After more than three months away, East Bank Club members recently returned to new and improved space. Shortly before Illinois’ shelter-in-place order began, James McHugh Construction Co. had completed an 8,000-square-foot expansion at the East Bank Club at 500 N. Kingsbury Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
The work included the addition of a 70-bike cycling studio and a members-only coworking space on a newly constructed mezzanine level. The $6.9 million project also included the transformation of existing space under the mezzanine into a new free weight room, updates to the club’s cardio room and the construction of a new floating staircase leading to the mezzanine.
According to Nathan Aydelott, director of marketing for the East Bank Club, the additional space is particularly beneficial during times of social distancing. The 3,500-square-foot Showtime @ East Bank Club cycle studio currently houses less than its 70-bike maximum capacity to provide for proper physical distancing, and the 7,000-square-foot free weight room allows for ample space around a reduced amount of gym equipment. The new HQ @ East Bank Club coworking space is currently closed, but will reopen as part of the club’s phased reopening process.
“East Bank Club has been at the forefront of Chicago’s fitness scene since it opened, so it’s no surprise this project has tapped into one of the biggest trends within the fitness industry—the expansion of studios within a club model to give members that boutique experience,” said Michael Meagher, president of Chicago-based McHugh Construction. “Upon reopening, the modern coworking space will bring private meeting areas and socializing places for networking and community-building. The high-tech cycling studio creates the perfect environment for members to immerse themselves in an intense workout while getting motivation from the performance metrics on the video screen as well as from fellow cyclists.”
At full capacity, the new cycle studio can house 70 SC3 Series indoor bikes by Stages Cycling that face a 23-by-13-foot high-res LED video screen. The state-of-the-art bikes are equipped with Stages Power meters. The studio also features ambient lighting, a cinema-grade sound system and “Flight,” the most advanced indoor cycling group display experience for riders.
The new coworking space on the mezzanine level overlooks the cardio room and, upon reopening, will offer informal gathering places with couches and chairs as well as study space, office desks, conference rooms, private phone rooms, massage chairs and a bar with kombucha on tap and a gourmet coffee machine
McHugh oversaw construction and self-performed concrete for the five-phase project at East Bank Club. On the first floor, under the club’s new mezzanine level, McHugh demolished one tennis court to make way for the new free weight room. Large entrances on both sides of the floating staircase connect the free weight room to the updated cardio room and the artificial turf performance center, which all flow together for 35,000 square feet of seamless workout spaces. The updated cardio room received new flooring, finishes and paint. And a new area in front of the free weight room houses a concierge desk manned by an attendant who can guide post-workout stretching and use of recovery tools such as deep tissue massagers and vibrating massage balls.
The 14-month construction project included demolition, coring, steel erection and build out. To minimize disruptions to club operations, construction took place behind a floor-to-ceiling curtain with much of the work completed at night. The project architect was Chicago-based SCB. Subcontractors included Great Lakes Stair & Steel, Trico Mechanical, Meade Electric and AMS Plumbing.
To accommodate the two 7,000-pound-capacity forklifts needed to transport materials for erecting the structural steel for the mezzanine and floating staircase, McHugh’s crews had to cut concrete around an existing side door to make the entrance wider and taller. The largest steel beams weighed 14,000 pounds and had to be spliced into two pieces.
“We leaned on our storehouse of knowledge in reconfiguring spaces and adding onto existing buildings to devise creative and time-saving solutions in tight access conditions,” said Jeanne Bartels, senior project manager of McHugh Construction. “With any project there are challenges, but that’s part of the rush of working in construction—figuring out the answers and solving problems. Here, the challenge was the tight access and performing intense work without disrupting the club’s operations.”