Chicago has a solid economy, a burgeoning job market, and a diverse economy that includes energy, financial services, and telecommunications. As the city grows, construction and development will continue to be on the rise, and many enterprises are responding to the demand by establishing commercial spaces in the area.
The list below includes the best retail contractors in Chicago, Illinois. We selected these firms for their accreditations, certifications, and professional affiliations. Our editorial team also considered their industry awards, client reviews, and press features. Below we provide information about the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and the length of time they have been in the industry.
210 N. Carpenter Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60607
Leopardo is a recognized construction company with the resources to produce world-class projects using cutting-edge methods in every major industry. CEO Mike Leopardo has over 30 years of construction experience, and he has grown Leopardo from a small family-owned outfit into one of the nation’s top general contractors. Mike formerly worked as executive vice president, where he provided leadership, vision, and direction to all of Leopardo’s business units. Prior to that role, he was the head of Leopardo’s specialist institutional business unit, in charge of healthcare and senior living operations. In 2018, Mike was inducted into the Midwest Real Estate News Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame.
Mike’s management and direction have been invaluable for the company with projects like the design-build renovation of the Lexus of Naperville car dealership. The development contains a customer waiting area, a showroom and service department, a new café with a fireplace, offices, and a reception area. It features a unique water wall in the reception area and a media wall in the customer waiting area that required the installation of large audiovisual fixtures, from LED touch screens to surround sound systems.
643 North Orleans Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Under the leadership of Stan Pepper, Pepper Construction believes that the future of construction is pointed in the direction of innovation, sustainability, resiliency, and performance. For those reasons, the firm’s practice is centered on expanding services and exploring every facet of the construction process. The firm’s extensive list of services includes lean construction, MEP coordination, quality and safety management, virtual design and construction, as well as other delivery methods that employ the use of environmental technologies and sustainable practices.
Stan represents the third generation of leadership in the company his grandfather, Stanley Pepper, founded in 1927. Stan began working with the firm at the age of 15, rising through the ranks of carpentry, marketing, and project management, eventually becoming president at 32. Scot Pepper joins him as president and provides strategic oversight for all aspects of the company’s operations. He serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Harper College Educational Foundation.
One of Pepper Construction’s technology-forward projects is the Under Armour store at Easton Town Center. The turret was re-clad with a black steel-like material that changes the dynamic of this entry point and anchors the exterior. A giant custom Under Armour bust highlighting the company’s first innovative product makes a bold brand statement at the entrance. Customers are drawn into the store by the digital ceiling display, while a five-sided marquee at the central escalators directs them to the second level.
9500 W Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 200, Rosemont, IL 60018
The award-winning McShane Construction Company has built complex projects throughout the US for over three decades. Chairman Jim McShane, a Professional Engineer (PE), founded the firm in 1984, bringing his Marquette University Civil Engineering degree to the core markets of industrial and office construction. The firm has since expanded to the multi-family and healthcare sectors, with fellow Marquette University Civil Engineering alumnus Mat Dougherty, PE, joining McShane as president. Dougherty came on board the team in 2000 and worked his way up. He oversees the firm’s projects from its Rosemont, Illinois headquarters as well as four regional offices in Alabama, California, Arizona, Nashville, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. McShane ranked 30th on ENR’s 2020 list of Top Midwest Contractors, and he has received numerous other awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors Illinois Chapter, the Chicagoland Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP).
Among its notable retail projects is The Shops and Lofts at 47, a mixed-use development designed and constructed to meet Chicago Green Homes and Green Roof standards. The 202,000-square-foot complex houses a 72-unit mixed-income housing component on the second through fifth floors, a parking garage on the second floor, and 54,000 square feet of retail space anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market on the ground level. McShane also completed the construction of three new residential flats and the rehabilitation of one existing residential flat, providing 24 additional units.
3423 N Drake Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618
A trained carpenter, President John Novak envisioned Novak Construction as a commercial firm capable of building strong client relationships and providing a superior quality of work when he founded it in 1980. Headquartered in Chicago, Novak Construction provides pre-construction, general construction, and construction management across the country. As a licensed general contractor, the firm has completed an overwhelming list of construction projects not just in Illinois but in over 30 other states. Today, the firm has earned the trust of clients in the retail, institutional, and multi-family sectors. It has maintained lifelong partnerships with some of the biggest names in retail: Target, Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods, a testament to its consistently reliable, high-quality services.
Novak Construction has served as General Contractor on over 55 projects for Whole Foods Market. It has built ground-up precast and masonry buildings as well as multiple build-outs and store remodels. The featured location is a two-story, 75,000-square-foot store located in Chicago’s historic Lakeview neighborhood. It is the largest ground-up Whole Foods in the Midwest. The development contains enclosed parking for 295 cars, a 4,000 square-foot second-floor mezzanine area for outdoor dining, and a year-round green wall with an adjacent community park.
Bulley & Andrews
1755 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
Founded in 1891, family-owned and operated, Bulley & Andrews (B&A) is one of the region’s most accomplished construction firms. B&A is committed to applying its professional services to projects that improve lives and grow organizations in measurable and meaningful ways. The firm is well-recognized for its sophisticated approach to construction, which leverages technology and a solution-driven mindset to deliver projects that exceed expectations.
Representing a diverse portfolio of clients, the firm is responsible for building and restoring distinctive structures, as well as countless properties that define and serve their respective owners. Among the services offered are new construction, preconstruction, design-build, and masonry and concrete restoration. With 32 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professionals (LEED AP) on its roster, sustainable building is at the core of this firm’s environmentally-conscious work. Bulley & Andrews’ consistent ranking on the ENR’s annual Top 400 is reflective of its work.
Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Allan E. Bulley III, Bulley & Andrews provided construction management services for the new Howard Orloff Jaguar and Land Rover Auto Dealership. This new dealership has three levels of parking, a 4,000-square-foot auto showroom, and office/ancillary space. Some of the project’s unique features are the soldier beam and lagging earth retention system, as well as a steel structure with hollow core floor slabs.
661 West Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Founded in 1999 by Charles Norwesh and Jeff Jozwiak, Norcon has established itself as a leader in today’s progressive construction industry. Their diverse history of projects includes commercial, retail, educational, pharmaceutical, hospitality, religious and high-end residential. Norcon has traveled to over a dozen states to complete projects for its clients. Its in-house staff manages all aspects of construction from the initial preconstruction phase through final completion. Norcon is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and recently completed construction of their own office building which achieved LEED Gold Status and received certification from the Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities. In 2006, Norcon was the construction management firm selected in Chicago to build for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Norcon converted a bland strip mall space into this new retail store, Blu Dot. A custom screen made of aluminum tubing encircles the building exterior giving the store a unique new identity; custom metal fabrications and signage allude to the material qualities and craftsmanship of the furniture on display inside. The store interior features abundant natural light reflected in the highly polished resin floor; sheer curtains subdivide the space into room-like zones but allow spatial transparency.
200 W Madison Street, Suite 2220, Chicago, IL 60606
The family-owned Valenti Builders Inc. was established by Jim Valenti III in 1991. His sons, Jimmy IV and Anthony, started helping out in the business in grade school and officially joined the team as project managers in 2009. 30 years down the line, the Valentis remain hands-on in every project they build throughout the Bay Area, supervised by CEO and LEED Accredited Professional Mark Valenti. Mark implements the company’s methodology, which is founded on the principle that the needs of the clients must come first. As a full-service construction management and general contractor, Valenti Builders is experienced in various sectors and building types.
In collaborating closely with clients, Valenti Builders is able to develop strategies on how it can strengthen the value of each project as demonstrated in the Park Ridge Uptown redevelopment. The mixed-use development houses three five-story buildings connected by two levels of underground parking. The development consists of 270,000 square feet of residential space, 455 underground parking stalls, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and a public plaza.
Helios Construction Services
2324 West Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612
Helios Construction Services is a commercial general contractor and construction management company based in Chicago, IL. The Helios approach is collaborative and relies on data and technology to deliver predictable, accurate results. The firm applies its knowledge in technology from preconstruction to completion to confirm contract pricing and meet schedule and budget targets. The team spearheaded by Aash Desai continuously explores creative solutions to make construction better. It has worked on projects in many sectors across the US, including retail, hospitality, mixed-use, multi-family, office, industrial, and education.
Helios assisted Credo Beauty by designing and building their new Bucktown location. The firm did core and shell building repairs to retain the original envelope while allowing for custom design-build interior buildout. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were remodeled and private treatment rooms were added. The scope of work covered early budgeting, code design, permit processing, landlord work, and construction over a fast-tracked three-month schedule.
2234 W North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
LG Group is an integrated development company anchored by ingenuity, teamwork, and expertise. By assembling finance, design, marketing, leasing, and management teams under one roof, each phase of the development process blends seamlessly to provide a holistic approach, resulting in a higher level of collaboration and risk management. LG Construction is a full-service construction company powered by collaboration, creativity, and resourcefulness. Its portfolio is centered on hospitality, retail, core and shell, and multi-family facilities.
Brian Goldberg is the founder and CEO of LG Group and has spent the last 17 years developing over $2 billion worth of high-end residential and commercial projects. His expertise has grown to include a multitude of project types over several different asset classes, consistently focusing on high design and cutting-edge technology. His relentless pursuit of the highest level of quality and service has led LG to become a top-tier platform that has produced projects like the Aesop store in Chicago.
Cool-toned tiles are laid across the floors, complemented by white-painted walls and a service counter. Rough fragments of Bath stone have been placed on steel pegs and display goods artifact-style between the shelves. The texture of the stucco finish of the walls is emphasized by the light coming in from above.
4701 N Ronald Street, Harwood Heights, IL 60706
With offices in Chicago and Houston, Level Construction is a building firm that specializes in both commercial and residential properties throughout these cities and their neighboring suburbs. TJ Patel, Mitesh Patel, and Alex Johnson guide the firm in delivering additions, renovations, new building construction, traditional project coordination, execution in general contracting, construction management, and design-build. With over two million square feet worth of completed work in over a thousand projects, Level has acquired a number of awards and honors, including being listed on Crain’s Fast Fifty in 2014 and 2015, Houston’s Fast 100 in 2014 and 2015, and Inc. 5000 in 2015. Level’s signature design-build approach is characterized by a streamlined process that minimizes risks and assures successful project execution.
Some of the firm’s previous clients include Marriott, McDonald’s, Jollibee, Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Jack in the Box, Hyatt, Burger King, and Baskin Robbins. Another great example of the firm’s work is the Patel Brothers Grocery in Naperville. Patel Brothers is built on the basis of customer convenience, but also with the ability to process a high volume of goods through back of house and sales areas. Aisles are kept wide and doorways are oversized both for width and height for ease of transferring pallets of goods. New stores are also constructed with the ability to transport pallets of goods directly from the back-of-house to consumers’ vehicles for high-demand products.
80 Main Street, Lemont IL 60439
The year 2001 marked the beginning of Englewood Construction, with Bill Di Santo, a licensed architect and general contractor, at the helm of the firm. The commercial construction company has since emerged as one of Illinois’s leading contractors. Through its skilled team of project managers and administrative staff, the firm is able to ensure the complete realization of any project. The firm’s collective work ethic is deeply rooted in integrity, honesty, and accountability. Englewood Contractors has worked on both local and national commercial projects in the restaurant, retail, hospitality, and education sectors. The company is budget-conscious and provides fast, efficient project delivery.
Englewood Construction’s capability in building retail stores ranges from big-box retailers to specialty stores like Barnes & Noble. The firm performed construction management and pre-construction services for the Purple mattress store in Skokie. The interiors are distinguished by the careful layering of wooden slats on the walls and ceiling. Stacked wooden pieces that hang over the beds and lounge areas add a sense of coziness. The beautifully lit walls are framed with vertical panels, adding depth to the space.
Development Solutions, Inc.
322 S Green Street, Suite 508, Chicago, IL 60607
Since 1992, Development Solutions, Inc. (DSI) has built for clients such as Verizon and Colliers International throughout Chicagoland. Managing Principals Daniel Mazeiro, Martin Moran, and Jacob Karamol lead the 60-person team as it tackles compelling complex projects. One of the firm’s founders, LEED AP Mazeiro, has a background in architecture and urban design and a master’s degree from Harvard University. Moran joined the team as a project manager after earning his bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Southern Illinois University. He has since completed over three million square feet of tenant interior projects. LEED AP Karamol rounds out the leadership team with a deep background in commercial real estate development and design-build construction. He is also a member of the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks.
Verizon Wireless selected DSI to renovate the building’s façade and construct the largest Verizon Wireless Destination Store in the country. The 27,000 square-foot project involved a 4-story façade renovation featuring black granite and structural glass curtain wall, and a three-story atrium cut into the existing slab floors. A three-floor media wall, a two-story thru floor digital sign, and state-of-the-art audiovisuals and lighting were incorporated into the high-end retail floor space.