Expect to see some scaffolding begin to crawl up the façade of McKay Tower this spring as exterior renovations on the venerable high-rise begin in earnest.
Cleaning and rust-proofing of the structural steel behind the terra cotta exterior on the fourth floor water table will begin in March and run through late summer, said building owner Steadfast Properties LLC.
The work will necessitate protective walk-through canopies over the building’s public entrances for the project duration. Retail tenants will operate as normal during the renovations to the historic building located at 146 Monroe Center NW in downtown Grand Rapids.
The work is part of the new owners long-term interior and exterior renovation and ongoing maintenance plans. The city shut down Pearl Street at Monroe Avenue NW last Friday, Feb. 22, while a crane installed new cooling units on the roof.
Inside, the old second floor Grand Rapids National Bank lobby is being converted into a ballroom event facility, and the upstairs condominium units are being converted into luxury apartments. New elevators and are being installed as well.
McKay Tower to undergo exterior touch up work starting in March
The historic McKay Tower is scheduled to undergo some exterior renovations starting in March and lasting through late summer.
Scaffolding and machinery are currently being set up along the foundation of the building. Protective walk-thru canopies will cover the building’s public entrances through the duration of the project, including entrances to all the building’s retail tenants. Additionally, all retail tenants will continue to operate as normal during the construction.
“McKay Tower needs some exterior repair, so we’ll be working diligently to bring the building back to historic charm while ensuring the structure itself is completely taken care of,” said Chaundra Derks, Operations Manager for the building’s owner Steadfast Properties. “We will do all we can to minimize distractions to our retail and commercial tenants, and hope that the public will continue to support them as well.”
The primary work that will be performed is cleaning and rust-proofing the structural steel behind the terra cotta exterior of the fifth floor. Grand Rapids-based restoration contractor D.C. Byers Company will performing the rust-proofing repairs while Illinois-based structural engineering firm WJE Engineers will oversee the entire project.
The repairs are part of Steadfast’s long-term $4m investment in enhancing the historic high-rise.
“WJE informed us when we were purchasing the building that exterior repairs were necessary, so we decided to pursue this work sooner than later to avoid further damage,” Derks adds. “We hope our retail tenants and building guests understand these repairs are necessary.”
Steadfast intentionally chose March to begin some of the repairs, specifically near Biggby and Kilwins so to be completed before outdoor seating areas are in full swing. “So much of these repairs are weather-dependent, but we’ll do all we can to minimize interfering with any outside seating,” said Derks.
First floor building tenants include Subs-N-More, Biggby Coffee, Kilwins and Tanaz Hair Salon. Lower level tenants include Sushi Yama, Chic’s Frame & Poster and Charlie’s Shoe Repair.
All repairs will be performed between 7:00am and 4:00pm on weekdays.
Pearl Street is closed at Monroe Avenue NW, tentatively until Monday, Feb. 25, as Gelock Heavy Movers remove the old cooling system on McKay Tower and help replace it with a new one.
Jeff Smoes, cranes operator for Gelock Heavy Movers, said the team could potentially finish the project on Saturday, Feb. 23 if the wind cooperates.
“Otherwise, we have permission to close the street until Monday,” he said.
The crane Smoes operates weighs 265 tons and reaches 197 feet, with an extension of 86 feet.
Chaundra Derks, director of operations of Steadfast Consulting and Investments, LLC that owns the building, said they are placing the new cooling system on the roof.
Owners of McKay Tower, located on the corner of Pearl Street and Monroe Center NW, are remodeling the top floor of the building into apartments. Other parts of the building are rented to various businesses.