December 14, 2021
Coming in at no. 36 in our Top 100 Project countdown is 71. S. Wacker. This 1,800,000-square-foot, 48-story office building is on a one-half block site bounded by Wacker Drive, Monroe Street, Franklin Street and Arcade Place in Chicago, Illinois.
The project incorporates approximately 300,000 square feet of office space for the Pritzker Companies, including, at the time of completion: The Hyatt Hotel’s corporate headquarters; 475,000 square feet for the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw; 270,000 square feet for commercial banking firm Goldman Sachs; and 430,000 square feet of speculative office space. Two below-grade levels provide parking and one mezzanine level contains food service and a health club facility for the building tenants.
Epstein was the coordinating architect and the architect of record, working in conjunction with design architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
In addition to architectural services, Epstein provided structural engineering services to continuously provide value-engineering ideas to improve building function and reduce construction costs. The city of Chicago selected Epstein as the structural peer reviewer of the structural designs to assist the city with the permit review process.
Epstein also provided civil design and construction administration services as well. The civil engineering and site work for this project was more involved than most typical downtown developments due to the project location, adjacent to Wacker Drive, a bi-level roadway system. Typical sidewalk, curb, driveways, utility service connections and landscape coordination issues normally associated with a downtown development were addressed at two different street levels.
The sidewalks along Monroe and Franklin, the west boundary of the site, were vaulted sidewalks in the past and several large ComEd vaults are still located in these sidewalks. This condition significantly complicated the issues involved in reconstructing the sidewalks and curbs.
Wacker Drive was scheduled to be reconstructed shortly after the anticipated completion of the building. Coordination with CDOT, with respect to not only the existing condition of Wacker Drive but the future condition of Wacker Drive was a significant issue.
A street lighting improvement project, begun by the city and the city’s landscaping requirements for street trees along Monroe and Franklin, including sub-soil drainage for the trees, required a considerable coordination effort with the various agencies involved.