Location is the draw

Contractor spends $3.1 million for extensive renovation, and
gains a high visibility site

November 01, 2000 |

Location is usually the first factor considered in making a real-estate decision. That was precisely the starting point for general contractor Krusinski Construction Co. when it sought to relocate its headquarters.

Krusinski was outgrowing its former headquarters in a suburban Chicago office complex for which the company had been the general contractor. The company, which has an annual volume of about $50 million, decided it was time to have its own building.

After searching in vain for a nearby site on which it could build, the company purchased a 30-year-old structure in Oak Brook, Ill., about a mile from its former location. The structure backs up to the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and is also visible from the overpass of a major street. The high visibility location helped the company to overlook the building's numerous deficiencies.

The structure, which previously housed a supermarket company's data processing center, was demolished down to its steel frame and foundation. "There wasn't much that we tried to recycle," says company President Joe Krusinski. A new roof and new mechanical systems were installed. The building had no sprinkler system, so one was added.

The building originally had masonry walls on three sides, and it was replaced with a metal wall. Because the brick had functioned as shear wall, it was necessary to add reinforcing to the frame. Site work included the installation of new water and power lines. By the time all the work was finished, the reconstruction cost totaled $3.1 million. "We recognized that we were paying for the location," Krusinski explains.

If the company had been able to acquire a satisfactory site, it probably would have built a building about half as large, Krusinski adds. "We didn't really want to get into the real-estate business," he adds. The building's second floor-which the company is planning to lease-does provide space for long-term expansion, however.

Kwasek Architects of Inverness, Ill., was the architect and IA Chicago was the interior designer. The designers persuaded Krusinski to abandon its original idea of a conventional office layout based on a 90-degree grid in favor of a spine that runs diagonally through the project management area. "Our interiors budget got higher than anticipated, but the end result was a long-term commitment to the space, a unique design and the use of quality materials," Krusinski says.

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