Don’t Be a Menace: Managing Major Renovations Without Inconveniencing Your Tenants

Chicago, IL | June 18, 2019

Don’t Be a Menace: Managing Major Renovations Without Inconveniencing Your Tenants

Michigan Plaza is a class-A, 2M SF office complex on Michigan Avenue in East Loop. The property underwent an extensive redevelopment in 2017 that made big improvements to the lobby area and tenant amenities. The yearlong process posed a number of potential major inconveniences for tenants and visitors by increasing noise levels, obstructing foot traffic, and limiting access to amenities. Although these inconveniences are the unfortunate byproduct of any construction process, there are steps that property management teams can take to reduce their improvement project’s negative impact on occupants. By anticipating disruptions before they happen and planning for the unexpected, Michigan Plaza’s management team was able to maintain day-to-day operations and keep tenants and visitors happy.

Don’t Be a Menace: Managing Major Renovations Without Inconveniencing Your TenantsSince the lobby’s security and registration desk was being replaced with a new, more contemporary model, our team’s first step was to create a short-term security and visitor registration desk. Michigan Plaza hosts up to 700 guests per day, and the new security desk was crucial in order to keep long lines from forming due to lack of space or disrupted service. For management teams overseeing big renovation projects, making necessary modifications like this before problems occur is key. Keep in mind however that communicating such changes with clear instruction to tenants and ensuring their cooperation is just as important in order to limit hassle.

The first goal of Michigan Plaza’s renovation was to modernize the lobby and optimize it for the property’s heavy foot traffic, as well as create a more seamless experience for tenants and visitors entering the building. Once unusable, a large part of the lobby was transformed into a lounge area that features a PVC fabric ceiling with LED lighting, skylight, large harvest table, seating for 70 people, and a concealed kitchen area for catering and tenant events. Well received by occupants and visitors alike, the lounge has also become an alternative meeting and collaboration area for those who do not have enough of their own space, or who want to get away from the office without having to leave the building.

Anticipating the unexpected is also a large part of successfully managing the construction process during a major renovation. Case in point, one of Michigan Plaza’s largest tenants decided to expand in the midst of the renovation and needed the space where the building’s fitness and tenant conference centers were located. The building needed to replace the popular amenities quickly, and not having the fitness center available for even a short time for its 300 members wasn’t an option.

The Michigan Plaza team was able to accommodate tenants’ immediate needs by giving members access to another facility two blocks away while the team moved equipment to the new center. The new fitness center is much bigger with high-end finishes, more equipment, and a larger work out room and locker rooms. The facility has increased its membership to approximately 500 members and counting since its renovation.

Along with a fitness center, Michigan Plaza built out a modern conference center on the same floor in order to centralize the building’s amenities. The new conference center is double its previous size and stocked with state-of-the-art AV equipment, has a more efficient space design, and a large, adjacent tenant lounge. The lounge area features hardwood floors, a large bar and kitchen area, lounge-style and library table seating, and booth seating.

Don’t Be a Menace: Managing Major Renovations Without Inconveniencing Your Tenants

Michigan Plaza’s lobby renovation and newly built-out amenity floor have been hugely successful with both current and prospective tenants. Building ownership and our management team were able to maintain daily operations and dramatically limit inconveniences to tenants and visitors by anticipating potential issues before they occurred and planning for the unexpected.


Learn more about MBRE’s Asset and Property Management division.