On Jan. 5, the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois hosted its virtual January dinner meeting on Zoom. Attendees saw a presentation from Eric Wheeler, senior associate at Thornton Tomasetti, and Lynda Leigh, project executive at Turner Construction, on the project requirements for the base transformation of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), now nearing its 50th year of operation. The pair discussed the engineering and construction challenges in creating a new experience for tenants and visitors.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has named Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) and James Corner Field Operations to lead the team designing a new expansion of the Rock Hall in Cleveland. Cooper Robertson is partnered with PAU as part of the design team and Robert P Madison International (RPMI) is on the design team as the architect of record. The addition to the museum will also serve as a connector to the Great Lakes Science Center.

The Illinois Tollway awarded Walsh Construction a $182.6-million contract for roadway and bridge reconstruction of the southbound Mile Long Bridge on the Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) during its August meeting. The contract also includes $34.7 million going to diverse and veteran-owned firms. The northbound lanes were completed last summer by contractor F.H. Paschen.

Northpoint Development’s second distribution facility at Gateway Tradeport in Pontoon Beach, Ill., was recently completed. Contegra Construction Co. built the 544,000-sq-ft warehouse six months after completing the first distribution center at the development. Gateway Tradeport was launched in 2019. It is a 600-acre master planned industrial park with more than 7.5 million sq ft of distribution space. 

Developer Eterra Plus’ residential mixed-use project at 525 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago has cleared its first hurdle toward construction in the Chicago City Council. The $300-million, two-tower development will have hotel and residential units and be connected by a retail, residential and parking podium. The project was designed by BKV Group and its lead designer Renato Gilberti, along with landscape architect Site Design Group. Eterra hopes contractor Walsh Construction can begin construction this fall.

James McHugh Construction, acting as general contractor, recently completed NEMA Chicago for Miami-based developer Crescent Heights. Located in Chicago’s South Loop and reaching 76 stories, NEMA Chicago is the tallest all-residential building in Chicago. The residential tower was designed by architect Raphael Vinoly.

“Through constant collaboration with the owner, architect and subcontractors, the project met the intent of the designers and was delivered on budget and ahead of schedule,” said Dave Steffenhagen, McHugh Construction senior project manager on NEMA Chicago.

The board of directors and the strategic council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently honored Moody Nolan with its 2021 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The AIA Architecture Firm Award is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architectural practice. The award recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years. Moody Nolan is an African American-owned and operated design firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with 11 offices across the U.S. AIA cited the firm’s history of serving clients with a knowledge of cultural sensitivities as well as a deep understanding of the impact its work has on individuals and communities.

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission selected Woolpert on Dec. 10 as design engineer for the replacement of two bridges over Tinkers Creek on the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80) in Summit County. Woolpert will provide bridge and roadway design, maintenance of traffic, survey, mobile lidar and unmanned aircraft system mapping as well as manage the geotechnical and environmental engineering for the project. The bridges will be designed in 2021, and construction is expected to take place in 2023 and 2024.