Benuzzi’s Industrial Guide
By: Tom Beres, P.E., Vice President
McShane Construction Company
Chicago’s industrial construction activity has been steadily increasing over the past 24 months. The market’s drop in vacancy reflects the accumulated pent-up demand caused by the lengthy duration of the recent recession. As we’ve proceeded further into the recovery, companies have been executing strategies to capture the growing economy by improving their location, supply chain economics and repositioning into more modern facilities. Activity in the market has reduced the supply of available modern industrial space in the Chicago market, thereby forming the opportunity to take advantage of new construction. In the past several years, new construction was practically non- existent with the exception of the occasional build-to-suit such as the recent Orbus Exhibit & Display Group facility completed by McShane Construction Company.
Orbus Exhibit & Display Group
Since its establishment in 2001, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group has experienced substantial growth and expansion. By 2013, the privately-owned group of companies was operating two separate locations in Bolingbrook and Niles, Illinois. Positive market fundamentals and a successful growing business prompted Orbus to explore consolidation options that would place its custom exhibit manufacturing capabilities and its portable display production and distribution operations under one roof. Enlisting the expertise of Jack Rosenberg, SIOR, and Jack Rosenberg, SIOR, and Fred Regnery of Colliers International, the firm evaluated existing buildings and land sites throughout the greater Chicagoland area.
The facility features 272,511 square feet of 32′ clear warehouse space, 20 dock doors and a 20,000 square foot production area. A two-floor, 55,000 square foot office component serves as the firm’s corporate headquarters. Accessed through a two-story atrium lobby, the office incorporates specialized areas highlighting the Orbus brand including numerous private offices and open workstations, conference rooms, a training room and a first and second floor kitchen. To accommodate future growth, the building was designed and constructed to support an 82,000 square foot expansion and a 100-car parking addition.
“While the building needed to be flexible enough to meet our future growth, it was critically important for the space within the facility to create a comfortable, productive and unique work environment for our employees. The building also needed to project an image reflective of our culture and our clients. After extensive planning efforts, the design of the building accomplished each of these goals,” said Douglas.
One of the most compelling reasons to utilize design/build construction is the precise control of the project’s schedule. The approach allows design and construction to work simultaneously, eliminating large blocks of time from a tight schedule while still allowing full decision-making and collaboration between the owner and design/builder. With a September 2013 groundbreaking, McShane’s design/build strategy allowed construction to commence rapidly to achieve building enclosure by late December. In a sophisticated office and warehouse environment such as the Orbus facility, the flexibility of constructing to the specifications of the various department requirements also fostered a positive outcome.
The value of a decisive and collaborative client cannot be overstated. The Orbus professionals were expertly skilled in both the construction process and scheduling parameters, lending a high level of insight into the execution of the facility’s design/build construction.
Construction of the Orbus build-to-suit facility began in September 2013 with a fast track schedule and final delivery in May 2014. The strategic planning and timing of the relocation was executed so that it would minimally impact Orbus’ dealer partners. Remarkably, Orbus’ sales and administration did not experience any downtime. “The magnitude of our combined Orbus operation makes us one of the largest portable and custom modular display companies in the USA,” remarked Douglas. “We have great excitement and expectations for what we can achieve with unified operations.”
Based upon the activity that the Chicago area continues to enjoy within the industrial market, it’s anticipated that market fundamentals will remain strong throughout 2015 channeling additional opportunities for build-to-suit construction assignments. We look forward to the continued growth of Chicago’s industrial market and to the launch of exciting new build-to-suit undertakings in 2015.
Tom Beres serves as a Project Executive with McShane Construction Company offering an extensive portfolio of experience within the distribution, manufacturing and food processing sectors. He has recently completed Golden State Foods, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group and Edward Don & Company.