Chicago Facility Case Study: Storage Central

By Anne Cosgrove
Published in the April 2008 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Since2000, the “Pershing Road Complex” located at 1819-69 W. Pershing Roadin Chicago had been virtually vacant. The five building facility,constructed in 1918 as a supplies depot for the U.S. Army, wastransferred to the city’s Board of Education (BOE) in 1979, whichoccupied much of the complex for 19 years.

In 1998, the BOEbegan consolidating its operations to a downtown location, with a smallportion of its facilities remaining at the complex. In 2000, the BOEvacated the buildings and transferred ownership to the City of Chicago,and the building came under the purview of the Department of GeneralServices (DGS).

Pershing Road Complex - 1 Photo: City of Chicago

At that point, the BOE was using small areasof the complex for functions such as payroll administration and acentral mail unit. But, in 2003 city officials began to discuss thepotential for central storage in the West Building of the complex at1869 W. Pershing, and DGS, under the leadership of Commissioner MichiE. Peña, was part of that discussion. Motivating the conversation wasthe desire to reduce citywide costs, as the city had identified thepossibility of consolidating its warehousing space as a way to movetoward this goal.

Pershing Road Complex - 2 Photo: City of Chicago

Ivan Hansen, project manager for the city,explains, “The leased facilities were represented by a lot ofwarehousing. There was a good deal of opportunity in consolidatingleased space to reduce expenses and improve operational efficiencies.During our evaluation it came to our attention that the Board ofElections needed to move from its leased space. It is a big user, so wewere able to tie that into the premise of redoing the building.”

Inorder to present a case to invest in warehouse consolidation, Hansenand fellow project manager, Matthew Beach, provided calculations oncontinued leasing versus relocating multiple warehouses to 1869 W.Pershing.

SaysHansen, “We showed what our savings would be by bringing the Board ofElections into the building versus construction costs and payback.” Itwas determined that moving the Board of Elections to 1869 W. Pershingwould save the city substantial rental costs annually. “That was a bigpush to get the project approved,” explains Hansen.

Beachelaborates, “The budget office had originally directed [DGS] to figureout ways to save money with regard to warehousing. We owned this largebuilding, which was a good candidate; before you build new, you seewhat’s existing. We wanted to provide a value decision: ‘This is whatit will cost on a square foot basis based on the amount of square feetwe know we currently need for leased space.’ This took into accountcosts for new lease space, build out, telecom, and data infrastructure.We tried to come up with a value decision to find out where it would besmart money to invest in a facility like this, which would be apermanent home.”

The central location also tipped the scalesfor project approval. “This building is four blocks from the mostcentral point of the City of Chicago,” says Hansen. “The complex isminutes away from several expressways and main arterial roads. We savea huge number of manpower hours in terms of those spent driving to andfrom warehouses throughout the city.”

Creating The Space

Withthe Board of Elections set to be the largest occupant of 1869 W.Pershing, the project team began the space planning process.

Pershing Road Complex - 3 Photo: City of Chicago

Comprisedof six stories and a basement, the West Building could provide up to600,000 square feet of space, with each floor containing about 90,000square feet. The Board of Elections would occupy close to two floors inthe building.

David M. Madia, an architect for the city,suggested that the team retains the services of an architectural andengineering firm to evaluate and prepare a set of drawings covering theexisting AE disciplines. With nearly 100 years of history and multipleowners, the building had undergone substantial changes since itsoriginal construction, and what little drawings existed did not alwaysprovide a clear picture of the facility.

Explains Hansen,“This gave us a good starting point to lay things out. I think that wasone of the best decisions we made—to get ourselves a working set ofdrawings.”

Pershing Road Complex - 4 Photo: City of Chicago

Thefirst floor was programmed for four occupants with the remaining 18,000square feet of common/open space to serve as a staging and loading areato the 10 dock areas and three freight elevators for all occupants. Theentire second and third floors were allocated for the Board ofElections, which would also have its administrative field officesthere. (The 3,777 square foot office space was designed to achieve LEEDfor Commercial Interiors (CI) certification from the U.S. GreenBuilding Council; approval is pending.)

DGS had a list ofdepartments that might come into the building. Says Hansen, “Weidentified departments that were in leased space in order to determinepotential occupants. Then we laid out the square footages they wouldneed. Once that was done, we were comfortable that we could fiteverybody.”

The DGS team also solicited input from potentialend users in order to plan. Says Nicholas Ahrens, Deputy Commissionerof DGS, “The major occupant is the Board of Elections. Meeting withthem to get a full idea of their program, what was involved, and howtheir operation functions helped us and the architects to lay out veryprecisely the most efficient space for them and for our building.”

Madiadesigned a typical floorplan for the remaining floors that met fireexiting requirements and circulation to elevators. The floorplan wasdivided into six different size spaces with the flexibility ofcombining space for larger tenants.

“We divided each floorinto six spaces,” he explains. “Each contains a small office area for asupervisor along with three cubicles. There is also an open space toserve as a conference area and breakroom, as well as a copy and faxarea.”

In addition to the Board of Elections, city departmentsand programs that migrated early to the facility were: Department ofHuman Services; Fire Department; Department of Revenue; CommunityAlternative Policing Strategy (CAPS); Gallery 37; and After SchoolMatters. Incoming occupants are The Mayor’s Office of Special Eventsand the Police Department.

Back To The Future

Renovating1869 W. Pershing required attention to basic facility systems. Inaddition to outdated or inefficient equipment, there was a fair amountof deferred maintenance in the building.

Ahrens explains,“There was a lot of work in terms of demolition and systems that hadbeen neglected. As we became more intimate with the buildings, werealized that a large amount of rehab work would have to be done tobring them up to speed.”

From the building systems standpoint,the team needed to implement fire alarm and sprinkler upgrades; changesto achieve compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA);and new HVAC and lighting systems. Elevators and restrooms were alsopart of the renovation.

In replacing HVAC and lighting, theproject team took the opportunity to implement energy efficiency andcontrols technology. “Promoting energy efficiencies in the city’swarehouse spaces was another issue that came up during discussions,”explains Hansen.

A building automation system (BAS) enablesthe building engineer to specify heating and cooling set points and tocontrol lighting timers for appropriate areas. “Many spaces are notoccupied all the time,” says Hansen. “So a lot of thought went intolaying out the lighting controls and the BAS system.”

Ongoing Move In

Goingforward, future occupants of 1869 W. Pershing include the HealthDepartment, as well as furniture storage. DGS keeps a list of otherpotential occupants as those departments express interest in relocatingtheir operations. Full occupancy is scheduled for 2011, and DGS remainsconfident in the decision to renovate 1869 W. Pershing.

SaysAhrens, “We had a base that was well worth the investment because ofthe substantial way the buildings were put together. They were builtsolid; the foundations were very substantial as was the rest of theconstruction. The buildings need some loving restoration, and they’llbe good for another 100 years.”

This article was based on an interview with Ahrens, Beach, Duffin, Hansen, and Madia.

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Project Information:

Organization: City of Chicago, Department of General Services (DGS).

Type of Facility: Existing.

Function of Facility: Warehousing/Distribution.

Location: Chicago, IL.

Square Footage: 600,000.

Budget: $41 million.

Construction Timetable: Completion 2011.

Cost Per Square Foot: $68.

Facility Owner: City of Chicago.

Facility Manager: DGS, Bureau of Trades & Engineers.

CityProject Design Team: Nicholas Ahrens, Deputy Commissioner, DGS; DavidM. Madia, coordinating architect; Ivan Hansen, project manager; MatthewBeach, project manager.

City Project Construction Team: DGS,Bureau of Trades & Engineers; Department of Streets &Sanitation, Bureau of Electricity.

Architect: HOH Architects, Inc.

General Contractors: Old Veteran Construction Co.; Ideal Heating; Mid-American Elevator.

Construction Manager: Cotter Consulting.

Electrical Engineer/ Mechanical Engineer/ Structural Engineer/Lighting Designer: HOH Engineers, Inc.

Interior Designer: DGS, Bureau of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Management.

Product Information:

Furniture/Seating: Knoll.

Ceilings: Armstrong.

BuildingManagement System/Services: Niagara Framework with LonMark, BACnet, andModbus devices for central plant, terminal control and energy metering;Environmental Systems, Inc. (systems integrator).

Security System/Alarms: Niagara Framework with NovusEdge access control.

CCTV: Niagara Framework with Pelco cameras and DVRs.

Smart Cards: HID Proximity Cards.

Fire Alarms: Notifier.

Safety Equipment: Cornell (rescue assistance).

Lighting Controls: Niagara Framework with Square D PowerLink.

Lighting Fixtures: Hydrel (lobby and exterior ground lights).

HVAC Equipment: Thermosystems/McQuay (air handling units); Bryan Boilers; Evapco, Inc. (cooling tower).

Power Supply Equipment: Cummins NPower.

Signage: GF Structure.

Windows/Curtainwalls/Skylights: Entry Door; Tubelite, Inc.

Wheel Chair Lift: Garaventa Accessibility.

Renovated Elevators: MCE Controller; EMS Group.



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