet lab, engineering lab and innovation lab. Specialty equipment and finishes include 10 fume hoods, four snorkel hoods, negatively pressured lab spaces, and acid- and solvent-resistant finishes. The lab support space will include square footage for research and equipment.

“This year, we’ve seen an influx of growing lab sciences firms seeking out the conversion of office space in the city for their lab space needs,” said Jason Utah, Senior Project Manager, Skender. “Our team is excited to bring this kind of complex conversion to life for Hazel Technologies in one of Fulton Market’s newest, amenity-forward buildings at 320 N. Sangamon.”

Skender collaborated with developers Tishman Speyer and Mark Goodman & Associates, tenant representative CBRE, architect Perkins & Will and engineer Cosentini Associates on this project.

Construction Starts on Affordable Housing for Veterans and People with Disabilities in Lansing, Illinois

Skender, along with its joint-venture partner Ashlaur Construction, recently broke ground on Torrence Place, a three-story, mixed-use affordable housing and health clinic project for affordable housing developer Full Circle Communities at 2320 Thornton-Lansing Road in Lansing. The wood-framed building will have 48 affordable, accessible units for veterans and people with disabilities, as well as a 3,500-square-foot health clinic on the ground floor operated by Christian Community Health Center.

Torrence Place will also include space for property management office space, supportive service space and residential amenities including a fitness area, computer lab and community area with a communal kitchen.

The project team, including Full Circle Communities, Skender, Ashlaur Construction, architect Cordogan, Clark & Associates, and CAGE Civil Engineering, ceremoniously broke ground at the project site on October 22. Torrence Place will also include building features that will qualify it to receive certification through Enterprise Green Communities.

WSJ: Builders Hunt for Alternatives to Materials in Short Supply

Shortages of key construction materials are forcing some builders and contractors to turn to substitutes and hunt for alternative suppliers as they rush to meet high demand for new housing.

Construction companies are looking for replacements and new sources for everything from wood paneling to ceiling joists to pipes, saying that potentially higher costs and added complications to design and construction can be preferable to putting a project on hold for months while waiting for planned supplies.

Supply shortages stem from a series of supply-chain disruptions hitting industries around the world this year, from port congestion in Asia and the U.S. to labor shortages at factories. Heavy storms in Texas and Louisiana have also slowed production of some building materials, while semiconductor shortfalls have made appliances harder to secure.

Read the full article, which includes commentary by Skender’s Andy Halik, at the WSJ.

Skender Completes Renovation on 101-Unit Seniors Housing Facility in South Chicago

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on Salud Center, a 101-unit, 140,000-square-foot senior residential building in South Chicago at 3039 E. 91st Street. The facility provides affordable housing for low-income seniors and is operated by the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Claretian Associates, a nonprofit housing developer and community services provider based in South Chicago.

As occupied rehab construction, Skender and POAH coordinated the temporary relocation of the families and seniors living in the building while individual units were renovated. Occupied rehab requires careful construction sequencing and logistics to ensure safe, smooth delivery and minimal interference with residents’ lives. Working in five-day construction cycles, Skender turned around six units per week at Salud Center, including new flooring, lighting and plumbing trim in unit bathrooms and kitchens.

In addition to the individual unit renovations, Skender also renovated the common areas, including cafeteria/multipurpose room, restrooms, a fitness center, and office space for Claretian Associates, which will run some of its operations out of the building. Skender also completed a full upgrade of the boiler room equipment, replacement of the façade exterior insulation finishing system, and a new thermoplastic polyolefin roof.

Skender collaborated with developers and co-owners POAH and Claretian Associates, as well as architects Architrave, Ltd. (commercial and office) and Canopy Architecture & Design (residential) on this project. Over the past decade, Skender has completed nearly 2,000 units of occupied rehab projects for several clients, including POAH, Preservation Partners, Vitus Group and Catholic Charities.

Skender Completes Construction on 16-Unit Affordable Housing Building in Wilmette

Skender, serving as general contractor, recently completed construction on Cleland Place, a three-story, 16-unit affordable housing development at 1925 Wilmette Ave. in Wilmette. The new development will provide affordable housing for working families, seniors and veterans and will be operated by the Housing Opportunity Development Corporation (HODC). The project is named for Jean Cleland, a long-time Wilmette resident and founding member of the HODC, as well as an advocate for civil rights and affordable housing in the North Shore.

Completed within a 10-month timeframe, the Skender team managed the construction of this project in a tight, logistically challenging jobsite with minimal disruption to the surrounding community. The building features one- and two-bedroom units and amenities including a laundry room, elevator, covered parking and resident-driven social activities.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cleland Place took place on Thursday, August 26, to signify the opening of the facility. “I’m so excited that Cleland Place is now open for residents, and to see my Grandma Jean’s values and passion for affordable housing live on in Wilmette,” said Kelsey Cleland, Program Director at The Goldie Initiative and granddaughter of Jean Cleland.

Skender collaborated with developer Housing Opportunity Development Corporation and architect Cordogan Clark & Associates on this project. Skender has recently completed several affordable and supportive housing facilities throughout Chicago and its suburbs, including Sarah’s on Sheridan Supportive Housing Facility in Uptown, The Residences of Crystal Lake in Crystal Lake, and Woodlawn Station in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood.

Podcast: IN Construction Influencers with Nate Lelle

This weeks guest is Brian Simons, Project Executive and Vice President, Indiana. Brian works with teams in Chicago and Indianapolis areas to build and manage healthcare and interior construction projects. Regularly managing new construction, build-outs, renovations, upgrades and modernizations for hospitals, healthcare systems and corporations.

At Skender, we build lasting relationships, create meaningful experiences and help our clients achieve groundbreaking results. We do this through high-performing teams who are obsessed with delivering the premier construction experience. Skender is a full-service building contractor with specialized new construction and renovation capabilities in all major sectors, including commercial, multifamily and healthcare.  Guided by efficiency, anchored by value and driven by results – our customers repeatedly rave about the way we work and our ability to deliver extraordinary results. Faster, smarter, leaner, stronger.

While the bulk of our work is in the Midwest, we also have extensive experience managing projects in other states. Our multi-state capabilities are enhanced by our national partner network.

Listen to the podcast episode here.

Skender Breaks Ground on 345 N Morgan, a 200,000-SF office and retail building in Fulton Market

Skender and Sterling Bay hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at 345 N Morgan this morning with 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar and project architect Eckenhoff Saunders Architects. This groundbreaking marks the start of construction on the 200,000-square-foot boutique office and retail building located in Fulton Market.

“Sterling Bay began pre-development on 345 N Morgan many months before COVID-19 was on anyone’s radar. In fact, we were ready to begin digging at the site in early March 2020, just days before everything – including this particular project – came to a swift halt,” said Andy Gloor, CEO, Sterling Bay. “Today, after navigating over a year’s worth of pandemic-related challenges, we are proud to break ground on this state-of-the-art development that will build on Fulton Market’s reputation as a premier destination to collaborate and do business in Chicago.”

Acquired by Sterling Bay in 2014, 345 N Morgan is a speculative development that will offer future tenants open, customizable floor plates for maximum flexibility and collaboration in an unbeatable location. Designed by Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, the space features sleek, modern finishes, soaring ceilings, arched windows, and welded metal accents, drawing on the neighborhood’s industrial past. Amenities include private outdoor terraces, a 5K-square-foot roof deck with sweeping views, a conservatory bar & lounge with a double-sided fireplace, a full-service fitness center, a coworking library and several high-tech conference spaces to meet the needs of today’s virtual world.

In addition to offering tenants a completely customizable workplace experience, 345 N Morgan will also complete construction in just 13 months, significantly faster than comparable developments of a similar size, allowing future tenants to move into their new office space as early as September 2022.

“Skender is proud to be a part of the team that will bring 345 N Morgan to completion on an accelerated timeline. COVID-19 has caused countless development delays and disruptions across Chicago, but this project will deliver in just over a year – that’s a significant accomplishment even by pre-pandemic standards,” said Justin Brown, President & CEO, Skender. “We understand the high level of integration that this project demands and are committed to executing the seamless, collaborative and efficient process for which Skender is known.”

As part of its commitment to expand opportunities for minority-owned firms, Skender has formed a joint venture partnership and JLL Construction, a local certified minority-owned business, in the development of this project. JLL Construction is headquartered on the west side of Chicago and, like Skender, has an extensive portfolio of projects in the Fulton Market area. As development progresses, 345 N Morgan will meet the city’s standards for M/WBE engagement at the 26/6 participation level.

Six Ways to Mitigate Construction Material Costs

Across all property types, both ground-up and renovation projects are facing the dual challenges of price volatility and scarcity of supplies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reported staggering spikes in construction material prices between May 2020 and May 2021: increases of 146% for refined petroleum products such as diesel fuel and asphalt base, 114% for lumber and wood products, 107% for cold-rolled steel sheets used for metal studs, and 39% for copper wire and cable. In mid-June, lumber futures for July delivery were down 42% from their record high reached in early May.

Across all property types, both ground-up and renovation projects are facing the dual challenges of price volatility and scarcity of supplies. And with general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers unable to guarantee pricing of materials more than a few weeks out, many are shifting the risk associated with price uncertainty to owners and developers. Mitigating these risks can be challenging, but the following tactics can help alleviate the effects on a project’s bottom line:

1. Assemble the team early.

At Skender, we’ve found that combining project teams sooner rather than later can significantly increase speed-to-revenue. When architects and contractors collaborate early in the process, either in a design-build or design-assist delivery method, schedules can proceed more quickly, and expensive, time-consuming redesigns can be avoided. For example: in a ground-up project, a smart design choice regarding the location of the major vertical circulation (i.e., stairs and elevators) can result in significant cost savings.

2. Invest in Lean Construction.

To achieve greater stability, reliability, efficiency, and flexibility, owners and developers should leverage Lean construction principles and tactics. In addition to navigating material shortages, a Lean builder such as Skender can help maximize ROI by conducting ongoing research, monitoring economic trends, and providing counsel on lifetime costs, environmental impact, inflation, and other factors. A builder with a Lean approach specializes in optimizing projects for efficiency and reducing waste during all stages of construction — both of which can help mitigate risks associated with rising material costs.

3. Amend budgets.

Historically, material cost increases have slightly exceeded the rate of general inflation (3-5%); in the current environment, PMA advises owners and developers to consider escalation contingencies of 10-15% per year. Predicting exactly when material prices will stabilize is impossible, but establishing strategic budget reserves, contingencies, and reinvestment plans can help owners and developers manage risk.

One budgeting approach Skender’s teams have employed involves building a strategic buffer and establishing a timeline for reassessing risk, then gradually releasing reserved funds back into the project as economic conditions improve. For a project with a $15 million budget, aim to spend $14.5 million, and systematically release the balance as appropriate. Converting surplus contingency adds real value and can enable developers and building owners to secure wish-list items, from upgraded finish materials to appliances and landscaping.

4. Explore alternative or unconventional materials.

At both PMA and Skender, we are firm believers that expanding materials options for every component of a building, from the foundation and superstructure to the various systems and interior building materials, can help control costs. Pre-cast concrete, ready-mix concrete, DensGlass, zip-board, and alternative wood species can all be useful substitutes for materials that are over budget or difficult to procure. For wood-framed projects, prefabricated wall panels and framing systems can limit material waste, decrease labor costs, and potentially expedite project schedules.

Now more than ever, owners and developers should be challenging architects and engineers to exercise their creativity and incorporate unconventional materials in their designs, as well as ensure that extending the list of acceptable substitutes does not compromise on safety, quality, durability or functionality.

5. Procure materials well in advance.

In addition to exploring alternative materials, both our firms suggest procuring materials in advance whenever possible to mitigate risks around pricing and availability. Buying materials earlier typically results in cost savings and greater decision-making power about other factors later in the project. It mitigates unknown exposure to shortages and can ensure access to materials when needed. Some owners and developers have made the decision to purchase materials directly, believing it will avoid markup costs. But going that route also eliminates a variety of services and introduces a higher level of risk, so it’s not something to undertake without examining the full picture.

6. Manage contracts and partner with contractors.

Developers and owners should be mindful of how material price volatility can affect both new and existing agreements. At PMA, we emphasize the importance of fully understanding any material cost escalation clauses. Often, force majeure clauses will be modified to allow for recovery of costs (not just time extensions) for catastrophic events, which can lead to cost escalation. Developers should also avoid contracts with open-ended allowances for material costs. In the current environment, partnering with contractors and suppliers to set an indexed price point with a cap, with an agreement to share in the savings or overages up to the cap, is a more appropriate approach to mitigating risk. This approach also allows for owner participation in any upside as prices stabilize.

Last but not least, owners and developers should keep in mind that steep increases in material costs may lead to subcontractor defaults or bankruptcies. Staying abreast of subcontractors’ and material suppliers’ financial health is critical to minimizing project disruption, even when construction agreements are properly structured to protect the owner from subcontractor defaults. Prompt payment and properly structured agreements can go a long way in helping subcontractors manage cash flow. Ultimately, avoiding default is a better outcome than merely being protected if the situation does occur.

The economy is uncertain, and owners and developers have no way of knowing exactly when the prices for building materials will stabilize. Fortunately, the risks associated with material price volatility are generally tolerable and quantifiable. A combination of the above strategies—along with a little extra planning, creativity, and flexibility—can help mitigate economic variables and ensure reliable, on-time, on-budget delivery of construction projects.

This article is authored by Andy Halik, VP and corporate interiors co-lead of Skender, and Roger McCarron, President and CEO of Project Management Advisors Inc. (PMA). It was originally published by Facility Executive magazine.

Skender Announces Executive and Senior Management Promotions

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

Alex Panici, Project Executive. Since joining Skender in 2016, Alex has built exceptional client relationships, displayed tremendous leadership in the commercial construction market and is extremely tuned in to his project teams and their needs. Alex continuously sees challenges given to him and the team as opportunities instead of obstacles. He graciously values feedback and views constructive criticism as a chance for continuous improvement, all components for high-quality Skender leaders.

Brian Kane, Project Executive. Since joining Skender in 2008, Brian has constantly sought ways to improve himself, his team, and Skender as a whole. He consistently promotes a culture of learning and continuous improvement so that his team is set up for success on project delivery. Brian plays a key role in business development, cultivating external relationships at every stage, which has led to steady growth in Skender’s healthcare, owner’s services, and travel-with-client construction.

Jason Utah, Senior Project Manager. Jason joined the Skender team in 2016 and has contributed exponentially to the stability and growth of the firm’s Healthcare team. He has been instrumental in the establishment and success of the new lab sciences construction market, while also providing outstanding preconstruction, budget development and owner services. As Senior Project Manager, Jason is responsible for delivering projects on schedule, maximizing productivity and efficiency, and controlling project costs for his healthcare and lab clients.

Kevin Chan, Senior Project Manager. Since joining Skender in 2015, Kevin has been an important player on the Healthcare team, developing relationships, educating new employees and serving as the go-to person for owners, facility staff and end-users alike. During the last year, Kevin managed several critical jobs, ensuring efficient schedules and optimizing value. He continues to go above and beyond the assigned work, delighting clients and making the process of building easier for all parties involved.

Ryan Cotter, Senior Preconstruction Manager. Ryan joined the Skender team in 2016 and has helped create a clear vision for the firm’s comprehensive preconstruction services. He is a true builder and collaborator with architects, engineers, consultants and trade partners. As Preconstruction Manager, Ryan aligns our internal teams with client goals to support project budgeting, bidding, scheduling, constructability, logistics and value analysis. He efficiently and reliably guides our commercial projects through the planning, design and construction phases.

“I’ve been so proud of our team that has continued to step up during this unpredictable year to anticipate our clients’ needs and deliver the most efficient and effective building solutions amidst a tough market,” said Justin Brown, President and CEO, Skender. “These rising stars at Skender are exemplary of the type of leadership that will keep us competitive as we work toward stronger building outcomes.”

ENR Midwest: Top Contractors Persevere Through Pandemic Year

The Midwest’s top contractors—many of whom had projects delayed or stalled due to the pandemic—reported $41.3 billion in revenue for 2020, a slight decrease from a record high of $42.5 billion in 2019. Revenue totals were reported by 85 contractors and construction managers from 11 states who responded to ENR Midwest’s Top Contractors survey.

Just as they have in the past, contractors took on a wide range of projects, including construction of a 200-bed veteran’s hospital in Chicago, expansion of a parking and rental car facility in St. Paul and construction of an innovation center and library at a college in Traverse City, Mich.

The contractors on this year’s list tackled projects in a wide range of specialties, including, but not limited to, environmental, transportation, education, aviation, manufacturing, health care and senior living.

Read the full article at ENR Midwest.

Skender Breaks Ground on 133,000-Square-Foot Maywood Supportive Living Redevelopment Project

Skender broke ground today on the major historic redevelopment of Maywood Supportive Living, a five-story, 133,000-square-foot supportive living facility for seniors at 316 Randolph St. in Maywood, Illinois. The building, when finished, will provide 100 units of affordable, supportive living housing with substantial healthcare and nursing amenities provided in the facility.

The existing building, which formerly housed the Central Baptist Home and has sat vacant for many years, will be stripped down to its structure and building envelope and restored with an eye for preserving its historic architectural detail. In 2017, the property was added to the State of Illinois’ National Register of Historic Places.

The existing building and grounds take up a full city block, and the section built in 1929-1930 boasts a Tudor Revival-style, while the additions in 1955 and 1965 align with modernist architectural trends. The renovation will include installing new windows; restoring the wood trim, stucco and brick façade; replacing the roof; restoring the first-floor lobby including the preservation of terrazzo floors, commercial kitchen and dining area, and common areas; and converting 100 units to supportive living units with kitchenettes on floors 2-5.

“We’re preserving the facility’s character by retaining and restoring much of its original architectural features, meanwhile making it a more functional, safe and modern space in which to deliver necessary care to its residents,” said Afshan Barshan, Senior Vice President, Skender.

In addition to serving as general contractor, Skender is providing design-build mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering services, while collaborating with developer Celadon Partners and Gleason Architects. Financing for this renovation is being provided by NDC Corporate Equity Fund, KeyBank, US Bank, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

Solutions for Building Office Properties Through Supply Shortages, Rising Prices

U.S. coronavirus cases are plunging and businesses are fully reopening. Meanwhile, the challenges of developing new office buildings and renovating existing ones are only compounding as project pipelines fill up amid unpredictable economic factors: skyrocketing materials prices, a tightening labor market, soaring demand and problematic supplies. Real estate developers, owners and their builders must take action to mitigate the financial impacts and keep projects on track.

It’s no secret that building component costs have risen at an unprecedented rate in the past year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from April 2020 to April 2021, material prices increased an astounding 143 percent for refined petroleum products such as diesel fuel and asphalt base, 90 percent for lumber and wood products, 78 percent for cold-rolled steel sheets that are used for metal studs, and 31 percent for copper wire and cable.

Such extreme material price increases have intensified over the pandemic and spread to other components, all while severe shortages and supply chain bottlenecks have lengthened timelines for production and delivery. These challenges are not limited to one type of building construction—both ground-up and renovation projects across all property types are realizing the effects of higher prices and scarce supplies.

How can developers, owners and builders overcome these economic challenges and mitigate the risk to their project’s bottom line? Consider the following five solutions:

Blend the team early

Time is money, so in order to ramp up speed to revenue, break down barriers and combine teams sooner than later. Early collaboration between architect and contractor—in a design-build or design-assist delivery method—will accelerate schedules and prevent expensive, time-intensive redesign. For example, making smart design choices in terms of where the major vertical circulation (i.e., stairs and elevators) is placed in a ground-up project can preserve substantial budget dollars.

Stronger, earlier collaboration on these elements avoids do-overs later, but challenges are bound to happen. Develop backup scenario plans in advance – this strategy will allow the team to rapidly and seamlessly shift to an acceptable plan B or C and avoid delays or cost overruns.

Build lean

Lean construction provides greater stability, reliability, efficiency and flexibility. A Lean builder can help navigate market conditions and material shortages and will maximize ROI by conducting ongoing research, monitoring economic trends and providing counsel on lifetime costs, environmental impact, inflation and more. Builders with Lean DNA are master planners and professionally trained in delivering optimally efficient projects, reducing waste during all stages of construction.

Dodge Data & Analytics research demonstrated that “high Lean-intensity projects” were three times more likely to complete ahead of schedule and two times more likely to complete under budget. Dodge found that of projects that did not implement Lean methods, 61% finished behind schedule and 49% completed over budget.

Expand the material mix

Evaluate and analyze substitute materials and systems to expand the menu of choices for all components of a building, including foundations, superstructures, framing, enclosures, systems, interior building materials and more. Working with the contractor and strategic trade partners early in the design phase can ensure that extending the list of acceptable substitutes does not compromise on safety, quality, durability or functionality. Every project has options.

Specifically, pre-cast concrete, ready-mix concrete and different wood species have become useful substitutes. On one recent project, the original plans called for Douglas Fir for the wood-framed structure, but the suppliers couldn’t guarantee delivery in time, so the team determined that Spruce Pine Fir would be a suitable alternate to maintain the construction schedule.

Procure materials earlier

Material prices are moving fast and furiously, causing daily uncertainty about how much a product could cost down the line. Working from real, data-driven expectations can aid in making material procurement decisions earlier. Buying materials earlier will typically result in cost savings and greater decision-making power about other factors later in the project. It mitigates unknown exposure to shortages and can ensure access to materials when needed.

Establish strategic budget reserves and a reinvestment plan

Try to carry extra contingency and avoid building to your max budget upfront. Build a strategic buffer, and, more importantly, a schedule of milestones for reassessing risk at the last responsible moment and gradually releasing reserved funds back into the project as risk diminishes. For instance, if your project budget is $15 million, target a spend of $14.5 million and then systematically release the balance if economic conditions improve. Converting surplus contingency adds real value and allows for adding project wish-list items such as upgraded finish materials, appliances, technology, landscaping and more.

The economy is uncertain, but the risks are tolerable and quantifiable. Lean, experienced builders know how to manage projects throughout increased volatility. A combination of these solutions—early team collaboration, Lean best practices, material flexibility and agility, and strategic budget reserves with reinvestment milestones – will help mitigate risky economic variables and ensure the reliable, on-time, on-budget delivery of your next construction project.

This article, authored by Skender’s Justin Brown and Dan Ulbricht, was originally published by Commercial Property Executive magazine.

Skender’s Joe Pecoraro to Moderate Webinar on Surging Material Costs, Impact on Affordable Housing

The Illinois Housing Council will host a webinar titled “Surging Material Costs and the Impact on Affordable Housing” on Tuesday, June 8. Skender Project Executive Joe Pecoraro will moderate the virtual event, which features a panel of experts, including David Brint, principal of Brinshore Development, and David Logan, director of tax and trade policy analysis at the National Association of Home Builders.

As the United States returns to pre-pandemic speeds and businesses fully reopen, economic volatility and supply chain constraints have led to construction material procurement challenges and soaring prices. Skender recently released material pricing data and solutions for building through supply shortages and rising prices.

To register for the event, please visit https://ilhousing.org/webinars/

 

‘Isolation Is The Enemy’: Next-Gen Office Designs Focus On Togetherness

Decision time is approaching for Chicago’s biggest office occupants. Companies that have been delaying their office return plans are now facing the choice of whether to renew their leases, find new space or even overhaul their entire real estate strategy.

“We’re seeing an uptick in tours and leasing activity, as well as clients who are ready to move forward with their pre-Covid real estate plans again,” said Andy Halik, a vice president at Skender who helps lead the Chicago construction firm’s interiors group. “They’re not looking to kick the can anymore.”

In Chicago, many of the companies setting the tone and pace of the return are those interested in the recently converted warehouses and new towers being developed in Fulton Market, an office submarket that has swelled over the last decade, attracting tech giants, law firms, design agencies and other corporations that pride themselves on culture driven by architecture and design.

The new challenge for these companies is not just to create spaces that are functional and cost-effective, but spaces that attract people to collaborate, coexist and build corporate culture, even for employees that may only be coming in a few times a week.

The yearlong experiment in working from home has shown companies the value of flexibility and how crucial it is to give employees control over how and where they work and even who they sit and work with on a daily basis. But 2020 has also revealed the negative impact on employee health when engaging with co-workers in an office environment isn’t an option.

“We are human, we want to coexist, and isolation is the enemy,” Halik said. “The challenge of designing an office now is creating a space that encourages flexibility while solving the problem of isolation by offering what the home office can’t provide: space that brings us together.”

Many of the companies in Fulton Market are anticipating that on average, their offices may only host around 70% of the staff that they hosted pre-pandemic, and Halik said most are looking to cut back slightly on their overall office footprints. But those reductions are likely to come from individual work areas, not collaboration and client experience space.

After a year of working alone and hosting video calls, the Fulton Market crowd expects its employees to be starved for collaboration and connection. Employees may choose to come into the office on days they need to meet face to face with colleagues, to give presentations or to welcome guests and visitors. Accordingly, conference rooms and other open areas for teams to meet are likely to stay the same or expand, as will event spaces to host celebrations or guest speakers. Those changes should make days spent in the office feel more purposeful and special, Halik said.

For many organizations, the idea that every employee must have a personal desk is fading. Halik said he is seeing more demand for nontraditional seating, including long high-top tables, as well as for spaces that can be cleared for large-scale gatherings and events. Some companies are creating online reservation systems for individual desks, while others are looking to create desk “neighborhoods” that allow small teams to gather for periods of a few weeks at a time to collaborate on projects.

At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the shoulder-to-shoulder density of modern offices was seen as a health risk. But as vaccinations become more widespread and fear of contracting Covid recedes, parts of the office may expand, but actual seating areas are likely to stay just as dense.

“Companies are looking to build more places for people to coexist and feel something that makes the office a compelling place to work,” Halik said.

Finishes that make the office beautiful — like biophilic design, art and wood accents — are on the rise, as are upgrades to daylight and air quality.

An office renovation or tenant improvement budget can be stretched a lot further by a contractor who knows the local market. Halik said that understanding the logistics of each building, localized construction activity and even parking within Fulton Market has given Skender clients more financial room to tailor their offices to their particular needs.

With the pace of vaccination rising, workforces may be ready to return to the office in a matter of months. But companies are also facing another deadline: While low demand kept construction pricing down during the pandemic, prices for tenant improvements and other small projects could shoot right back up as soon as the first wave of office users make their decisions.

“There is a real financial benefit to making a decision now, before others have jumped on the bandwagon,” Halik said. “We see the improvements in market confidence happening fast and when the tipping point comes, pricing advantages will quickly evaporate.”

This article originally appeared on Bisnow.com.

Ashlee Pforr Named to Crain’s 2021 Notable Women in Construction and Design

Congratulations to Skender Project Executive Ashlee Pforr on being named one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ Notable Women in Construction and Design. This is the second consecutive year that Ashlee has earned the editorial honor.

“The women featured here lead in all corners of the field,” according to the Crain’s Chicago Business feature, which recognized 65 professionals in its May 3 issue.

Ashlee was recognized for her leadership, mentorship and commitment to advancing the industry and her peers.

Click here to see the full feature at chicagobusiness.com.

Skender Named a Finalist for Two Interior Contractor of the Year Awards

Awards come from rewarding work. Skender is thrilled to be a finalist in both Interior Contractor of the Year award categories – owner projects and tenant projects – at this year’s Greater Chicago Food Depository Commercial Real Estate Awards.

In a year unlike any other for our real estate community, Skender led interior construction for anchor tenants in transformative developments including the Old Post Office, Bank of America Tower and 151 N. Franklin. In total, Skender delivered 1.3MSF of tenant interiors in these three buildings alone last year while balancing ambitious schedules, complex design and technological requirements, as well as the safety and livelihood of our employees, clients and partners during the global pandemic.

In addition to our tenant spaces, Skender partnered with leading building owners and managers to provide rapid-response asset repositioning, lobby updates, amenity spaces, rooftop decks, spec suites, infrastructure and energy efficiency upgrades, and more. For instance, at 2430 N Halsted, a new building dedicated to life sciences firms, Skender worked with Sterling Bay to build out first- and second-floor common areas, a reception area, four conference rooms, two staff offices, an upgraded HVAC system, new security and a tenant lounge.

Every step of the building process is collaborative and we are grateful for all those who helped make our 2020 tenant and owner interior projects a reality.

Click here to donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Pictured (clockwise from left): 110 N Wacker, The Old Post Office, 2430 N Halsted

Skender Breaks Ground on New, 16-unit Supportive Living Apartment Community in Matteson, Illinois

We are excited to break ground with OTR (Over The Rainbow Association) on Mustacchi Manor, a new, 16-unit supportive living apartment community designed by Weese Langley Weese Architects.

The building will join a 3-development campus on 10 acres of land in Matteson, Illinois, and is named in honor of longtime OTR board member and treasurer Roberto Mustacchi, who passed away in 2018.

Since 2015, Over the Rainbow, Weese Langley Weese and Skender have collaborated on four properties, totaling more than 100 units, providing independent living solutions for individuals with physical disabilities.

Watch the video of our Midtown Crossing Apartments construction project (completed in 2017) for OTR:

Chicago office designers envision post-pandemic workplaces that function and feel like neighborhoods

What will the post-pandemic office look like when workers return to downtown Chicago? One only needs to take a walk around their neighborhood to get an idea. At least this is what some top office interior designers and builders are saying as business leaders finally start preparing their strategies for bringing employees back downtown.

But another key theme that will come about from the tidal wave of the pandemic, and after spending more than a year working from home, will be the idea of control.

Having some semblance of control over the work environment will allow employees to feel safer, and when the workforce feels a deeper sense of security, then we can begin to move forward and get back to focusing on in-person collaboration and fostering company culture, Eric Gannon, a principal at the Chicago office of the global architecture firm Gensler, believes.

“The expectation now is that you’re returning to something different, and you’re returning to something that you have some control over,” says Gannon. “So, I think what that means is how you reserve or how you gauge the intention to what you need, and there’s an expectation that the space is flexible to us as individuals and what we might need to support our work.”

In addition to a flexible, hybrid model of work where employees can choose to work from the office or at home, there’s going to be changes to the office that give employees a similar sense of control that they have at home, Gannon adds. For example, allowing employees to directly adjust lighting at workstations, changing the temperature, or forming a workplace “bubble,” gives more autonomy to choose what feels most comfortable.

This focus on user control and autonomy in the workplace isn’t entirely new, but it’s something that’s being kicked into high gear because of the pandemic. And in many ways, it can also be viewed through the larger lens of the mainstream focus on wellness and fitness in recent years.

And then in terms of the actual layout and programming of any particular office, each company will have different needs, but the industry is moving away from a straight-forward open office environment to one that’s still largely open, but also intentionally planned.

“The open office was a product of real estate efficiency,” says Gannon. “We were crunching down desk sizes to fit more [people] and I think we believed for a while in the energy that was created in the ability to turn your chair around as a benefit to culture and to the work environment.”

Instead, the antidote to the current workplace conundrum in a post-pandemic world might be the office “neighborhood,” or a layout that looks towards urban planning for inspiration.

“When you think about a workspace from an urban planning construct, you’ve got the main plaza space that’s more communal and you’ve got smaller, more intimate type spaces,” Gannon says of the new way of thinking for office design. “So, I think that the modular approach to the neighborhood is a way to achieve flexibility but also prepare for ongoing change in the short term.”

Beyond the programming, the neighborhood concept is also different in the sense that it’s not a set-it and leave-it approach to office design, Gannon adds. Designers will have to continue periodically checking in with clients about what’s working and what’s not in order to make adjustments and changes to the office to better foster collaboration and productivity.

Andy Halik, a VP at Chicago-based Skender also sees a future for the neighborhood layout, or the “address-free office,” as he calls it. And we could start seeing these changes in the office sooner than later.

“Generally speaking, flexibility is more about how a business behaves rather than the space it offers,” Halik says of the oft-discussed theme of workplace flexibility. “The space that companies are offering are still very much driving what they used to be about, if not more so now, which is about culture, collaboration, and succeeding through this together.”

Halik says that there will certainly be a return to the office as companies have learned of some major caveats of having entire teams and staff working from home exclusively, including lower employee satisfaction, retention issues, and a sense of being disconnected or disengaged from colleagues, as well as the company’s mission and culture.

And regardless of office location, type, or layout, the big question that employers and office designers need to spend more time thinking about is what the office offers that working from home doesn’t.

“I’ve heard a lot of people forecast that lower density buildings or build-to-suit single occupier situations are going to be the hottest office properties out there, and I do think that demand for those types of buildings will go up,” Halik says. “But the reality has more to do with answering the question: What does the office provide that working from home does not? The buildings and the neighborhoods that answer that the best will be the ones to provide the most opportunities for people to be together, period.”

Afterall, there is an element to working in an office downtown that’s maybe not as easily defined — the sense of being part of something bigger than oneself.

Just the simple act of going into the office over the next couple of months may be enough for many workers to feel better about the changing world and workplace.

“I’ve been going downtown more, and every time I do, the anxiety wears off a bit of what it’s going to be like,” says Eric Gannon about heading into Gensler’s office in The Loop. “So I think that there is a very emotional, human piece of just doing it and getting used to it again.”

This article originally published in the April 2021 issue of Illinois Real Estate Journal.

Skender Named One of Crain’s 2021 Best Places to Work

Skender has been named one of the “Best Places to Work” by Crain’s Chicago Business for the fourth consecutive year. The award is designed to identify, recognize and honor the 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. Determining the Best Places to Work in Chicago involves a comprehensive evaluation of each participating company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics, as well as a separate assessment of employee experiences and perspectives. The complete list of winners, in alphabetical order, is available here.

This is the fifth time in eight years that Skender has earned the Crain’s recognition. In the last 15 years, Skender has won nearly 30 best-place-to-work awards by three different awarding bodies. If you’re interested in joining our team, please click here to see our open opportunities.

Skender Completes Construction of 45,000 SF Office, Retail Project for Herman Miller in Chicago

CHICAGO — Skender has completed construction of a 45,000-square-foot office and retail building for furniture company Herman Miller in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood. Located at 1100 W. Fulton St., the build-to-suit project preserved the existing building’s historical masonry while incorporating a new concrete structure to support the 100-year-old exterior.

Read the full article at REBusinessOnline.com >

Skender wraps up Bank of America buildout at 110 N. Wacker

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, 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.

Read the full article at REJournals.com >

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 pandemic 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.”

Construction sector showing signs of life despite COVID

When Rahm Emanuel was mayor, he would tout a simple metric as evidence Chicago was on the path of progress: the number of construction cranes on the city’s skyline.

By 2017, the count had risen to 33. Today’s tally? Just 12, according to the Chicago Department of Buildings.

Attribute the decline to the coronavirus pandemic, which interrupted a building boom that transformed the skyline and urban life in Chicago with new luxury apartment towers and trendy hotel and office projects. Construction starts in the Chicago area fell 25 percent in 2020, representing $10.1 billion in projects, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, a Hamilton, N.J.-based research firm.

But after being knocked down last year, the local construction industry is starting to get back on its feet. Some developers have shelved plans for big projects, unable to secure financing. But the pandemic merely delayed other developments. Construction executives are feeling a mix of relief that the worst is over and hope that a nascent recovery is already underway.

Read the full article, featuring commentary from Skender President & CEO Justin Brown, at chicagobusiness.com >

Skender Completes Interior Construction of 200,000 SF Walgreens Technology Center at Chicago Old Post Office

CHICAGO — Skender has completed the interior construction of the 200,000-square-foot Walgreens Technology Center of Excellence within Chicago’s Old Post Office. The office 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 office space spans multiple levels and features a staircase, open and private offices, collaboration and conferencing spaces, data rooms, lounge spaces and a kitchen.

Read the full article at REBusinessOnline.com > 

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.

609 W Randolph Begins Construction in Chicago’s West Loop Gate

A new 15-story office building has begun construction at 609 W. Randolph in Chicago’s West Loop Gate neighborhood.

The project will span over 100,000 sf and is being developed on a surface parking lot adjacent to an existing five-story building. The facade will keep in line with the neighborhood feel and consist primarily of masonry with complementary steel, metal panel, and exterior glazing. It will also include a granite base.

The building will be a four-minute walk from the Clinton CTA station and a three-minute walk from Ogilvie Transportation Center. Skender is building the project, which is being developed by Vista Property Group.

Read the full article at Building Design & Construction > 

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.

Redevelopment of Space for Booming Life Sciences Firms

As the race for a vaccine or widely available treatment for COVID-19 kicks into high gear, many life sciences firms are looking to ramp up their production capacity — for this and future public health crises. With this anticipated growth in production volume comes the need for more lab space. But when looking for space to expand, life sciences firms may need to look beyond space specifically built for life sciences and identify sites that have been redeveloped into lab space.

Developers are taking note that some markets that have the assets of a life science cluster — such as proximity to large medical and university campuses and quality-of-life benefits for a growing workforce — haven’t yet actualized into a cluster, and they have an opportunity to seize the moment. Such developers are building new offices and research facilities and converting old structures into labs. Economic development commissions also have the opportunity to partner with developers to help bring the pieces together to draw life sciences companies and create these new clusters.

An Eye to Distinct Requirements
When looking for the right space, life sciences firms should partner with developers, designers, and a construction team that will redevelop the space with an eye to the nuances and distinct requirements of labs, such as ceiling height, mechanical and HVAC systems, and space for lab equipment. Since each type of lab — chemistry, biology, pharmacological, etc. — looks different and requires unique equipment, a first-time lab developer that goes with a one-size-fits-all approach probably won’t appease its lab tenants.

Specific improvements for different lab users could include more fume hoods and sinks for chemical labs; extra room for negative air pressure chambers and changing rooms to keep parasites from escaping the lab for biology researchers; and more specialized temperature and humidity controls to keep samples safe for pharmaceutical scientists.

But labs aren’t the only part of life sciences workspace — researchers spend a surprising amount of time at their desks or in conference rooms. Some developers think that the only focus should be the lab — which is certainly important — but savvy developers know the office space is just as much of a priority for researchers. Life sciences firms should look for development and construction teams that know how to balance lab and office space to bring to life a full workplace.

Read the full article, authored by Skender’s Jeff Janicek, at areadevelopment.com > 

Construction wraps up 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-square-foot, 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.

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

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.

Read the full article at REJournals.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.

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.

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 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.

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.

 

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.