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Summit Design + Build In the News

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Meet Our Construction Management Interns

By Industry Insights, News

Meet Our Construction Management Interns

An internship with Summit Design + Build is a great opportunity for college students to learn first-hand what a career in construction is all about! Our internship program is designed so that our interns gain the most valuable, impactful experience while having more fun, in the hopes that they come back to grow their careers with us. From day one our interns are immersed in our active construction projects, working side-by-side with our project managers, project engineers, estimators, and superintendents. Over the course of their internship, Summit Design + Build interns also get to conduct multiple site visits followed by intern team lunches at Chicago’s hottest spots. Interns also participate in intern happy hours, lunch and learns, Summit social gatherings and Summit team-building events!

Get to Know Our Interns

This summer Summit Design + Build is excited to have three interns on board, Ben Kossack (Majoring in Civil Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), Jake Duerr (Majoring in Finance at University of Dayton) and Michael Murray (Majoring in Construction Management at Purdue University). We sat down with our interns to learn what intrigues them about the construction industry, what makes them thrive and what their future construction goals are.

Ben Kossack – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

What interests you about the construction industry?

Ben: “I find it interesting just how adaptive the industry is becoming with all the new tech that is constantly being created.”

Jake: “The idea of buildings/complexes being built from the ground up. I have also grown up in the construction industry, but at a smaller scale because of my dad. He had taken me to his renovation projects ever since I was younger and has actually used me to demo the houses he was working on. I very much enjoy this side of the industry a lot more than being part of the demo side.”

Michael: “How diverse it is and how every project has its different challenges to face.”

What are you most excited about for this internship?

Ben: “I’m very excited to be working on a project as it is starting out (Stadium Lofts), going from seeing almost nothing on the ground to having a new structure there should be really cool.”

Jake: “I am most excited to work on a variety of different projects awarded to Summit and to visit them in person. I am also excited to learn from the project managers and project engineers that work at the company.”

Michael: “To learn firsthand about the industry and get more hands-on experience.”

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Ben: “Funny, enthusiastic and hardworking”

Jake: “Hardworking, determined, curious”

Michael: “Outgoing, nice, careful”

What are your hobbies/interests?

Ben: “I like to play video games, play tennis and get together with my friends”

Jake: “Fantasy Football (even though I am very bad at it), video games, White Sox baseball, rugby, concerts (especially early 2000’s metal) and pickup Basketball”

Michael: “Fishing and being with friends”

Cubs or White Sox?

Ben: “Cubs everyday”

Jake: “White Sox”

Michael: “WHITE SOX!”

Jake Duerr – University of Dayton

Michael Murray – Purdue University

What is your favorite Chicago summer activity?

Ben: “Probably going out and trying all the different things the city has to offer.”

Jake: “Going to White Sox games at Guaranteed Rate Field.”

Michael: “The beach.”

If you woke up as the President of Summit DB, what would be the first thing you would do?

Ben: “Everything in my power to, if it happens, secure the bid for the Chicago Bears new stadium in Arlington Heights.”

If you could have a superpower, what would you pick and why?

Ben: “Flying, it would make getting around so much easier.”

Michael: “To fly, can get places fast and it’s just cool.”

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Ben: “Kevin James”

Jake: “I would like to see Ryan Gosling play the lead role because he is one of my favorite actors and co-stars in my #1 movie of all time, “The Nice Guys.” He is surprisingly funny as well.”

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

Ben: “Probably “Life is a highway” because the movie Cars is great.”

What would be your dream construction project?

Ben: “I would love to work on a sports stadium of some kind.”

Jake: “Working on the Chicago Bears new football stadium at the old Arlington Racetrack.”

Michael: “Some type of skyscraper or a neat art museum.”

What animal would you compare yourself to and why?

Ben: “Probably a penguin, mostly because my friends for the longest time compared me to one.”

What do you hope to do post-graduation?

Ben: “I hope to secure a job in either the construction management or structural engineering field.”

Jake: “I hope to work in construction management focusing on cost estimation or project management.”

Michael: “Work in the construction industry.”

Learn More About Our Intern Program

It’s going to be a great summer with Summit’s interns in the office! We love the energy they bring and we love seeing them learn first-hand what it’s really like to work in the industry.

Are you interested in an internship with Summit Design + Build? Check out our internship program page to learn more and to apply for open opportunities.

Construction Kicks-off for Stadium Lofts

By News

New Kannapolis, NC Multifamily Project to Overlook Cannon Ballers Baseball Stadium

Summit Design + Build has kicked off the construction of a 69,000 sf ground-up multifamily project in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Once complete, the project will overlook the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (a minor league baseball team affiliate of the Chicago White Sox) baseball stadium. The 7-story building will have two floors of retail/office space and five floors of 43 residential apartments. The building will feature a lobby, fitness center, club room, residential unit balconies and a parking garage. The project is expected to wrap up in Spring 2023.

This project marks the first construction project for general contractor, Summit Design + Build, in the state of North Carolina. The company has entered the North Carolina market encouraged by the massive growth of the area. Summit Design + Build focuses on providing a sophisticated construction management approach to make the construction process as painless and smooth as possible. The company’s construction services include Preconstruction/Planning, Construction Management, Design/Build, General Contracting and Sustainable Construction.

The developer of the project is Lansing Melbourne Group and Built Form is the project architect.

Summit Design + Build Completes 1400 Monroe

By Florida, News

1400 Monroe • Luxury multifamily condos completed in Chicago’s West Loop

The seven-story, boutique luxury condominium building is located on the corner of W Monroe St and S Loomis St and is directly across from Skinner Park. Featuring a collection of 42, two- and three-bedroom residences, 1400 Monroe sports a gray brick cladding and matte metal exterior accents to reflect the industrial aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhood. Each unit features designer-quality finishes with 9-foot ceilings and oversized loft-style windows. The luxury building and units also feature:

  • Bathrooms with Kallista and Kohler fixtures, quartz countertops, and porcelain designer tiling,
  • Custom-designed kitchens with Thermador, Bosch and Franke appliances,
  • Lutron Caseta smart home technology,
  • Recessed balconies,
  • large terraces,
  • Onsite parking,
  • A bike room,
  • Tenant storage.

Booth Hansen served as the project architect for 1400 Monroe. Unit interiors were designed by Mojo Stumer Associates.

1400 Monroe Imagery

Summit Opens New Office in Austin Texas

By Industry Insights, News

Summit Design + Build Announces Opening of New Texas Office & Hiring of Project Executive

Chicago-based general contractor expands operations to Austin, TX


Summit Design + Build has announced the opening of an office in Austin, Texas. Along with several of Summit Design + Build’s key clients developing new projects in Austin and surrounding areas, the firm was inspired by the strong growth of the Austin Market. Summit Design + Build will provide general contracting, construction management, preconstruction and design/build services to Austin and its surrounding areas. The company looks forward to bringing a new level of sophistication to the Austin market and to assist in the growth of the Austin office, Summit Design + Build also welcomed Doug Hayes to the firm.

Doug Hayes will serve as a Project Executive, based out of Summit’s new Austin, TX office. In his role, Doug will serve as a project team leader, overseeing and running Austin construction projects. He will also play a crucial role in bringing in prospective projects and clients through the project pipeline and positioning Summit Design + Build as Austin’s leading general contractor and construction management firm. 

Doug joins Summit with over 26 years of industry experience, most recently serving as a Project Manager for Raymond Construction Co, Inc. Doug has extensive experience in a multitude of delivery methods in the commercial, industrial, multi-family and mixed-use markets.

Along with Illinois and Texas, Summit Design + Build is also licensed to do work in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

About Summit Design + Build

Summit Design + Build, LLC is a provider of full-service general contracting, construction management and design/build construction services for the commercial, industrial and residential markets. Headquartered in Chicago’s Fulton Market and with regional offices in Tampa, Florida and Austin, Texas, Summit Design + Build has been involved in the design and construction of over 330 buildings and spaces totaling more than 7 million square feet over the firm’s 17-year history.

Summit Design + Build Starts Second Midtown Construction Project

By Florida, News

Summit Design + Build Starts Second Midtown Construction Project


William Dean Chocolates to open Parisian-inspired café in Midtown Tampa

Summit Design + Build, recently started the build-out of William Dean Chocolates, a Parisian-inspired café. This will be William Dean Chocolates’ second location; the first location is a retail store located in Belleair Bluffs.

The new William Dean Chocolates café will be located within the Midtown Tampa development, a new $500 million mixed-use development located on the corner of N Dale Mabry Highway and Interstate 275. The 1,400-sf build-out of William Dean Chocolates is set to include:

  • A bakery and café counter,
  • A back of house area with an office,
  • A restroom,
  • Indoor seating for 12 – 14 and
  • A shared outdoor patio that will be able to seat up to 40.

In addition to William Dean Chocolates’ artisan chocolates, the café will also have breakfast and lunch options and coffee & tea service.

EMPAD Architecture + Design is serving as the project architect. Construction is expected wrap-up in December 2021.

Summit Starts Coworking Space Build-out

By News

Summit Starts Coworking Space Build-out for
Wework 448 N. Lasalle

Summit Design + Build, has started the build-out construction of downtown Chicago’s newest WeWork space at 448 N. LaSalle. 448 N. LaSalle is a boutique 174,599 square foot, new construction Class A office building in River North.

This location will be WeWork’s second in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The 56,781 square foot coworking space build-out will span the top four floors of 448 N. LaSalle, floors 9 -12. The coworking space will include:

– lounges,

– common areas,

– conference rooms,

– and private offices.

Partners by Design is serving as the project architect. Work on the 448 North LaSalle Street WeWork is expected to wrap in December of this year. 

Summit Completes Four-story Commercial Building Near Wrigley Field

By News

Summit Completes the Ground Up Construction of a Four-story Commercial Building Near Wrigley Field

1111 W. Addison is home to ground floor retail space and Movement Wrigleyville

Summit Design + Build, has completed construction at 1111 W. Addison in Wrigleyville, near the intersection of Addison and Clark Street. The four-story, ground-up commercial construction project includes retail on the ground floor and a fitness and bouldering center on the second through fourth floors.

The 59,000 square foot structure is located just steps from Wrigley Field on the former site of the old Wrigleyville Taco Bell (a new Taco Bell is located in the ground-level retail space of the 1111 W. Addison building). The 41,895 square foot climbing gym is home to Movement Wrigleyville, a climbing, yoga and fitness center. The center includes –

  • Three floors of climbing walls wrapped around a central atrium,
  • a yoga studio,
  • locker rooms,
  • numerous spaces with fitness equipment,
  • and a support office.

Hirsch/MPG Architecture + Planning and Clausen Management Services served as the project architect and owner’s representative respectively.

Sustainable Building Materials

By Industry Insights, News

Sustainable Building Materials for New Construction

When constructing a new commercial building, such as an office space, it is important to consider sustainable building materials for several reasons. First, it is important to do our part to be kind to the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of large buildings. Additionally, sustainable materials can help businesses cut down on energy costs for their spaces.

Below, we’ve reviewed several sustainable building materials that would be great to consider when building a new commercial space.

Flat Roof Insulation

Many commercial buildings feature a flat roof design, as it provides more interior space as compared to a building with a slanted roof of the same height. Additionally, a flat roof provides an easy location to store HVAC equipment that doesn’t take up valuable interior space.

However, this type of roof is often one of the most vulnerable parts of the building when it comes to heat transfer as it is constantly exposed to the elements. Adding flat-roof insulation can be a great way to improve the thermal envelope of your commercial building.

Flat roof insulation is a simple addition to a building that will reduce the amount of heat escaping your building during the winter months, as well as the amount of heat entering your building during cooler months. This will greatly reduce energy use for a commercial building, as HVAC accounts for a significant portion of a building’s energy use.

Flat roof insulation is an important addition to your commercial building not only because it improves the sustainability of your building’s energy usage, but also because it is a requirement by the IECC, or International Energy Conservation Code, according to Chapter 4, Section 402. This requires that flat roof insulation provide a minimum R-value or resistance to heat transfer or conduction. The higher the R-value, the more well-insulated a building will be. According to this code, the required R-values are R-20ci to R-35ci depending on your climate zone.

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating is a heating system that circulates electricity, water, or air beneath the flooring in space to heat objects and individuals in a space via infrared radiation.

This type of heating system is considered sustainable for several reasons. First, they can be more energy efficient than traditional heating systems. Heating from the floor upward ensures that a space will maintain a more consistent temperature in all areas, as compared to heating systems which can leave cold spots.

Ceiling-based heating systems are also prone to “short-circuiting or air stratification.” This occurs because warmer air rises within a space, so ceiling-based heating can remove warm air before it can effectively circulate throughout the space to increase the temperature. Additionally, ceiling-based heating is an inefficient system that first heats the space higher up in a room where no occupants exist, while radiant floor heating warms the most important areas of a space first.

Radiant floor heating is also viewed as a preferable heating system in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, as it does not require the circulation of air which may contain microbes that lead to illnesses.

To complete a sustainable flooring system, consider pairing radiant floor heating with sustainable flooring material such as engineered wood.

Architectural Grilles

Architectural grilles have multiple sustainable purposes: they can provide air ventilation, and also serve as a barrier against thermal conduction and noise intrusion.

First, architectural grilles or louvers can be incorporated into a building’s HVAC system, allowing for the use of more ventilation air in a building. This improves the health of occupants by bettering indoor air quality.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, increased ventilation rates in commercial spaces have become an important factor to preserve and protect occupant health by limiting the spread of microbes and viruses through HVAC systems. Additionally, this has become a priority for increase work performance and improving overall employee morale. Architectural grilles allow you to bring in more ventilation air without affecting the aesthetics of the building, maintaining a clean and modern look.

Additionally, some architectural grilles are not incorporated for ventilation purposes, but rather are simply an addition outside of large windows to reduce heat transfer in extreme climates. These types of structures help reduce the energy used by a heating or cooling system, without compromising the aesthetics and visual appeal of the building.

Acoustic Glass

Offices require separate meeting rooms and spaces with sound-reducing properties so that gatherings and meetings can occur without disturbing others in the office. A previous solution to this problem was partition systems, but this is an outdated style that clashes with modern office settings.

Acoustic glass is an alternative solution that offers a trendy, open concept look while also providing sound-dampening effects. It is also a more sustainable choice when compared to partitions, as it uses less material to provide a comparable sound barrier as well as improved acoustics in a space.

Not only does acoustic glass improve the privacy of meeting spaces, but it also helps to reduce the background noise caused by A/C systems and fans in a commercial building, which has been known to contribute to an uncomfortable working environment.

Acoustic glass is a sustainable building material that can be used to meet several LEED requirements. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification given for sustainable building design. Depending on the manufacturer Acoustic glass helps to meet the requirements of some or all of the following:

  • design for flexibility
  • recycled content
  • material reuse
  • minimum acoustic performance
  • enhanced acoustic performance
  • views
  • daylight

If you’re not fond of the idea of using a large amount of glass in your office space, there are more private options, such as privacy glass. This type of acoustic glass can be switched to a cloudy or translucent look with the press of a button.

Acoustic glass is an excellent sustainable acoustic material to improve privacy and comfort in commercial buildings while maintaining a modern and aesthetically pleasing office design.

Guest Blogger: Natalie Akins is the Interior Design Editor at Innovative Building Materials. With over 20 years of interior design experience, Natalie has worked on many projects including commercial office design and residential spaces.

Construction Financing

By Industry Insights, News

Construction Financing: The Developers Prospective

Developing real estate takes grit, creative problem solving, and an occasional after-work drink at the local bar. And, as banking protocols have evolved over the past decade, developers need to be selective when it comes to choosing a General Contractor (GC) for each project. But what exactly should developers look for in a solid General Contractor? What qualities make a GC or an AEC (Architectural/Engineering/Construction) firm investable in a project?

To find out, we interviewed several prominent Chicago-based developers to learn about their standard criteria for what makes a GC investable. Across the board, we found that developers care most about the GC project team’s personalities as well as their resumes and portfolio of work. This likely comes as no surprise. When hiring for any job, the client wants to be sure the people hired can do the job and play well with everyone on the team.

How to tell if a GC is Investable

We wanted to dive deeper into aspects specific to developer/GC relationships. So, we asked developers for their next most important way to tell if a General Contractor is investable. The answer? The alignment of the size of the asset class in the GC’s portfolio. Put more simply: size matters. It’s important for the developer to see a completed build on the same scale as their open project in the general contractor’s portfolio.

One of our respondents said seeing large projects in a GC’s portfolio is “critical” to developers. “Large” projects were defined as those nine stories and higher, so a large build’s added complexity, longer timeline, and the need to balance a larger budget explain why work samples are so crucial. Of course, smaller projects fall under this same scrutiny. However, the bigger the project, the more selective developers become.

Financially Viable GC’s

Developers need to know a contractor or AEC firm can provide both quality construction and bookkeeping. Therefore, the next aspect our interviewees check is the construction cost proportion of the project size as compared to the contractor’s overall annual gross revenue. To check this, developers ask questions like: Has the general contractor completed a single project that is greater than 25% of their total gross revenue?

Over the last decade, there has been added scrutiny and need for proof of financial viability on development teams. These requirements are then passed down to the general contractors and AEC firms they hire, so according to our interviewees, there’s a significant emphasis on qualifying the GC’s financial viability.

Developers are feeling challenged more than ever to find investable general contractors for larger projects. With smaller projects (eight stories and under), the GC’s resume, budget, and team are the main drivers, with financial viability coming in later. However, financial viability is the tipping point for larger projects, like those nine stories and higher. Developers are placing an ever-higher demand for the GC’s balance sheet health and capabilities for providing a Completion Guarantee (which is often less expensive than bonding).

The global pandemic has also had an effect on the search for investable contractors. The equity-to-debt ratios have changed dramatically from the pre-COVID era to now. Since the onset of COVID, there has been an increase in these ratios, thus the demand to raise higher equity on the capital stack is another barrier.

The developers we talked to came to the consensus that new relationships cost a lot of time, money, and extra due diligence. That’s why it takes an extortionary effort to hire a new AEC firm.

“That’s why it’s often easier to just work with a past relationship because you know what you’re buying,” said one of our interviewees. For GC’s, understanding the capital stack demands and challenges developers face is as important as completing a construction project on time and within budget.

We’re so thankful to the developers who shared their insights with us. At Summit Design + Build, we place an emphasis on our portfolio’s wide range and our financial viability to become the kind of investable general contractor developers need.

Summit Design + Build has a well-positioned balance sheet, and financial capabilities to make it easier on developers when they’re trying to close with their equity and debt partners. From project concept, through pre-construction, Summit helps developers close their deals.

Ready to explore our portfolio and talk about your next development project? Get in touch with us.

Summit Hires New VP

By News

Summit Design + Build Announces the Hiring of New Vice President

Summit Design + Build, LLC, recently announced the hiring of Larry Blouin as the firm’s new vice president. Blouin joins Summit Design + Build with over 37 years of construction industry experience.

As vice president, Blouin will assist in the day-to-day management of the firm’s operations, overseeing project management, field operations and project staffing. Larry will interact with all projects and clients to ensure that the original goals and schedule are executed as promised. Working alongside the firm’s senior management team, Blouin is also charged with developing and executing Summit Design + Build’s long term growth plan.

Larry began his career as a superintendent, managing projects across a multitude of markets including retail, multifamily, institutional, government and healthcare projects. He later moved into project management and senior leadership roles, managing construction projects valued up to $275 million. Blouin most recently served as vice president of operations for another top contractor in the Chicagoland area and is also the former executive director for capital project delivery at the University of Chicago. At the University of Chicago, Blouin was personally responsible for overseeing $1 billion in construction for the university including the adaptive reuse of campus buildings, an arts center, residence halls and building additions. He received a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management from Bradley University.

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