News / 11.29.17

150 N. Riverside Wins ENR Midwest Project of the Year

Epstein civil engineers for this 54-story high-rise office building

ENR Midwest, the regional off-shoot of ENR Magazine, has just released its list of the best projects for 2017 and 150 N. Riverside was chosen as Project of the Year. For this 54-story commercial high-rise building, Epstein provided civil engineering services to Riverside Investment and Development (formerly O’Donnell Investment Company). Located in Chicago, 150 N. Riverside was designed by Goettsch Partners and features construction over the air rights of existing Amtrak rail lines, reconstruction of the existing river wall, and modification to the Lake Street and Randolph Street bridge structures for access and pedestrian crosswalk signals. 

Epstein’s civil engineers were challenged by 150 N. Riverside’s unique site constraints. The building’s site was not only located near the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River but only the building core could touch down onto the tiny ½ acre parcel in order to fit between Amtrak tracks to the west and the Chicago River to the east. 


Lacking any utilities and with a maximum width of only 85’, the project required creative solutions by Epstein’s civil engineers. The on-site improvements were constrained by the tight clearance requirements over the Amtrak rail lines which required a resourceful approach to the routing of the overhead sanitary sewer service. Epstein designed the sanitary service to be hung from the Lake Street bridge structure across the entire width of the Amtrak right-of-way, thus avoiding the need to jack and bore under the tracks and avoiding the need for a lift station; saving schedule and cost to the project.

The entire design team, client, and contractor (Clark Construction) also worked closely with the Chicago Department of Water Management (CDWM) and Amtrak for their approval during the design and installation of the water services. The only allowable option by the CDWM for the water services was between an existing Amtrak rail line and the existing Randolph Street Bridge House. Once the earth retention system was designed between the existing tracks and building, the space left over to fit utilities was approximately 7’ wide. Within this space there needed to be room for two-12” water services, three specially sized valve basins, and two-14” chilled water pipes. In some areas pipes needed to be stacked in order to make everything fit.

In addition, a public plaza was created from an overbuild over the Amtrak tracks at the level of the two roadway viaducts north and south. What used to be an inaccessible gravel covered site with 100% runoff was transformed into a public plaza with 56% landscaped area. Stormwater from the overbuild plaza and the building green roof is now routed by pipe to the east edge of the site where it is filtered before discharging into the Chicago River. This piece of sustainable design helped 150 N. Riverside achieve LEED BD+C Gold: Core and Shell v3 - LEED 2009 certification.


Lastly, maintaining the construction schedule was critical to the project. Epstein was responsible for obtaining permits and approvals from public agencies such as the Office of Underground Coordination, Chicago Department of Transportation, CDWM, Chicago Building Department, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Historic Preservation District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the City of Chicago Fire Department and Amtrak. All site permits were obtained within 10 months from start of design which allowed the owner to begin construction on schedule.

Congratulations go out to the Riverside Development, Geottsch Partners and the entire design team, Clark Construction and, especially, our civil engineering team of John Karlovitz, PE, Dave Hilty, PE, and Andrius Valinskas for a job very well done!