Walsh Construction – 1001 South State Street

Walsh 1001 South State Street

Walsh Construction is building a 40-story high-rise for apartments and ground-floor retail in the heart of Chicago’s coveted South Loop.

By Russ Gager

When people want to live in downtown Chicago, they frequently gravitate to the city’s more established North Side. But when they learn the price of renting there, they hesitate until they explore the city’s more economical Near South Side. Underdeveloped for decades, it now is experiencing a resurgence with new residential construction, renovation and development of retail, restaurants and educational and cultural amenities.

That is where Walsh Construction is building a new 40-story, 397-unit high-rise apartment building named 1001 South State Street that will feature amenities galore and retail on the ground floor. Developed by Golub and Co. – which Walsh Construction has worked with before, and is currently working with on 545 McClurg – the building will feature 124 efficiencies, 192 one-bedroom units, 74 two-bedroom apartments and seven three-bedroom layouts.

Additionally, on its fifth-floor podium, it will feature on the south deck an outdoor pool with cabanas, a hot tub, lounge and terrace. The north deck will include a birch grove, walking trails, grills and additional seating areas.

Also in the building will be a kitchen, a private dining area for up to 15 guests, fresh herbs grown in a living biowall, a fitness center with a yoga room and a spa, game and media rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout and a dog run and wash. Floors two through four will have 248 parking spaces along with bicycle storage and repair and additional amenities.

A restaurant is tentatively scheduled for the first floor along with additional retail. The first tier of apartments will begin on the sixth floor and extend to floor 36. That tier will have 12 units per floor. Floors 37 through 39 will have eight units per floor. The 40th floor will feature a single penthouse, more amenities such as an event room, a clubroom and an outdoor roof terrace.

The building is aiming for LEED Silver certification. In addition to a combined U-factor of 0.291 for the window wall system, a minimum of 75 percent of the project’s waste will be diverted from landfills. Thirty percent of the material will be regionally procured. The HVAC system exceeds the ASHRAE requirements, which will give the project four points for LEED credit energy and an atmosphere credit of one. The building also will have a green roof and receive LEED points for being located near multiple public transportation options.

Piling On

Walsh Construction is self-performing the concrete and rough carpentry for the structure. The general contractor also drove approximately 70 linear feet of sheet piles approximately 30 feet deep for the building, which has no levels below grade.

Approximately 65 caissons were drilled for the building by a subcontractor. “We had eight in the core that are rock caissons, and those went 90 feet deep,” Project Manager Matthew Thunstedt explains. “The balance of the caissons were shallower and are approximately 65 feet deep.” Thunstedt estimates that from 40 to 50 subcontractors will work on the project.

The site had most recently been a parking lot, so no demolition was required. “It’s a very tight site,” Thunstedt points out. “We’re operating from lot line to lot line, so logistics are a challenge. We coordinate our deliveries pretty tightly. Senior Superintendent Jon Olsen schedules deliveries down to the hour weeks in advance.”

An additional challenge next to the site is Chicago’s historic elevated tracks, on which trains travel that are operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). “We’re always keeping safety in mind and making sure we’re working safely when we’re near the tracks,” Thunstedt emphasizes. “Safety is an integral part of the culture at Walsh and has been part of our work plan for 1001 S. State since day one. We’re in constant contact with the CTA to inform them of what we’re doing and maintain good relationships there.” Separate meetings with the crews are held whenever there is work near the CTA tracks.

Only one street had to be closed during the project for more than a week to construct a connection to the city’s water system. “We coordinated with the city and the water department and got the proper permits in place for advance planning, so the CTA could reroute their buses and make their arrangements,” Thunstedt recalls. “We excavated to expose the water main, and then we tied our incoming service into that water main. The water department came out to be a part of that, and when we were finished, it was a matter of back-filling and restoring the street.”

Window Savings

Walsh Construction worked on the plans for 1001 South State Street with the architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) before construction began in December 2014. The construction cost of $100 million was negotiated. “There was a period of preconstruction where we were able to work through the budget with the developer and the plans with the architect and worked out many details in advance so construction could proceed smoothly,” Thunstedt remembers.

One major savings was on the window wall system. “Finding glass that met the budget and energy requirements that was acceptable to SCB was a challenge,” Thunstedt says. “The glass is a critical component of the job and is a good example of value-engineering where it was a win for everybody. The architect and owner are happy, and we get to build it. It’s just working with our subcontractors, vendors and suppliers and showing them the requirements and working with SCB to find the right piece of glass that works on the job.”

Building information modeling was used for the plans and PlanGrid software is being used for the project’s punch list. “It’s part of our quality control plan which includes document management, predrywall inspections and a punchlist,” Thunstedt says. “It’s a way we have access to the drawings via tablet. Several foremen are using tablets with the drawings.”

Besides preconstruction, Thunstedt attributes the success of the project – which is scheduled for completion in fall – to the quality of its subcontractors. “We were able to work with a number of our subcontractors during preconstruction that we’ve used on other projects,” he says. “We selected the ones best suited for the project. The developer has been very good to work with and provided good support.”

Thunstedt acknowledges Walsh Construction Senior Project Manager Ken Chura, who has worked exclusively on high-rises for the last 15 years, and the experienced staff. “The Walsh team here has been very good,” he stresses. “There’s good cohesion between the staff members, developer and architects.”

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