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Creating a Niche


Chicago’s new 18-story luxury rental tower, Niche 905, will offer 202 apartment units, along with various amenities, parking, and retail space.

To place the 12,000 cubic yards (9,175m3) of concrete for the project, McHugh is utilizing a Putzmeister BSA 14000 HP-D 8” Trailer Pump, brand new RS 850 Column Placing Tower, and an MX 34/38Z Placing Boom.

Located at the edge of Chicago’s growing River North neighborhood, the complex boasts gorgeous views of the city skyline.

The developer kicked off the project’s groundbreaking by presenting a $50,000 check to St. Luke Church of God in Christ, which is located directly across the street from the construction site.

The BSA 14000 trailer pump will pump up to a height of 212’ 6” (65m) for this particular project.

The placing boom, with a horizontal reach of 110 feet (34m), was able to reach all corners of the project.

The hydraulic self-climbing system is easily lifted through the floors below to raise the placing boom above the formwork.

Creating a Niche

Given Chicago’s thriving downtown business community and its ranking as the third most populous city in the United States, developers are continually competing to meet the high demand for urban housing options. To help address that need, Chicago-based Ascend Real Estate Group (Ascend) and Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation are developing a new 18-story luxury rental tower, called Niche 905, that will offer 202 apartment units, along with various amenities, parking, and retail space. The project’s general contractor, Power Construction, selected Chicago-based McHugh Construction (McHugh) to provide full concrete services for the job. To place the 12,000 cubic yards (9,175m3) of concrete for Niche 905, located at the edge of the growing River North neighborhood, McHugh is utilizing a Putzmeister BSA 14000 HP-D 8” Trailer Pump, brand new RS 850 Column Placing Tower, and an MX 34/38Z Placing Boom.

“McHugh has been around since the late 1800s, so we trust they know the business inside and out,” said Jim Glosson, senior superintendent for Power Construction. “We chose them not only for their commitment to quality and ability to maintain the project schedule and budget, but also for their overall professional approach to the project.”

A Community Groundbreaking
After two years of planning, in which the development teams included the entire neighborhood, construction on Niche 905 kicked off at the end of 2015 with a meaningful groundbreaking ceremony. Bill Wolk, president of Ascend, started the ceremony by thanking everyone involved in the planning process. He then handed a check for $50,000 over to Bishop James C. Austin Sr. of the St. Luke Church of God in Christ to contribute to the church’s building fund; the church is located directly across the street from the construction site and the Niche 905 project is being built on St. Luke’s former parking lot.

Bishop Austin graciously accepted the check on behalf of his church, which has been serving the neighborhood for 73 years. He thanked Mr. Wolk, and Ascend, while advising all in attendance he has been praying, and will continue to pray, for the project, and especially those working on the site, that they’ll remain safe. The district’s Alderman, Walter Burnett Jr., also spoke, praising the development team for their community collaboration and the donation to the church.

Self-Climbing System
After landing the Niche 905 contract, McHugh decided to invest in a new self-climbing Putzmeister RS 850 Column Placing Tower, which features 54 feet (16.5m) of tubular column, to make the climb to the top of the building quicker and easier. The company mounted its existing MX 34/38Z Placing Boom, with a horizontal reach of 110 feet (34m), on top of the new tower. A pipe system is being used to connect the placing boom and the BSA 14000 HP-D 8” Trailer Pump located at ground level.

The RS 850 Column Placing Tower was selected due to its innovative, hydraulic self-climbing system. As the floors are built, the complete column assembly is easily lifted through the floors below to raise the placing boom above the formwork. The entire structure, including delivery pipe line and ladder system, are lifted through a small floor opening of one square meter without the use of a tower crane.

“The self-climbing system allowed us to keep the placing boom on top of the tower during the jump sequence, whereas our previous, manual climbing system did not,” explained Max Levin, concrete project manager for McHugh. “This eased the jump sequence and reduced the duration of jumping the system. It also eliminated the use of the tower crane to jump the system, which now can be used for other activities.”

“We found the self-climbing tower to be extremely efficient and safe,” added Glosson.

Both parties have been pleased with the performance of the BSA 14000 trailer pump, as well, which will pump up to a height of 212’ 6” (65m) for this particular project.

“We have used the BSA 14000 on previous projects of even greater heights and it performed without any issues,” said Levin. “So, when it came time to use it on the Niche 905 project, we knew it could handle the challenge of pumping the concrete to the top.”

Given the busy downtown Chicago location, the trailer pump and tower set up were especially beneficial, as it minimized the footprint and amount of equipment required at ground level.

Consistent Vertical Progress
With a hard-working crew and top-of-the-line equipment, the team working on the high-rise has remained on a rigid schedule. 

“We pour half a slab every other day,” said Levin. “So if we pour half of the deck on Monday we are pouring the second half of the deck on Wednesday and another half of deck on the floor above on Friday.”

The vertical walls are poured the same day as the deck with the placing equipment, while the remaining vertical elements, such as the columns, are poured the day after the deck is poured. Concrete mixes for the project range from 4,000 psi to 8,000 psi. The decks are all 6,000 psi concrete that achieve 3,000 psi strength in about 24 hours.

Conclusion
Niche 905, which is slated for completion in Summer 2017, will incorporate all of the amenities expected out of big city luxury high-rises, including parking, a fitness center, and business center. But it will also incorporate some of the unexpected, like bike storage spaces, a sky deck pool and spa, on-site dog run and pet-washing station, an outdoor bar, and more. For more information on the project, visit niche905.com.

About Putzmeister America, Inc.
Specializing in concrete and material placing equipment for the construction industry, Putzmeister America, Inc. is the North American division of one of the world’s most recognized and respected heavy equipment manufacturers, Putzmeister Concrete Pumps GmbH. Putzmeister America, Inc. manufactures a complete line of truck-mounted concrete boom pumps, separate placing booms, truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyors, concrete transit mixers and trailer-mounted concrete pumps, as well as mortar, grout, shotcrete, plaster and fireproofing pumps and mixers, industrial pumps, tunneling machinery and pipeline systems. Some of the industry’s best known brands, such as Telebelt®, Thom-Katt®, and Tommy Gun®, are part of the Putzmeister America family. The company’s workforce is dedicated to hands-on customer support and advancing the industry in design and technical innovation.

SPECS:
Owner/Developer: Ascend Real Estate Group—Chicago and Intercontinental Real Estate Corporation—Boston
General Contractor: Power Construction—Chicago
Ready-Mix Supplier: Prairie Material—Bridgeview, Illinois
Equipment Supplier: McHugh Construction—Chicago
Equipment: One Putzmeister BSA 14000 HP-D 8” Trailer Pump, one Putzmeister RS 850 Column Placing Tower, and one Putzmeister MX 34/38Z Placing Boom.