James Ohle, an architect with decades of experience, had never worked on a steel building. So when he was asked to design a new, cavernous 18,000-square-foot, start-of-the-art Chicago-area nightclub and cabaret, he had to consider options he never would have otherwise. The challenge was getting the building up in time for an early 2013 grand opening within a tight budget.
“Conventional construction just would not have worked,” Ohle said. “Construction materials and labor, and contracting costs would have rendered the project financially unsound.”
He turned to Allied Steel Buildings.
The focus of the club – and the budget – is on the technology it will offer patrons in this never-been-done before concept, Ohle said. There are the standard elements found in any cabaret the architect needed to consider, such as a kitchen, restaurant, bars, dance floors and dressing rooms. Beyond that, the final project includes 3-D and 4-D digital projections of scenery and costumes for the main stage. (There are three stages.)
The projection systems allows for full-scale, life-like scenery that can change nightly so that restaurant patrons may dine one night in Paris. Then the next night, the same visitors might find themselves eating in a 1930’s era Chicago speak-easy rendered in 3-D – complete with machine guns and mobsters. Or they may come back on another night to 16th Century England, possibly viewing knights jousting in full armor.
In addition to the projection system, the new cabaret will include full-size, completely life-like holograms so patrons can see Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe and Lady Gaga perform all in one night. The combined technologies involved have never been put in one building, under one roof for a club, Ohle said. To fit it all in one structure within budget parameters, he had to consider a steel building.
“I do not do metal buildings, never done it,” Ohle said.
But for the project to work in this case, he launched a nationwide search for a manufacturer of steel buildings. He decided on Allied Steel Buildings because of its history of on-time performance, customer service and follow-through with quality personnel.
“Once I turned to a steel building, these factors of performance and reputation were more important to me than price,” Ohle said. “Performance, experience and reputation are more valuable than cost because non-performance always results in higher and unanticipated final costs.”
Conventional construction of the building project would have taken 10 months, causing the developers to wait almost a year to open – all while paying to maintain the building. Using Allied Steel Buildings value engineering, the building enclosure was done in six weeks from the start and cost about 25 percent of conventional construction. In addition, by using one contractor the developers were better able to further control scheduling and costs by limiting the number of change orders or extras that are commonly associated with conventional construction projects.
With all the savings on the construction cost and time, the developers had more than enough budget left to incorporate a high-energy building facade, all the state-of-the-art technologies they wanted and it allowed for specialized training for the staff and entertainers. The club is scheduled to open February 14 with a few finishes still yet to be completed on the interior, Ohle said.
“Had we not brought Allied Steel Buildings to our team, the project’s purpose and my client’s dream would never have had materialized,” he added.