Chicago, known as the Windy City, is the birthplace of skyscrapers, and continues to be a leader in innovations in tall construction. These tall buildings bring solutions to Chicago’s increasing population; where it sits as the third largest metropolitan area in the USA, and fourth in North America. Constructing multifamily buildings, especially tall ones, answers the increasing housing demands within the area, while also creating opportunities to build better and more beautiful edifices and communities in Chicago.
To make this possible, contractors in the area have stepped up, delivering high-quality building projects to developers, architects, and most importantly, residents. Here are the top 15 contractors who deliver beyond everyone’s expectations.
Powers & Sons Construction Company
5040 S State St, Chicago, IL 60609
About Powers & Sons Construction Company
Founded in 1967 by CEO and Chairman Mamon Powers, Powers & Sons Construction Company is a Gary, Indiana-based general contractor and designer-builder with offices in Indianapolis and Chicago. From these offices, Powers & Sons has built projects all over greater Northwest Indiana, Central Indiana and Chicago. The company prides itself of having “a solid, unblemished record of integrity, quality and cost effectiveness” as a general contractor, construction manager, design builder and project management company from its humble beginnings as a home building firm.
Powers converted ten vacant lots into 62 spacious modern senior apartments at 1659 West Washington Boulevard in Chicago’s Near West Side. Additional amenities include a community room, fitness center, 24-seat multimedia theater room, computer room, and an exam room for medical checkups. A larger project is the rehabilitation and historical restoration of the once-abandoned Rosenwald Courts Apartments at 4648 South Michigan Avenue. The complex is made up of 8 seperate buildings with 239 units, a 2-acre landscaped courtyard, and a wide range of amenities.
Joseph J. Duffy Company
4994 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
About Joseph J. Duffy Company
Joseph J. Duffy Company, or JJ Duffy as it is known, is a Chicago-based general contractor founded in 1923. Multifamily housing and other types of residential buildings are the specialty of JJ Duffy, boasting a multitude of projects, most coming from repeat customers such as the local Salvation Army chapter and the Chicago area office of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The company is a proud member of the USGBC and other green building and sustainable construction organizations.
Currently under construction is the KLEO Art Residences at 5504 South Michigan Avenue. The 4-story mixed-income apartment complex features a mix of 3 studios, 39 one-bedrooms, and 16 two-bedrooms, together with 5,000 square feet of retail and artist studio space on the ground floor. Another major project on the works is the Montclare Supportive Living Community of Lawndale at 4339 West 18th Place. The 5-story building will host 101 one-bedroom and 19 two-bedroom senior units, with amenities including exterior courtyards, lighted walking paths, seating, gazebo, activity rooms, wellness center, and beauty shops.
100 S Wacker Dr, Ste 2100, Chicago, IL 60606
Founded in 1993 and based in Chicago, Focus is a developer, general contractor, and consultant specializing in multifamily and mixed-use projects around the Chicago area as well as downtown. The company’s portfolio has projects ranging from smaller, multifamily communities in historic districts to high-density, mixed-use redevelopments in thriving downtown areas. The portfolio is currently valued at over $800 million in developments and $1 billion in construction projects. Focus was a recipient of the Crystal Key Award.
At 730 West Couch Place, Focus built and developed The Parker Fulton Market, a 29-story residential tower with 227 luxury rental apartments, 162 enclosed parking spaces, and 9,715 square feet of Class “A” ground floor retail space. The tower received LEED Silver Certification. Another notable project is the redevelopment of SCIO at the Medical District at 901 South Ashland Avenue, currently in progress and involving a 5.65-acre property. The 410-unit rental community is comprised of two 12-story towers, with a mix of studio, one and two bedroom residences.
308 W Erie St, Ste 400 , Chicago, IL 60654
ARCO/Murray is a Downers Grove-based design-build firm founded in 1992 with offices in 14 cities coast to coast, from Chicago, to Philadelphia and San Francisco. CEO Craig Bridell and President Brad Dannegger currently lead the company that specializes in commercial construction and real estate, catering to Fortune 500 companies and individual businesses. ARCO/Murray currently has 750 associates and holds a portfolio of around 3500 projects spread over 450 cities. ENR has named ARCO/Murray one of the Top 100 Design Build Firms, one of the Top 250 Global Contractors, and one of the Top 400 Contractors.
ARCO/Murray designed and built PGM X Logan Square at 2211 North Milwaukee Avenue, a 6-story, 120-unit apartment building with a total area of 144,000 square feet. Another similarly-sized project is the PGM X University Village at West 14th Street, a 146,000 square-foot apartment of seven stories and 99 units.
7744 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60649
About UJAMAA Construction
President and CEO Jimmy Akintonde formed UJAMAA Construction in 2002. Today, the firm has an average annual caseload of 50+ projects with an aggregate bonding capacity of $60 million. The firm boasts an excellent EMR safety rating of .72, a rating far above the national standard, and a portfolio of which 2/3 of all projects come from repeat customers. UJAMAA has won numerous accolades, including the Association of Subcontractors and Affiliates Outstanding General Contractor of the Year Award, Builder’s Association of Greater Chicago Corporate Citizenship Award, and United Voters of Truth & Change Presidential Award.
In the South Side of Chicago, UJAMAA built the Kennedy Jordan Manor at 825 West 118th Street. The property consists of a four-story, 70-unit building fully dedicated for senior housing. An additional, larger project is the Diamond Senior Apartments in Oswego, a three-story, 63-unit affordable senior housing complex that sits on 2.76 acres of land.
333 W Wacker Dr, Ste 250, Chicago, IL 60606
About Leopardo Companies
Leopardo Companies is a Hoffman Estates-based general contractor that specializes in healthcare, interiors, retail, hospitality, office, industrial, multifamily and municipal construction. The company was established by James A. Leopardo in 1977, and his son, President and CEO Mike Leopardo, currently leads the firm. Currently, Leopardo has a portfolio of more than 75 million square feet in completed construction, valued at $6.5 billion, with a staff of more than 400 industry professionals and an annual turnover of over 400 projects. From such a record, the firm has received numerous distinctions, including the MAC Excellence in Masonry Award, the AIA Excellence in Architecture, ENR Top 200 Contractors in America, and the NAIOP Office Development of the Year Award.
Leopardo transformed the 10-story, 255,000 square-foot historic building at 315 South Peoria Street into the Tailor Lofts, a 135-unit student housing for local Chicago area students of Kent College of Law, Columbia College, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, Robert Morris College, Illinois Institute of Art, and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Another notable project is the residential tower at 41 East 8th Street, which boasts 4 floors of townhouses below 30 floors of condominium units.
35 E Wacker Dr, Ste 1300, Chicago, IL 60601
Clayco is a full-service developer, designer and builder headquartered in Chicago with offices in St. Louis, Atlanta and Greenville, SC. The company’s portfolio includes 350 iconic and complex projects across the country, 190 million square feet of new construction, and 70 million square feet of renovation. Clayco’s more than 2,000 employees across the country have earned the firm more than $2 billion in revenue in 2017 alone. Among its many accolades, Clayco has consistently ranked at the top of ENR’s Top 400 Contractors.
Among its many business lines, Clayco’s multi-family sector has completed several projects across the United States. From apartments to student housing, its portfolio shows the efficiency and creativity of the firm’s multi-family design-build process. Chicago’s growing demand for rental properties coupled with solid economic foundations has made it a primary focus for future multi-family growth. Partnered with the firm’s in-house developer, CRG, and in-house design firm, BatesForum, Clayco recently completed A.M. 1980, a 7-story multi-family housing complex in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. The $36.2 million development consists of studio, convertible, one and two bedroom units and 7,100 SF of ground floor retail space. The firms are also partnering on a residential tower in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood at the southeast corner of Sheridan and Wilson, which broke ground earlier this year. The luxury 12-story, 150-unit apartment building will include a 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck, coffee bar, fitness center, and 6,000 SF of ground floor retail. Clayco’s collaboration with its brand family strengthens the design-build process, creating a single operation for the many steps of a project, resulting in thriving multi-family communities that people are proud to call home.
309 S Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
About Linn-Mathes, Inc.
Established in 1919, Linn-Mathes, Inc. is a Chicago-based residential, industrial, mixed-use and commercial construction company. The firm is currently under its third generation of family ownership and operation, led by President Brad Mathes. The decades of experience and its diversified portfolio of completed projects enables the firm to handle all types of projects, from the smallest renovations to the largest of new construction. Linn-Mathes has been honored with multiple awards, including the LISC Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, the National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, the AIA Merit Citation, and the ULI Vision Awards.
At 1616 East 56th Street, Linn-Mathes built the Solstice on the Park, a 27-story, 250 unit market-rate rental housing structure that features a sloped curtain wall on the south façade, designed to follow the angle of the sun on the Summer Solstice. The tower is supported by an adjacent parking structure on the site with 316 spaces, and amenities that include a library/study room, lounge, café, fitness center, and an exterior pocket park nestled between the tower and the parking garage. Another notable project is the development at 221 West Hubbard Street, a 23-story rental residential tower containing 195 units above 4 levels of parking and one level of retail on the ground floor.
216 S Jefferson St, Ste 502, Chicago, IL 60661
About Clark Construction
Clark Construction has grown from a small local excavator in 1906 into one of the most capable and trusted contractors in the entire United States today. The firm is proud of having balanced its heritage as a local contractor with its reach throughout the country. With over 4,200 employees spread across its regional offices, the company has the experience and capability to tackle every project of every size imaginable, and successfully deliver them through their impeccable service. The firm has won many awards, including the AGCA Alliant Build America Awards, the ABC Eagle Awards, the ENR Best of the Best Awards, and the DBIA Awards.
Clark built the Linea Apartments at 215 West Lake Street, a 265-unit residential building that rises 27 floors and includes two floors of amenities, featuring fitness rooms, a pool, spa, outdoor terraces, theater, library, business center, cafe, social room, and conference rooms. Meanwhile, currently in the pipeline is the Albion at Oak Park in Oak Park, IL, a 19-story, 340,000 square-foot apartment building with 265 residential units.
James McHugh Construction Company
1737 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
About James McHugh Construction Company
Since 1897, James McHugh Construction Company has been building some of the most complex and iconic buildings and infrastructure in Chicago and the Midwest, including Marina City, Aqua Tower, Blackstone Hotel, Trump Tower, and the Navy Pier Centennial Wheel. This general contractor is currently led by Chairman Patty McHugh and President Dave Alexander. Among its numerous accomplishments, James McHugh Construction was a recipient of the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design American Architecture Awards, the ACEC Grand Award, the AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award, and the SEAI Award of Merit.
McHugh built Aqua, an 82-story mixed-use tower at 225 North Columbus Drive. The award-winning Aqua includes 750 condominiums and apartments, a 334-room Radisson Blu hotel, office space, a 1,000-vehicle parking garage and retail space. It was selected the Emporis Skyscraper of the Year in 2009. Meanwhile, McHugh is currently constructing NEMA Chicago, the 76-story mixed-use tower at 1200 South Indiana Avenue that will be home to more than 790 apartments and 1.1 million square feet of living space. NEMA’s 16-story base will contain a 15,000-square-foot landscaped pool and amenity deck for residents, parking for over 500 vehicles, and 12,000 square feet of retail space.
Power Construction Company
8750 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Ste 500, Chicago, IL 60631-3546
About Power Construction Company
Founded in 1926, Power Construction Company is a general construction company specializing in residential, healthcare, hospitality, office, institutional and industrial projects within Chicago and northern Illinois. Crain’s Chicago ranked the firm in the Largest General Contractors in Chicago, considering the company’s annual revenue of $1 billion and professional staff of 270, not to mention a workload in which more than 90% comes from repeat clients. Power’s projects have also garnered a number of awards, including R+D Award, and the Modern Healthcare Gold Award.
Power was the general contractor for the Marquee at Block 37 at 25 West Randolph Street. This 34-story, 690-unit apartment complex measures 765,000 square feet. Meanwhile currently under construction by Power is the 48-story apartment tower at 465 North Park Drive. The 588,000 square-foot complex will house 444 rental units, as well as a 181-car parking garage and a variety of amenities.
30 S Wacker Dr, 24th Flr, Chicago IL 60606
From its origin and headquarters in Sydney, Lendlease has become a 12,740-employee global real estate investment, development, and general contracting company with operations and offices all over Australia, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Dutch immigrant and innovator Dick Dusseldorp formed the company in 1958 with “a vision to create a company that could successfully combine the disciplines of construction, development and investment.” In addition to the numerous accolades the company gained outside Chicago, Lendlease has been honored locally with the 3 Star Fitwell Rating and the Energy STAR Leadership in Housing Award.
Lendlease is currently building One Bennett Park at 451 East Grand Avenue. The 774,000 square foot, 70-story luxury apartment and condominium building will host 279 residential apartments and 69 condominiums. At 836 feet tall, it will be the tallest all-residential tower in Chicago. Meanwhile, Lendlease completed the adaptive reuse of the 1927 Jarvis Hunt-designed building at 850 Lake Shore Drive, which is now a residential complex consisting of 198 high-end apartments with parking, rooftop gardens on the 8th and 20th floors, a roof deck on the 20th floor, and building amenities on the 5th floor including a swimming pool, whirlpool and fitness facility.
643 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-3608
About Pepper Construction
Stanley F. Pepper established Pepper Construction in 1927 in the midst of world-firsts and record-breakers, from Babe Ruth, and Charles Lindbergh, to the movie The Jazz Singer. From humble beginnings in a ground-breaking world, Pepper Construction now stands as a respected and reputable general contractor in the Midwest, with an impressive portfolio of projects that includes historically significant buildings. Pepper has won numerous prestigious industry awards, including the NAHB Pillars of the Industry Award, the National AIA Design Award, and the National Brick in Architecture Award.
Pepper was responsible for building the MILA Apartments at 200 North Michigan Avenue. This 41-story, 515,000 square-foot luxury apartment tower at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street includes 402 residences, a 125-car parking garage and two levels of retail space, as well as a full range of amenities spread over 30,000 square feet. MILA is LEED Gold-certified due to the numerous eco-friendly mechanisms during construction of the building. Pepper was also responsible for building the new residence hall of the Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. The residence hall offers 1,000 single rooms in clusters of 12.
W.E. O’Neil Construction
1245 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607
About 1245 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607
Currently led by the fourth generation of the founding family, W.E. O’Neil Construction is a general contractor established in 1925 and headquartered in Chicago. The firm currently has operating units in Chicago, Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Diego, Denver and Nashville. The company has a strong reputation in the construction industry, with over 80% of its work currently coming from repeat clients. W.E. O’Neil has received numerous accolades over the years, including the Cisco Project of The Year Award, the Building Design + Construction Top 75 Retail Construction Firms, the Chicago Commercial Real Estate Development of the Year Award, the Chicago Building Congress Merit Award, and the ASA Outstanding Project of the Year Award.
W.E. O’Neil built the apartment complex at 1401 South State Street. The 22-story, 237,000 square-foot tower features 278 residential units, roof terrace at the 4th floor, private adjacent park, and a 3-level concrete parking structure fit for 194 cars. W.E. O’Neil is also currently constructing the Lincoln Common Development, a 1 million square-foot redevelopment of the old Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park. This complex will include two 20-story apartment towers, as well as retail and office buildings, 700 market-rate residential units, 140 senior housing units, 130 affordable housing units, 85,000 square feet of retail, a new fitness club and an acre of green space with a plaza and fountain.
929 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60607
About Walsh Group
Founded in 1898, The Walsh Group is a Chicago-based family-owned company providing design, build, finance, operation and activation services. The firm operates out of 18 regional offices across North America and employs more than 8,000 skilled tradespeople and professional staff. The Walsh Group and its projects have won a multitude of industry awards, including the ACEC New York Platinum Engineering Award, Women in Construction Awards, DBIA National Awards of Merit, the Envision Platinum Sustainability Award, the DBIA National Award of Excellence, and Engineering News-Record’s Best Project Awards.
Walsh is currently constructing multiple high-profile projects in Chicago, including the prominent Wolf Point East at 350 North Orleans Street, a 60-story, 940,000 square-foot residential tower with 707 luxury apartments, six levels of below grade parking, 4,000 square feet of street-level retail, and 35,000 square feet of amenities. Also under construction are The Paragon Chicago at 1326 South Michigan Avenue, a 47-story tower that will contain 500 luxury rental units, as well as Alta Grand Central, a pair of 14-story towers that contain 346 units spanning across 368,000 square feet. Walsh recently completed residential high-rises in Chicago’s River North and South Loop neighborhoods – Moment, 1001 South State Street and Alta Roosevelt.