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Owner's Representation and On-Site Construction Observation for this project involving the adaptive reuse and renovation of the historic 10-story, 500,000 sq. ft., Rand McNally Headquarters and Printing Plant in Chicago. Built in 1912, the structure covers a city block. It had a large, center light court used as a secured loading dock and parking area and a steam-powered, electrical generating (DC) station to power the building and the printing presses.


The five top floors housing the EPA and DEA were to remain occupied and fully functional during the work. The operations included the development of court sensitive results and long-running environmental data collection located on several laboratory floors. They also housed evidence and maintained crisis management facilities.

Budget management was under constant siege due to undocumented and hidden conditions left from previous modifications over 90 years, and the general conditions associated with an old structure; mitigation of several layers of hazardous materials; fixing non-code conforming emergency exiting and a deteriorating façade (once abutting adjacent buildings that were removed for the installation of Congress Parkway and a subway).

A near total redevelopment of the existing mechanical supply and conditioning systems to accommodate the expansion of interior spaces for computer facilities and the enclosure of the light court below a skylight and roof system. The mechanical system upgrade included the use of under floor air distribution for four of the five floors, to take advantage of the large windows along the exterior facades.

The installation of 70-foot long steel beams into the new enclosed light court to carry the weight of the skylight at the 8th floor and the roof and floor of the two-story ceremonial courtroom at the third floor.

Benefits to Client

Significant benefits were achieved for our client, including: urban renewal; the development of a prime downtown location providing immediate access to public transit; consolidation of functions from multiple locations; successfully addressing significant security requirements; and achieving LEED certification.

The owner was able to consolidate the majority of the immigration activities of the Department of Homeland Security in Chicago with the complete interior demolition of the five floors above grade and 75% of the basement. The facility provides for the latest in security control, computer documentation, and interviewing. It also houses two small courtrooms, a 300 seat ceremonial courtroom, a detention facility, and a large lobby and waiting area for immigrants that is also used to display artwork.


$54 million + a $6 million change order for a late upgrade of additional security measures for blast mitigation to the four exterior facades. This change order included reinforcing the window glass, window frames and the masonry piers.


The design process started in 2000 (prior to 9-11) and construction began in September, 2003 with a September, 2006 completion.

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