Elara Completes Design for Tribune Tower Adaptive Reuse Project

A Renewed Chicago Landmark
Working alongside architect Solomon Cordwell Bunez (SCB), Elara Engineering recently completed the MEPFP design for an adaptive reuse project that converted the iconic 34-story Tribune Tower and surrounding buildings into 162 luxury condominium units, while respecting the building’s Chicago landmark status.

Originally constructed in 1925, the Tribune Tower is one of Chicago’s most recognized historic landmarks.  In 1935, the Radio Building was added to the site, followed by the Television Building in 1950.  In 2018, the Chicago Tribune newspaper vacated the building and planning began to transform the site.

In addition to the conversion of the Tribune Tower, four additional floors will be added to the northeast side above the TV Building, providing a modern, glass complement to the existing limestone facades and creating a new elevated courtyard.  A full luxury amenity program will encompass several unique spaces, including a series of terraces at the tower’s crown that will give residents a one-of-a-kind experience beneath iconic, gothic buttresses.

Creative Solutions
As the project’s MEPFP engineer responsiblefor the design and installation of new major MEPFP equipment and infrastructure throughout the existing tower and addition; the depth of experience, creativity, and problem-solving ability of Elara’s team enabled the design to exceed the City of Chicago’s sustainability ordinance.  For example,

  • Elara identified the opportunity and confirmed reuse of the building’s existing emergency generator, ComEd vault, and existing chilled water plant that utilizes a river water condensing system.
  • Condominium units have smart thermostats with remote sensors and are served by four-pipe fan coil units installed in enclosures with ducted return and variable ventilation systems (including makeup air and toilet, kitchen, and dryer exhaust system) implemented throughout the building.
  • New direct digital control (DDC) designed to serve all major mechanical systems.
  • Car charging infrastructure designed to support entire garage.
  • To maximize indoor air quality, dedicated outdoor air systems use superior MERV-13 filtration, humidified air is provided throughout the property, residential ventilation is provided directly to each condominium unit to minimize the mixing of air, and self-regulating exhaust systems have been designed and installed.

Additional information about this and other Elara projects can be found here.