Chicago’s Cantina Laredo marks Consolidated Restaurant Operation’s first location outside of the southern United States. This dramatic 17,000 square foot, two-story restaurant enlivens the River North neighborhood while providing an upscale dining experience. The use of various stones and douglas fir tongue and groove wood on the walls and ceilings creates a warm yet contemporary atmosphere, augmented by custom art work throughout the spaces. The construction of this 17,000 square foot flagship restaurant presented the project team with significant challenges. Located in the heart of Chicago, the project was situated on a very tight urban site. Concurrent subway reconstruction within a quarter mile from the restaurant added complexity. One lane of State Street and one lane of Illinois Street was blocked for the majority of the construction and pedestrians used temporary walk-ways on both of those streets due to sidewalk closures. Due to these circumstances, job site safety was paramount.
Another important feat during the course of construction was the soil stabilization. The project site had been cleared of prior buildings in the early 1960s and had been used as surface parking in the intervening years. The foundations and basements of previous 19th century buildings littered the site to a depth of eleven feet; below which was soft Chicago clay.
Excavating the entire site and backfilling with engineered fill was cost prohibitive. The general contractor provided a foundation solution: leave the underlying fill in place and improve the fill layers using vibro-compaction. The entire site was treated in this manner and saved the owner over $140,000.00 and reduced the project schedule by nearly a month.
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