Oftentimes commercial real estate companies are looking to attract new tenants, but at Chicago’s Presidents Plaza, where the towers were already over 90 percent occupied, Glenstar’s goal was retention of top-tier tenants like Anthem and True Value. This required a capital improvement project that transformed 65,000 sq. ft. from dark and dated to light and modern in eight months—with minimal disruption to the tenants’ workday.

Client: Presidents Plaza

Location: 8600 Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL

Area: 44,000 sq. ft.

Construction Schedule: 21 weeks

Completion Date: September 2019




This $30 million project focused on renovating two connected towers, each with its own glass atrium. Existing flooring was removed and concrete was leveled to accommodate porcelain tile in the lobby. New stairs and glass railings were installed alongside Arktura millwork details, wood feature walls, modern light fixtures, and custom reception and security desks. A three-level, 11,400 sq. ft. fitness center received a complete overhaul as well, including exposed ceilings, turf flooring, and custom graffiti. High-end details like cloud ceiling tiles, wood trellis ceilings, metal panels, and an outdoor terrace help shape a moody yet inviting lounge, and the sleek, minimal cafe now has ample seating ideal for collaboration. Finally, the conference center was painted and carpeted, giving it the refresh needed to match the building’s modern aesthetic.



Through careful coordination and collaboration, including weekly meetings, we met the project’s tight deadlines—despite several material changes and problematic building conditions, due to age. We also prioritized stringent safety measures, working closely with building management to move people safely through construction areas by creating traffic patterns with temporary barricades. Ultimately the JCA team successfully modernized the Presidents Plaza amenities in a complex already near full capacity, and delivered on their ask to “bring the city to the suburbs.”