PBC Hires African-American Firms to Manage Projects

Terry Levin, (312) 744-9277

Three African-American owned firms were appointed by the Public Building Commission Tuesday to help manage the day-to-day operations for the building of five new police and fire stations in Chicago.

Also Tuesday, the PBC board awarded a contract to build the new West Englewood branch library with a special incentive to boost the hiring of community residents during its construction.

Appointed as the PBC’s owner’s representative for the construction of the new Austin District and Albany Park District police stations was the joint venture of H.J. Russell & Co. and Louis Jones Enterprises.

Both are African-American-owned firms, with Russell a major contractor based in Atlanta that recently opened a Chicago office, according to PBC executive director Eileen Carey “The appointment of H.J. Russell is particularly significant because it marks the entry of a new, major company into our local market for public projects,” Carey said. “We’ve also encouraged the firm to submit the paperwork-which it has-that would allow it to bid on future PBC projects as a prime contractor in addition to its owner’s representative work.”

H.J. Russell has been involved in such major construction projects as the expansions of the Georgia World Congress Center and the Hartsfield Airport; construction of the Atlanta Federal Center; and building the new Philips Atlanta NBA/NHL Arena.

Russell’s partner on the new 15th and 17th district police station projects, Louis Jones Enterprises, based in Chicago, also was appointed as the PBC’s owner’s representative for the development of the new Chicago Lawn District police station in partnership with Tishman Construction Corp.

And a third African-American-owned company, CATH Associates Inc., was appointed Tuesday by the PBC as owner’s representative for development of the new fire stations to be built for Engine Co. 88 and Engine Co. 109.

These five new police and fire stations are part of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Neighborhoods Alive 21 program, which is replacing outdated public buildings throughout Chicago. Daley also is chairman of the PBC.

All three of the new police stations will be replacing current buildings more than 60 years old [the 15th District station was built in 1918], while the two Fire Department engine companies are now housed in buildings more than 70 years old.

Also Tuesday, the PBC awarded a $2.6 million contract for building the new West Englewood branch library at 63rd Street and Hermitage Avenue-a contract that contains a special incentive for the contractor to hire Englewood residents on this project.

This incentive gives the contractor more credit toward meeting its requirement to hire Chicago residents for on-site work when those workers are from the surrounding community rather than elsewhere in city.

It is in addition to the firm’s commitments that at least half the journeyman, apprentice and laborer work performed on site will be done by minority workers and that at least 28% of the total contract value will be spent with minority-owned subcontractors and nearly 7% with woman-owned firms.

Fredrickson/KRJ was the lowest of four bidders on the West Englewood Library project, though one of the other bidders, UBM Inc, last month was awarded the contract-also competitively bid-to build the new fire station at 67th Street and Dorchester Avenue for Engine Co. 63.