Less than two years before this renovation, the 525 W Van Buren office tower in Chicago’s West Loop – also known as the Congress Center – was described by Crain’s Real Estate as “a troubled tower.” With a decreasing occupancy and tenants looking for improvements promised in their leases, the building was taken on by new owners – an affiliate of Sovereign Capital and Northwood Investors – ESD provided retro-commissioning services, and renovations of more than $3 million began taking place to secure future interest in the building.
ESD provided engineering design services for renovations made to the building’s amenities, first floor lobby, and the exterior area near the building’s entrance. The main lobby’s renovation included a new lobby security desk, art wall, seating area, elevator to the mezzanine level, and modifications to the existing ceiling. A new fitness center – consisting of an aerobics / yoga area, small office, and men’s and women’s locker rooms – new conference center, and internet café were constructed on the mezzanine level, a level which had previously been used as storage space for tenants. ESD designed a new HVAC system to transform the space into usable square footage.
The retro-commissioning recommendations and implemented renovations increased the building's energy savings, and therefore its ENERGY STAR score. Following, ESD provided LEED EBOM certification services to secure LEED EBOM Gold certification.