At the intersection of Rush and Huron streets, St. James Episcopal Cathedral and the adjacent Episcopal Church Center Office Building and Plaza occupy a city block that is the home to the oldest Episcopal Church in Chicago (rebuilt in its current version after the Great Fire of 1871), a 30,000 square foot, five story office building and a large outdoor plaza area. The office building is occupied by the Bishop as well as Cathedral, Diocese and Episcopal Charities staff. The Plaza was undergoing extensive renovations in order to make it more inviting for a variety of religious and community activities to the residents of a modern urban environment. Each of the three organizations occupying this “Commons” location had their own individual budgets, purchasing processes and priorities for facility related issues. Day-to-day property management issues were the responsibility in-house staff and clergy.
HSA Commercial was retained to serve as an agent for change and as a unifying influence in the management of this distinguished and valuable property.
HSA was able to establish a professional approach to managing this diverse property. A facility operating budget for the combined Commons was developed and a Commons Council was established that included HSA and representatives of the three Episcopal organizations. The Council established a vehicle for improving communication between the various entities and developed a process for all facility budget decisions and development of Commons guidelines. HSA established vendor selection and purchasing process guidelines, all existing vendor contracts were reviewed and, if appropriate, re-bid and all facility related purchase orders were issued by HSA so that insurance and contractual obligations were clearly defined. Longstanding facility maintenance, safety and security issues were addressed and St. James Commons became an efficient and professionally organized facility management entity.
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