Developers aren’t the only ones who’ve cashed in on the ever-increasing demand for Downtown rental units.
The explosion of multifamily development in Chicago’s inner core has kept a number of local general contracting firms busy, but none have been busier than Power Construction.
The local firm was approved to build over 2.1 million square feet of multifamily development from May 2018 to June 2019, according to The Real Deal’s look at the most active contractors in Chicago over the last year.
Power’s volume of multifamily work alone is almost enough to make them the most active firm in the city, with second-place Clark Construction handling about 20,000 more square feet than Power’s multifamily division.
Overall, Power handled 4.5 million square feet of new building work approved between May 2018 to June 2019, the most recent annual snapshot used for TRD’s rankings. That’s far and away the most of any other contractor in that time period. Its multifamily business accounted for 48 percent of its overall activity.
Nearly three-quarters of Power’s multifamily business approved in the last year is accounted for in JDL Development’s 1.5 million-square-foot One Chicago development which will hold a combined 869 residences.
Power was formed in Chicago in 1926 as a suburban homebuilder and then spent the 20th century carving out a specialty as a builder of schools and hospitals. Power was able to springboard its achievements through a major hiring surge in the 1990s and 2000s, working its way toward Downtown high-rises like One Chicago.
“They have some deep, private relationships that go back a number of years,” said David Trolian, northern division president at Maryland-based Clark, which ranked as Chicago’s No. 2 general contractor, according to TRD’s analysis.
Power is also the builder behind Crayton Advisors and White Oak Realty’s 273-unit Milieu on the Park complex in Fulton Market, as well as Draper & Kramer’s South Loop apartment project, which will bring 275 rentals to the neighborhood, among a handful of other projects.
In all, the top five most active multifamily general contracting firms were approved to build 3.7 million square feet of residential development over the last year.
Behind Power in the ranking of top multifamily contractors in Chicago is Australian-based construction giant Lendlease.
The firm was approved to build nearly 900,000 square feet of multifamily development over the last year, which accounts for all of its new development work in that timeframe. The firm placed fourth overall in TRD’s top general contractor rankings.
Lendlease is the general contractor on John Buck’s 500,000-square-foot multifamily project at 845 West Madison Street.
Lendlease has operated as a contractor in Chicago since 1976, but only in 2014 did the firm ramp up its development business in town. It got its local development start on the Cooper apartment building in the South Loop, which is part of a larger Lendlease development known as Southbank.
Lendlease is also partnering with Magellan on a sprawling three-tower development in Lakeshore East, which has not yet begun work.
Being both a developer and contractor has allowed Lendlease to boost both divisions while making for a more efficient planning process, said Bert Brandt, general manager of Lendlease Chicago.
“It allows for the ability to be very collaborative and upfront in our design approach and development thought process,” Brandt said. “The construction group can benefit from the added work and revenue.”