Bowa Construction to become first minority business to build Chicago high-rise

An additional 32% of the subcontracting work will be done by minority-owned businesses and 9% will be done by women-owned businesses

Nosa Ehimwenman; Curt Bailey; renderings here: 900 W Randolph (ma.com, related.com, bowaconstruction.com)
Nosa Ehimwenman; Curt Bailey; renderings here: 900 W Randolph (ma.com, related.com, bowaconstruction.com)

Chicago developer Related Midwest has chosen a minority-owned construction firm to build its next Fulton Market apartment building.

In a market dominated by big-name contractors like Walsh Group and James McHugh Construction, Bowa Construction will become the first firm owned by a person of color to construct a Chicago high-rise, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

The 43-story residential tower is expected to add 300 residential units to the Restaurant Row on West Randolph Street. The 547,000-square-foot building is being designed by Morris Adjmi Architects and is expected to be completed in 2024.

Due to a city law, a certain percentage of real estate construction must be set aside for minority- or women-owned businesses, but the bigger and more prestigious downtown projects often went to older and more well-established construction firms.

“I think it is a message to everyone that the next building can be built this way, too,” Related Midwest President Curt Bailey said to Crain’s about the partnership. “If we can do it, everyone can do it.”

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Bowa Construction was founded in 2009 and has completed about $400 million worth of work in the past five years. President and CEO Nosa Ehimwenman said this project is a major step forward for the company and a true partnership with Related Midwest.

Bowa is co-managing the new project with Related Midwest’s in-house construction branch, LR Contracting. Bailey and Ehimwenman say the two companies working together is a true partnership.

The two companies have worked together on other projects before and likely will continue to do so moving forward. Bowa was hired as the prime contractor for Related Midwest’s Taylor Street library in Little Italy and the next phase of its Roosevelt Square housing development. The duo are also working together on the $22 million Lathrop Homes redevelopment on the Northwest Side.

In addition to Bowa Construction serving as the general contractor, 32 percent of the subcontracting work for 900 Randloph will be done by minority-owned businesses and nine percent will be done by women-owned businesses.

[Crain’s] — Victoria Pruitt