Wirtz Realty Corporation

Chicago, IL
Elevator Modernization


As part of a complete renovation of two landmark residential buildings at 422 and 424 West Melrose in Chicago, Wirtz Realty Corp. needed an expert consulting firm to lead the modernization of the three passenger elevators and one manual-door freight elevator in the two 15-story buildings, which were connected on two floors. Though they shared one massive machine room, each elevator had different equipment, some of which dated back to 1925. One elevator had been out of service for more than 40 years and had been dismantled for parts, sometimes forcing residents to walk to the adjacent building to use its elevators. Another elevator was in urgent need of replacement and could fail at any time. Because of the building’s age and structural issues, the modernization would mean that the crew would have to work in tight, dark spaces, requiring special skill and creativity.


Due to the complexity involved in the project, Wirtz Realty Corp. retained BOCA Group to manage the elevator modernization project and oversee all modernization, ancillary construction, electrical and code work related to the elevator modernization. Because each building had only two elevators, and only three of these four elevators were operational at the start of the project, minimizing downtime was critical. BOCA Group chose to tackle the non-operational elevator first, then move on to the elevator that was most likely to fail. This approach ensured that tenants had at least 75 percent of their elevators working at any time, just as they had for the last 40 years. Through a bid process, BOCA Group secured and coordinated highly creative and skilled technicians and craftsmen to upgrade the elevator cabs, standardize and replace the existing elevator equipment, and partition and fire-proof the machine room.


BOCA Group was able to obtain extremely low pricing on equipment and labor, keeping the project well under budget. The elevator modernization has completely revitalized the building, giving the tenants four reliable elevators and dramatically reducing elevator downtime. Wirtz Realty Corp. now pays less to maintain its four modern elevators than it did to maintain only three aging elevators, and is able to provide a more attractive residential property for current and potential tenants.

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