Construction Today - June 2017 - 105
at the building's base. According to Burris,
the building's warehouse brick veneer is
designed to blend with its surroundings.
"The architect wanted to keep true to West
Loop architecture," Burris notes, referring
to the many renovated warehouses in the
area. "So we gave it a warehouse window
look at the base of it."
Burris says the building is set to be
completed in fourth-quarter 2017. And
even though the winter of 2017 was fairly
mild by Chicago standards, the project has
not been without its challenges. For one,
the structure is being built mere yards
from the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA)
Green Line "L" tracks, which means strict
attention must be paid to details like the
right of way over CTA tracks. "The CTA
has been very good to work with," Burris
notes. "During the pre-construction logistics phase we did relocate our tower crane,
however, as it did interfere with right-ofway over CTA tracks."
Even more difficult was the fact that the
structure sits no more than two feet away
from a neighboring building, making it
extremely difficult to pour concrete for
forming systems. Burris says that challenge was met without too much difficulty
using a PERI formwork system where
forms only needed to be set from one side
of the wall.
The fact the building is going up with
relatively little difficulty speaks to Novak's considerable experience building
throughout Chicago and the Midwest.
Founded in 1980 by John Novak, the
company has served many sectors but
has really thrived building retail centers,
especially in Chicago. In 2011, Novak was
named general contractor of the year by
Minneapolis-based Target for completing
17 remodels in the Chicago market.
Novak's other retail clients include
Costco and Whole Foods. The company has also built several Portillo's
restaurants as the chain has expanded
Burris credits Novak's solid relationships for its ability to thrive even in
downturns, such as the recession of
2007 to 2010. "Having those good client
relationships certainly helped us during
the downturn," Burris recalls. "We have
always been able to help out those clients
when they needed it, and the repeat business has certainly helped us stay viable."
For Burris and Novak, its success in the
Chicago area also means giving back to
the community. The company is active
with By The Hand, a Chicago-based
after-school program. Novak has built
two facilities for the group: one was a
26,000-square-foot facility for after-school
programs in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, while a separate 52,000-square-foot
building in the same area serves as a
school and after-school facility.
With strong roots in the Chicago community and a strong reputation throughout the Midwest, Novak continues to build
in a variety of sectors. As Lake and Aberdeen heads for completion in late 2017,
Burris reflects on one other challenge in
building mid-rise buildings as opposed
to high-rises. "By the time you get your
momentum established on mid-rises," he
notes, "you're done."
Portillo's, for which it built this
restaurant in Champaign, Ill.
JUNE 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM