Mortenson Construction renovates three historic federal buildings

January 30, 2013  |  Staff Writer  |  Print Article  |  Email this Article


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. 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,” said 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 six-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 W. 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 could not 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.

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.

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