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Chicago – – Mortenson Construction has converted three buildings in the Chicago Loop Retail Historic District into modern, energy-efficient federal office facilities for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA.) The $26 million modernization project encompassed nearly a half-block of Chicago’s Loop along State Street north of Jackson and involved working closely with the City of Chicago and historic preservation groups.
Demand for office space in these types of upgraded properties is rising. “More cost-efficient, high-quality buildings in the Loop, River North and elsewhere downtown are attracting A-list tenants. Hillshire Brands’ headquarters move to a West Loop office building is just the latest example of this trend,” says Greg Werner, vice-president and general manager for Mortenson’s Chicago office. “A Michigan Avenue address is no longer mandatory for top-tier companies.”
Much of Mortenson’s work for GSA centered on 10 W. Jackson, the site of the old Bond Department Store, which had been empty for more than five years when the project began. Mortenson gutted the 6-story, 131,200 square foot building, removing a freight elevator to relocate the main entrance to the north. With its entrance now located at 11 West Quincy, the building is better integrated into the federal campus that includes the Dirksen Federal Building, John C. Kluczynski Federal Building and Loop Station Post Office.
The team also installed a new roof and plumbing and electrical systems, including building an electrical vault in the basement when the existing one couldn’t be updated. Mortenson completely refurbished the passenger and service elevators with new motors, cabs and controllers. It added modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning that use occupancy and carbon dioxide sensors to optimize energy use, such as automatically opening and closing window shades.
With a design reminiscent of an open bird’s beak, Mortenson extended the 2 through 6 floors on the north side of the building and replaced a brick wall with floor-to-ceiling windows to bring in natural light. The window glass is etched diagonally with the words of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. The effect of this frit work on the exterior echoes the Lines in Four Directions wall relief by Sol Le Witt at 10 W. Jackson. On the building’s east side, Mortenson preserved the building’s original floor-to-ceiling windows and installed energy-efficient windows behind that historic curtain wall.
At the other two GSA buildings, at 18 W. Jackson Blvd. and 230 S. State St., Mortenson installed reflective white membrane roofs to improve insulation and reduce the cooling load. It also restored the glass blocks and cleaned the terra cotta exterior of 230 S. State and installed a sprinkler system at 18 W. Jackson, which is a 100-year-old wooden structure.
About Mortenson Construction
Founded in 1954, Mortenson Construction is a U.S.-based, privately held construction company. As one of the nation's top builders, Mortenson provides a complete range of services, including planning, program management, preconstruction, general contracting, construction management, design-build, and development. With a local office in Chicago, Mortenson has additional offices in Minneapolis, Denver, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Seattle and international operations in Canada and China.