ENR Midwest Honors Award Winners

ENR Midwest held its annual awards breakfast on Dec. 3 at the Renaissance Chicago downtown to honor the winners of its Best Projects competition. Thirty-five project teams received awards and the 41st Street Pedestrian Arch Bridge over Lake Shore Drive won the coveted Project of the Year award. The project was recognized for the challenges of  having to cross rail lines and Lake Shore Drive to connect a park in Chicago’s South Side to the lakefront and for the beautiful, arched structure with serpentine approaches that made it possible. Design Firm of the Year HNTB, Owner of the Year MidAmerican Energy, Special Contractor of the Year Gaylor Electric and Contractor of the Year Pepper Construction also received their awards at the breakfast. Best Projects judges Steve Zimmerman, associate principal at WJE, and Laura Young, principal of Griskelis Young Harrell, also attended.


Mechanical Contractors Association Holds Holiday Party

The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago had its holiday party Dec. 11 under the newly renovated ceiling of Chicago Union Station. President Brian Helm, president of Helm Group and Mechanical Inc., recognized outstanding members of the organization and gave out year-end awards before dinner. The MCA represents more than 400 union contractors who service and install technologically advanced and energy-efficient heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and process piping systems across the region.


$1.7-Billion National Geospatial Agency Headquarters Breaks Ground in St. Louis

The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency’s new $1.7-billion Next NGA West (N2W) campus, which broke ground Nov. 26, will be built on a 97-acre site in the St. Louis Place neighborhood at Jefferson and Cass avenues in North St. Louis. It is planned to be the largest single federal government investment in St. Louis history. The new campus will replace the current NGA facility located south of downtown St. Louis. Representatives from the design-build team of McCarthy Building Cos. of St. Louis; HITT Contracting Inc. of Falls Church, Va.; Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp. of Overland Park, Kan.; San Francisco-based Gensler; and Akima LLC  of Herndon, Va., were all on hand as well as several federal officeholders and leaders of agencies.

Vice Admiral Robert Sharp, director of the NGA, said, “We are excited to be here, and we look forward to making connections. Our single greatest strength is our people and our partners. We are honored to be part of the St. Louis community.”

Others on hand for the groundbreaking included Sen. Roy Blunt, (R, Mo.), Gov. Mike Parson (R), U.S. Representative Lacy Clay (D, Mo.) whose district includes the site, Acting Director of the National Intelligence Agency Joseph Maguire, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who is chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D, Calif.).

“I thank McCarthy/HITT for your commitment to make certain the workforce that builds this facility looks like the community it is in,” Congressman Clay said. “Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank the residents of this great neighborhood, many of whom stayed here for generations through blight and neglect. You never gave in, you never gave up.”


Michigan Avenue Starbucks Opens

A Starbucks Reserve Roastery opened on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue to capacity crowds Nov. 15. The café was a former Crate & Barrel store, and its three-floor interior renovation by Pepper Construction included a new spiral escalator and “percolator” feature that makes patrons going up the escalator the “coffee grounds” and the escalator a virtual pot of coffee. At 35,000 sq ft, it is the largest Starbucks in the world. Perkins + Will assisted Starbucks’ in-house team on the interior design.