Chicago — Thornton Tomasetti was recognized by the Urban Land Institute with a 2014 Vision Award in the historic redevelopment category for its work on Metropolitan Tower at 310 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti served as the structural engineer, while Pappageorge/Haymes Partners was the architect on the $70 million project.

Another Thornton Tomasetti project, Shoreland, a former Jazz Age hotel turned residential tower at 5454 S. Shore Drive in Chicago, was also a finalist for the Vision Award for historic redevelopment.

The Vision Awards recognize the full development process, including construction, economic viability, marketing and management, as well as design, and promote best practices in development. To be eligible, projects must be within the Chicago region and demonstrate excellence in all levels of development and contribute to the vibrancy of the community. Innovation is also weighed highly by the panel of ULI Chicago judges who rate the submissions.

Key Points

• Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design and construction administration services for the conversion of the historic Britannica Center (originally the Staus Building) and adjacent Karpen Building – owned by Metropolitan Properties of Chicago, LLC – into luxury residences. The original structures were built in 1924 and 1885, respectively.

• Renamed the Metropolitan Tower (previously the Britannica Center), the 30-story building features a limestone and brick masonry façade, 243 residential units, including penthouses, two-story townhomes and several levels of parking.

• Converting the landmarked building from office to residential use required the removal of the third level and basement floors, as well as construction of two new floors to accommodate the townhomes and parking levels.

• The eight-story Karpen Building underwent a partial demolition and full renovation. In the absence of structural and architectural drawings, Thornton Tomasetti performed investigations, material testing and invasive explorations to determine the gravity and lateral systems and to obtain other information for evaluating the property.

• The structure required a new lateral system on its west side, as that wall was removed during demolition. A new system ties the two existing structures together to meet wind load resistance criteria.