Skender Construction, Partners by Design Complete Buildout for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

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Nonprofit uses modern office space to enhance company culture.

budget, Lean Construction, United Way

United Way headquarters

We were really happy to work with a project team that understood our organizational culture and values and translated those into a clean and collaborative space on a very tight budget.

United Way of Metropolitan Chicago has moved its more than 110 employees from its recently sold West Loop loft office to 28,000 square feet of collaborative, modern office space at 333 South Wabash Avenue, with Skender Construction serving as the general contractor, Partners by Design providing architectural services and project engineering provided by WMA Consulting Engineers. The new space represents a 30% reduction in overall square footage for United Way, the largest private funder of health and human services in Chicagoland, while still accommodating the organization’s need for staff growth and community meeting space.

As a nonprofit organization, United Way tasked the team to create an environment that will emphasize its role as a community convener within a space that would maximize its budget while improving upon the utilitarian loft office they formerly worked out of in the West Loop. Skender and Partners by Design helped create a collaborative space with an open floor plan with breakout spaces separated by custom graphic fabric that represents the organization’s mission and community work.

In the new office, each employee has a workstation with an uninterrupted view to the exterior, and a small number of glass-fronted offices are situated at the interior of the floor to take advantage of abundant natural lighting. Benching workstations serve as a workspace for visiting employees or relationship managers while “conversation hubs” provide a casual alternative to conference rooms for small groups to increase innovation, collaboration and team work.

“We were really happy to work with a project team that understood our organizational culture and values and translated those into a clean and collaborative space on a very tight budget,” said Joe Vanyo, chief operating officer for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

The project was completed in a compressed time frame of just three months. Development Resources Inc., represented United Way and Cushman & Wakefield provided brokerage services for United Way.

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About Skender Construction
Skender Construction changes the way people experience construction. From our passion to the way we’re innovating project delivery, our clients and project partners walk away feeling different about the process. Our approach is different – we believe a successful project builds on everyone’s expertise. True collaboration, innovation and a focus on efficiency creates value that clients see and touch. For more information on Skender, visit

About United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
United Way advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on the three key building blocks for strong families and healthy communities: Education, Income and Health. LIVE UNITED 2020 is United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s community-impact plan, focused on channeling education, income and health resources into 58 communities of greatest need. By 2020, United Way will: help 50,000 underperforming middle school students enter high school ready to succeed, advance economic stability for 100,000 households and connect over 200,000 individuals with available, preventative healthcare. Annually, LIVE UNITED 2020 will provide approximately one million individuals with access to crisis services including emergency food, shelter and freedom from violence. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

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Maureen Wilkey
Skender Construction Company
(312) 994-0781
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