The landscape and feeling of downtown Toledo has changed thanks to hard work of members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades, who constructed the ProMedica downtown headquarters along the city’s riverfront.
The $60 million project to consolidate ProMedica’ office buildings began in January 2016. ProMedica held a grand opening celebration on Aug. 31.
About 500 members of region’s union construction workforce successfully completed the project on-time. It involved some challenging renovation efforts to properties formerly known as The Steam Plant, The Steam Plant and the Key Bank building – now called The Junction.
“This project clearly demonstrates the highest quality of workmanship and our workers exceeded all expectations,” said Robin Whitney, ProMedica Senior Vice President of Real Estate and Construction. “The construction team put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to turn ProMedica Headquarters into a modern, collaborative work environment that celebrates the history of Toledo.”
Shaun Enright, Executive Secretary/Business Manager of the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, said the project is a great example of the quality work his members perform.
“On this project, our members showed the value of using a highly-trained and highly-skilled construction workforce to safely and efficiently perform their work in a challenging environment,” said Enright. “I’m proud of the work they performed and how they have forever changed downtown Toledo.”
Building Trades members turned what was formerly an empty and deteriorating century-old steam plant into a modern, state-of-the-art three-story office building. Other elements of the project included a new parking garage, updating Promenade Park and giving the area an overall facelift.
By consolidating their buildings into one campus, ProMedica hopes to become more efficient and more employee friendly.
“Offices are smaller and we put more people in open workspaces. To complement the open floor plan, we wanted to make it easy for employees to switch it up if they need a quieter environment to get work done. There are small, medium and large conference rooms with wireless connectivity to IT accounts,” said Whitney.
The most difficult and challenging work for building trades members occurred at The Steam Plant. Whitney said this part of the project was complex and required a skilled construction team to address several challenges in order keep the historical nature of the structure, while still giving it a modern design and a three-story addition.
The existing roof required almost a complete removal and replacement. All existing structural steel was tested for corrosion and, where necessary, repaired. New caisson foundations were installed within the existing structure, meaning tradesmen and tradeswomen needed to work within the existing walls and between existing steel beams and columns and old foundations that were not easy to locate.
During the design process, engineers thought the existing Steam Plant smoke stacks could be saved and incorporated into the new design. However, construction crews discovered the smoke stacks were deteriorated beyond repair. Building trades members carefully removed the old stacks without damaging the building and then installed new ones to keep the historical integrity of the building.
This issue added two-months to the construction schedule and an additional $2 million to the budget, but the Northwest Ohio Building Trades members on this project worked quickly, expertly and efficiently. Thanks to their skills and a milder than expected 2017 winter, crews recouped the two months and get the project on track to be completed within the original 20-month timeframe.
“This a very challenging project, especially with age and condition of The Steam Plant, but our members did the work right the first time and overcame the smoke stack issue to finish the work on time,” said Enright.
By using the diverse and skilled members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades, ProMedica was able to exceed a number of goals related to hiring.
“We exceeded our 15 percent goal to award contract and subcontract work for The Steam Plant, The Junction and The Depot to minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses. ProMedica is committed to fostering greater diversity and inclusion in the construction trades,” said Whitney.
Enright said the Northwest Ohio Building Trades and their affiliated unions committed to providing their contractors with a diverse and skilled workforce to help meet any minority, gender or residential requirements a project owner may require.
“It’s important our membership reflect the makeup community,” he said.
The tradesmen and tradeswomen who worked on this project, helped bring more than 1,000 jobs back to downtown Toledo. NWOBCTC members are proud to live and work in the local communities of Northwest Ohio and enjoy being able to help bring jobs back into the city.
“When area residents are part of a major project like ProMedica Headquarters, I think it gives them greater ownership and a sense of pride,” Whitney said.