The construction industry is experiencing quite a boom, especially in North American cities. Among these high growth markets, Chicago stands out from the crowd.

As the number of Chicago construction projects grows companies have to work hard to meet demand. With the increased demand for residential spaces, offices, and even storefronts, Chicago has found a way to both accommodate these new developments and highlight and preserve its rich history.

Types of Projects

With more and more people choosing to live and work in Chicago, the city will need new homes and offices. However, there is only so much physical space in the city, and resources are limited. Between the rising cost of materials and the labor shortage, the margins on big projects -- like the plethora of megadevelopments underway in Chicago – are shrinking.

This is why Chicago is taking on many adaptive reuse projects. These projects allow for preservation of the city’s history, while also creating the spaces the community so desperately needs. It also allows for quicker turnaround than the alternative – completely demolishing existing structures and building entirely new ones.

For example, the Old Post Office offers 2.5 million square feet of office space living among the original framework of the century-old building. It still has the rustic exposed structures, but developers added modern amenities, as well.

The majority of adaptive reuse projects in the city include some type of residential space, be it apartments, condos, or townhouses. Senior living, affordable housing, and student spaces are of particular interest, as are modern medical and healthcare projects. The need for these will only increase in the next 10 years, as Chicago is expected to become a megacity.

The Next Megacity

Many cities across North America are growing, but Chicago is about to reach new heights; it is projected to become a “megacity” within the next decade or so. This means that it will be home to more than 10 million people and serve as an economic hub, fostering innovation. There are only two other megacities in the country – New York and Los Angeles.

If Chicago is to join the ranks of its coastal counterparts, it will have to provide the necessary infrastructure. It will have to find solutions for sustainability, sanitation, transportation, and housing. This is where the construction industry comes in, and where adaptive reuse projects are extremely helpful.

Skills Required

For the reasons outlined above, Chicago will provide many new opportunities to construction professionals over the next decade. Therefore, it is essential to hone the right skills and get the right experience so you can be competitive and valuable in the market.

Although adaptive construction experience is excellent to have when looking for opportunities in Chicago, it is not a must-have. If you’re new to the region or industry, you should be seeking out jobs adjacent to your prior experience or expertise.

In the case of adaptive reuse projects, you’ll want skills that align with the type of structure you will create through the project. For example, if you’re transforming an industrial site into residential apartments, multifamily experience is key to landing that job. At the same time, a diverse project list is definitely an asset in this market.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Chicago construction market, browse our Michael Page advice section and reach out to our expert team of recruitment consultants.