LG Construction Group
LG Construction Group enjoys tackling complex projects as it expands its adaptive reuse portfolio.
By Kat Zeman
The folks at LG Construction Group enjoy a little intrigue. Navigating a complex structural system in a historic building does not intimidate the firm. A diverse renovation project that requires numerous city permits and the ability to achieve historic a tax credit rating is appealing. Complications and obstacles are not a problem. They are a challenge.
“Diverse and challenging projects, tricky structural systems and anything that is unique we tend to excel at,” says Matt Wilke, LG Construction’s COO.
Since 2008, the Chicago-based company has been known for building high-end, custom, single-family homes, as well as upscale restaurants, boutique retail establishments and large multi-unit developments. In the past five years, adaptive reuse projects have made up a large portion of LG Construction’s portfolio, mainly restoration and renovation work that often seeks tax incentives for preserving historic properties.
Since 90 percent of LG Construction’s business comes from the Chicago area, historic renovation projects are in abundance. In fact, nearly half of its projects are focused on reuse. “There’s a demand for developers who deal with existing structures which have a lot of complications and unforeseen conditions,” Wilke says. “We have the experience to mitigate those risks.”
Working alongside its sister company, LG Development Group, LG Construction is building a 41-unit condo project in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The Ronsley, projected to be complete by the end of 2017, will have a fitness center, yoga room, large urban-style roof deck and garden, guest entertainment center, heated garage and daily dry cleaning drop-off and pickup service.
The building will feature a mix of condos and penthouses costing between $900,000 and $5.4 million. The project consists of renovating an existing five-story, brick timber loft building and adding three stories to it, about 60,000 square feet of space.
“Most developers were looking to demolish the building but we saw a lot of benefits in the loft space,” Wilke says. “Timber loft spaces cannot be recreated, so the challenge from the construction side was worth it. The end result is going to be a very unique addition to the market.”
Designing and implementing the new addition, along with connecting it to the existing structure, was the main challenge. Once complete, the building will have extensive loft space with soaring ceilings, and unique structural elements like bare timbers, large windows and exposed brick.
Another unique project involves converting a 118-year-old building near Chicago’s Harold Washington Library into student housing. The Plymouth Building, built in 1899, was an 11-story office complex. Nearly complete, the building now has 12 stories and an additional 3,000 square feet of living space.
“It’s another unique project because it’s a very tall and narrow building,” Wilke says, adding that each floor only takes up about 3,000 square feet. “So upgrading the building to meet code is challenging and required a lot of collaboration with the city’s building department.”
The 33-unit housing complex will cater to students at Columbia College, Roosevelt University and other nearby colleges. At a construction cost of roughly $7.5 million, the project also is classified as adaptive reuse. Since it received a historic tax credit rating, LG Construction is restoring the old lobby inside the building and adding features like historic custom windows. Bedrooms inside the units will cost from $850 to $1,400 per month.
LG Construction has always been known for its work with modern and unique restaurants – often known as boutique restaurants. “We are geared toward the exclusive, boutique, high-design and higher-end restaurants,” Wilke says. “The process of these projects is often quite rigorous so seeing the finished product is especially rewarding.”
The company just completed a $4 million project for a client in Los Angeles that is opening a Japanese restaurant in Chicago’s River North district. Called Katana, the Robatayaki-style restaurant occupies roughly 13,000 square feet.
“The ceiling millwork structure is extremely unique and serves as the main design element of the space,” Wilke says. “It’s almost like a ‘Jenga’ of massive wood beams that are suspended from the ceiling. We had to work with our millworkers and design team to find ways to install the beams specific for this project.”
LG Development Group was founded in 2005 by Brian Goldberg and Marc Lifshin as a real estate development company focused on producing luxury residential and commercial properties.
LG Construction Group followed in 2008. Since then, the company has been dedicated to establishing itself as a premier full-service general contracting and development firm.
Whether building a single-family home, boutique restaurant or a large multi-unit building, LG has plenty of experience. The company’s services also include pre-construction, interior design and consulting services. The pre-construction checklist includes assembling the project team, from architects to attorneys, designers and engineers, realtors and inspectors and finishers.