After the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series win in 2016, the area around iconic Wrigley Field, located in the city’s north-side Lakeview/Wrigleyville neighborhood, underwent a transformation. A new year-round entertainment venue was built outside the ballpark’s west gate, previously a parking lot, by the Cubs’ owners, the Ricketts family. Gallagher Way, originally called The Park at Wrigley, appeals to more than just baseball fans, offering restaurants, outdoor movies, a farmer’s market, music and other family events.
Across Clark St. is the new 238,000-sq.-ft., seven-story Hotel Zachary, a Marriott property designed by VOA Associates/Stantec with 153 guest rooms and 20 suites, retail space and various dining establishments along Clark Ave. The boutique hotel opened last year and is inspired by Zachary Taylor Davis, the architect of Wrigley Field (as well as the old Comiskey Park of the Chicago White Sox). Hickory Street Capital is the Ricketts family-owned development company behind the project.
Walsh Construction, the general contractor on the project, hired design-build subcontractor Adamson Plumbing Contractors to design and install the plumbing systems in the hotel and restaurant spaces, as well as side utilities (bringing in water and sewer lines from the street). The 35-year-old commercial plumbing firm is located in suburban Addison, Ill., and co-owned by Doug Withington, a LEED Accredited Professional, and Chris Eisenhauer.
While Eisenhauer grew up in his family’s plumbing business, Eisenhauer Plumbing, Withington entered the industry nearly two decades ago after a career in marketing and management consulting. “I had young kids at home and the travel was extensive,” Withington recalls.
He started at Adamson Plumbing Contractors (the former Thomas P. Adamson Jr. & Associates) as an assistant project manager; his organizational skills honed in the corporate world were a natural asset for project management. He worked his way up to positions of more responsibility until he and Eisenhauer bought out Tom Adamson Jr. in 2014.
Withington handles office operations and Eisenhauer manages field operations. The company has an office staff of five and 60 plumbing technicians who primarily work on new construction or major renovation projects in the commercial/institutional/multifamily/hospitality sectors.
On the Hotel Zachary project, the Adamson Plumbing Contractors’ crew of 10 to 15 plumbers worked on the building for a year and a half. One of the challenges for the crew was the location itself.
“There were issues on game days,” Withington explains. “We don’t use a crane a lot but it was shut down on certain days because they didn't want it boomed out over Clark St. The neighborhood would go from being pretty quiet to teaming with tens of thousands of people on game day. Safety was a major concern. There was no room for error with a high-profile job like that.”
Noise also was an issue as the ballpark and hotel are located in a residential area. All construction crews had to be mindful of the city’s noise ordinance.
However, the biggest challenge for the crew was the hotel’s ground level. Because Hotel Zachary is across from Wrigley Field, the retail and restaurant spaces were very important. However, the building’s owners didn’t have all the retail/dining space rented out when Adamson Plumbing Contractors did its system design.
“Usually we’ll stub in the water and waste lines and call it a day,” Withington notes. “But with this hotel, we didn't know what was going in until the project was rolling along. We had to adjust our plumbing system to facilitate their build out.”
He adds: “We got too far ahead of ourselves with design and had to make a lot of changes to accommodate all the restaurant tenants. We designed the plumbing system for a hotel; in the end, it was much more a mixed-use building. It’s typically good to move fast during the design/coordination phase but due to the unique use of this project, it only ended up costing us money.”
The hotel boasts nearly a dozen dining/drinking options: Alma, The Bar, Big Star, Brickhouse Tavern, Dutch and Doc’s, Jeni’s, Lucky Dorr Patio and Tap, Mordecai, Smoke Daddy, Starbuck’s Reserve and Westown Bakery and Tap.
For the hotel section, Adamson Plumbing installed Kohler fixtures in the guestrooms, which are designed with a nod to the 105-year-old ballpark — ivy-green headboards, pinstripe carpet, leather wing chairs, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Wrigleyville, custom lighting, local artwork, historic photographs and rare Wrigley Field memorabilia.
Sloan fixtures were installed in the public areas of the building. Sloan Valve Co. is the official water efficiency partner of the Chicago Cubs; the team’s clubhouse, as well as the concourse, are outfitted with the commercial plumbing manufacturer’s sustainable products.
So, it only made sense to use its water-saving fixtures in the nearby hotel — Royal 111 ESS flushometers delivering 1.28 gal. per flush with hybrid SU-1009 urinals and ST-2459 water closets, and hands-free, Optima EAF-700 faucets customized with a brushed amber gold finish to match the trim along the restroom mirrors, as well as the handlebars in the water closet stalls.
Behind the walls, Adamson used cast-iron hub and spigots from Charlotte Pipe and Viega copper press fittings. The 2 million Btu domestic hot water system comes from A. O. Smith and includes a 1,000-gal. storage tank. The triplex booster pump system is from ITT Goulds.
Earlier this year, Withington had an 11-month walk-through with the facilities staff and all the mechanical trades. “The facility folks said they've been very pleased with how the building's operating across all trades,” he says. “It was a great project and Adamson Plumbing Contractors is proud to be part of it.”
Withington does have some advice for other design-build subcontractors working on commercial projects. “With the popularity of design-build, subcontractors need to understand the impact of being the engineer of record on projects,” he explains. “We (as subcontractors) tend to underestimate this cost; as a group, we need to be sure we adequately cover it in our bids.”