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In 2013, Harbor Group International, LLC began a major renovation to reposition One South Wacker Drive. OSW was one of the earlier modern high-rises developed on Wacker Drive, however, the building’s appearance had become dated causing its position to slip relative to more recently developed Wacker Drive properties. To reestablish OSW as a peer to the other trophy properties on Wacker Drive, significant improvements were made to the 23,000-square-foot mezzanine, a 6,450-square-foot atrium and plaza, and a 12,800-square-foot lobby, elevators and common areas as well as the addition of a state of the art amenity level. The facilities remained open during all phases of construction.

The mezzanine included the demolition of existing finishes and construction of a new fitness center, lounge and concierge desk, with new A/V systems throughout. The atrium and plaza included the removal of existing curtain wall, and the installation of new entry doors, new landscaping features and a new monument sign. The lobby included the new terrazzo flooring throughout, replacement of existing lighting, ceiling upgrades, replacement of column enclosures and the installation of a new reception desk, interior planters and infrastructure for security access control and camera systems.

The end result is a re-imagined plaza, main entry and lobby, which improved the street presence of the main entry and functionality of the building’s lobby. The state-of-the-art amenity floor includes a professionally managed tenant lounge with various conference rooms, cafeteria style seating, and a pool table with a game area. In addition, a 100+ person conference center, seating areas in the open corridors and a 24 Hour Fitness Center were added. This floor has been successful in becoming a key selling point for the leasing team, Avison & Young, and has played a crucial role in attracting future tenants as well as retaining occupancy. The finished lobby & mezzanine space has been certified LEED Gold EB.

Harbor Group International, LLC
Wright Heerema Architects
Project Location
Chicago, Illinois
13,000 SF
Maintaining access & full functionality

One South Wacker remained open and fully functional throughout the duration of the project. Aside from the building’s tenants, the public often uses the lobby as a cut-through, particularly during Chicago’s cold winters. To maintain accessibility and the safety of the general public, each portion of the project was carefully phased. The team worked together to create a unique construction schedule to minimize disturbances to tenants during work hours.

Revitalizing under-used space

One of the key phases of this project was the lobby renovation. The existing lobby was an extremely underutilized space, and an area where people traveled through, but never lingered. The space itself was very dimly lit with low light levels and no seating. The design, materials and color scheme also needed a refresh. Harbor Group’s goal was to brighten up the lobby and make it a livelier, functioning area which could be used by tenants and visitors as they traveled through the space.