NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
Historic Renovation Not Without Its Challenges
Street Management Getting Wiser
> SINCE THE VENE TIAN GOTHIC-
style 11-story Chicago Athletic Club
building was completed in time for the
World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893,
it has been considered an architectural
icon. Between 1893 and 2007, the
building, located in the Historic Michigan
Boulevard District, operated as an elite
private men’s club. However, it closed
down in 2007.
In 2012, Geolo Capital and AJ
Capital Partners announced they would
purchase the building and turn it into
a hotel. Work began in 2013, and the
renovation was completed in 2015. The
225,000-square-foot building is now the
241-room Chicago Athletic Association
Hotel, with three restaurants, two large
banquet rooms, retail shops, a game
room, a basketball court, a fencing court
Capping it all off is Cindy’s, a rooftop
bar, which has become such a popular
destination in Chicago that it now has a
“It’s indoors, but has an outdoor look
due to a dome, and features a lot of special
lighting,” said Jerry Hughes, project
manager for electrical contractor Block
Electric, Niles, Ill.
The high-performance building
features entirely new electrical,
According to Hughes, the work was
unique in many ways.
“Block Electric worked closely with
the Landmark Association to restore
original light fixtures to their exact
condition from when they were built
more than a century ago,” he said.
“This allowed us to work with different
subcontractors, such as Arc Historic
Products, who assisted in the restoration
of these fixtures.”
The most difficult of this project’s many
challenges was dealing with the existing
“It was an old building, so nothing was
square,” Hughes said. “Every time we’d go
into a room, it would be off by sometimes
up to 8 inches.”
There were structural problems, as
well, including some loose walls.
“You’d tap on some brick walls, and
they would just fall in,” Hughes said.
“They had to be taken down and rebuilt.”
Hughes credits Bulley & Andrews, the
general contractor, for its assistance.
Despite the challenges, Hughes said
the efforts were worth it.
“It was really rewarding to see the
outcome,” he said. “It is an incredible-looking hotel, the most unique I have
> THE BEAUTY OF TECHNOLOGY lies in its ability to make
something magnificent out of the mundane. Take, for example,
the transformation of the telephone into a mini, portable
computer. A similar transformation is just around the corner, so
to speak, for something equally familiar: the city street.
According to the market research firm, Navigant, smart street
technology is about to experience a convergence of innovation,
In its December report, “Smart Street Management,” the firm
outlines a number of factors contributing to this development.
Streets are a symbol of the possibilities and challenges of
urban life, as well as the technological changes in American
cities today. Navigant describes streets as, “not just a point of
physical connection, but also a point of virtual connection to a
wide range of service providers and information sources.”
Increasingly, streets are furnished with an array of
overlapping and interconnected technologies, including
intelligent street lights; smart parking systems; sensor-enabled
waste containers; sensors that monitor air quality, noise
pollution, flooding and other hazards; and CCTV and other
systems that provide a variety of information, data and services.
According to Navigant, the deployment of digital technologies is
changing how everyone experiences streets, including pedestrians,
drivers, city workers and the municipal governments that manage
them. The general development of smart cities and the emergence
of the Internet of Things will drive rapid market growth for smart
street management over the next decade. Navigant projects global
smart street management revenue to grow from $552.2 million in
2015 to $5.3 billion in 2024.
—RICK LAEZMAN SH