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Color Art Governing Body Appoints Four to Board of Directors

in Companies/News/People

On the heels of announcing new leadership, leading commercial interiors solutions provider adds to distinguished Board

Color Art, St. Louis’ largest interior solutions provider, announces additions to its governing Board of Directors. Four new members join a roster of more than ten distinguished individuals responsible for directing the company’s growth strategies, acquisition decisions and financial planning. The Board of Directors for Color Art Palette, the company’s governing body, shares the appointment of Jeff Bauer, Troy Garner, Mick McIntyre and Ed Wills as Board Advisors. Color Art has been family and employee owned for more than 70 years.

“I look forward to serving stockholders and team members as an Advisor,” remarked Jeff Bauer. “It’s a privilege to continue building on the family legacy that started 71-years ago. Color Art is a great place to work and grow.”

Color Art’s vision is to be the clear knowledge leader for connecting people and space, an irreplaceable partner to each of its customers, and a place where highly talented and engaged people can thrive. Its vision is to create and provide the best places for people to do their best work. Color Art does this through understanding and leading practices in connecting architecture, technology, furniture, and services for healthcare, education, corporate and large venue environments.

Recently, Color Art announced the hires of 15-year executive Todd Nixon as Executive Vice President of Furniture, and Jennifer Clark as both Vice President Operations of Furniture and General Manager of Color Art’s non-union Installation and Moves Team. Additionally, long-time employee Christine Hoffmann was promoted from Executive Vice President to President of Color Art Furniture, the company’s largest and longest-standing division.

Color Art is the largest commercial interiors solutions provider in the Midwest and serves clients in 30 states as well as internationally. For more information visit

Net Zero, LLC Breaks Ground on Saint Louis Park Place Residential Community in NorthSide Regeneration Development

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Three Display Models for Energy-Efficient, Single-Family Homes Under Construction

Net Zero, LLC broke ground in January on three display homes for its much-anticipated Saint Louis Park Place residential community within the NorthSide Regeneration development in North St. Louis City. Net Zero purchased lots from NorthSide Regeneration to build 250 energy-efficient, single-family homes adjacent to the site of the future multibillion-dollar National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Western Headquarters.

The display homes, under construction at the intersection of Montgomery and 20th streets, are expected to be completed in April, according to Net Zero owner Dwight Arant and his builder Jon Bish, with construction of sold homes set to begin this spring.  Arant, a former Marine and retired businessman who was born and spent his early childhood in North St. Louis City, said he is looking forward to bringing more residents back to the community that his family once called home.

“We are excited to be working with NorthSide Regeneration to bring this residential community project to North St. Louis City,” said Arant. “Saint Louis Park Place will provide much-needed housing for the existing community and future employees of NGA and St. Louis as a whole. While setting the standard for energy efficiency in new homes, the homes are designed to align with the historical characteristics of  the area.”

The new homes are designed by St. Louis-based architect Klitzing Welsch Associates. Prices for the homes will be set after the display homes are completed, and are expected to range in size from 1,200 to more than 3,000 sq. ft.  One, two- and three-story models will be available with a range of options.  All the homes will have the potential to be “Net Zero”, which means the homes will produce enough renewable energy (from solar PV) to power themselves. This means that utility bills to heat, cool and power the homes will be very low, or eliminated.

A website is under construction and will provide more information about Net Zero, LLC and Saint Louis Park Place. Visit to obtain more information, which will be available as the website development team works to complete the website.

Link to additional project photos:

(Photo credit Justin Terry)

NorthSide Regeneration (NSR) is a mixed-use community development – a self-sustaining neighborhood of people, cultures, economic opportunity, safety and education with the infrastructure and growth to support key, necessary services for the community. The original development encompasses over 1,500 acres and borders downtown St. Louis. Jobs have always been the primary motivator for NSR with a goal of more than 43,000 construction jobs and 22,000 permanent jobs generated by the development’s activity.

Kwame Building Group’s Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being Project Receives Design-Build Institute of America Award

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Kwame Building Group (KWAME) and the design-build team of Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being in St. Louis, MO have received a Design-Build Institute of America – Mid-America Region (DBIA-MAR) 2018 Honor Award. The award recognizes excellence in design-build practices.  KWAME was the construction manager. The general contractor was KAI Design & Build.

Construction of the $8.8 million Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being was completed in December 2017. The 21,000-square-foot facility features flexible meeting rooms, classrooms, administrative offices, outdoor spaces, a chapel and community spaces that hold up to 125 guests. Deaconess Center aligns with the North Central Plan, a neighborhood-driven development initiative.

As a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), KWAME largely contributed to the project’s 35% Minority Business Enterprise participation, including 15% Women Business Enterprise participation.

Deaconess Foundation pursues child well-being through public policy and racial equity. Their new facility houses office space for Deaconess Foundation and long-term partners, Vision for Children at Risk and Unleashing Potential. Meeting spaces are granted to child advocates, civic leaders and community organizers dedicated to advocating for and pursuing positive systemic change for the well-being of children and families in the St. Louis metropolitan region. The facility is expected to host more than 6,000 citizens a year in more than 350 meetings.

Kwame Building Group, Inc. (KWAME) is one of the nation’s top pure construction management firms, dedicating 100 percent of its resources to project management services. For more information, or call (314) 862-5344.

Knoebel Construction Completes Construction of St. Louis’ New Mellow Mushroom Restaurant

in Companies/News

The new Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in Cottleville, MO is complete and open, with Knoebel Construction serving as the general contractor.  Each Mellow Mushroom restaurant is locally owned and features a completely unique design. This eclectic and colorful 5,400-square-foot location features 80’s inspired design elements and decor, colorful neon lights, graffiti art and whimsical sculptures.  The architect was Oculus Inc.

The new location opened last week and is the second Mellow Mushroom in St. Louis. In 2016, Knoebel Construction built Mellow Mushroom in Sunset Hills.

“It’s very art-centric and has different types of influences and art,” said Tammi Hilton, owner of the new Mellow Mushroom in Cottleville. “Our goal is that every time a family comes in to eat they can have a different experience.”

Based in Atlanta, GA, Mellow Mushroom operates more than 200 locations across the United States. The new Mellow Mushroom in Cottleville is expected to create 100 jobs.

Knoebel Construction, Inc. is a national general contractor specializing in retail center, multi-use, restaurant, grocery, healthcare and retail store construction. For more information, visit or call (636) 326-4100.

Architectural Acoustics an Important Component to Controlling Sound, Noise in Student Housing Facilities

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When designing a residence hall, special attention is given to architectural acoustics to help control noise and create a calmer, more peaceful environment for the students. Understanding sound isolation, mechanical noise and vibration control, and room acoustics is an essential component of designing any student housing facility.

“The acoustical qualities within a building can impact our ability to relax, focus and communicate. Design professionals who understand this can specify proper sound and noise management strategies which are essential for quality residential hall design. If the strategies are implemented properly, they will help relieve stress, promote health and wellness, and create a calmer environment for students to thrive,” said student housing design expert Javier Esteban, Principal at KWK Architects.

According to Esteban, there is a clear distinction between sound and noise. Sound is described as a vibration that travels through the air or another medium and can be heard when it reaches a person’s or animal’s ear. Noise is defined as an undesirable sound. In both cases, there is a human component to the definitions. Some people can hear better than others, for example adolescents can hear higher frequencies than older people. Then there’s the subjective aspect of sound – a sound might be considered noise by some people while others can listen to it for hours.

Because of these indeterminate and often subjective components of sound, several organizations have defined certain criteria to control or manage sound. The two most common are Impact Insulation Class (IIC, or otherwise known as Impact Noise Reduction) and Sound Transmission Class (STC).

IIC refers to how much impact noise propagates through a floor and ceiling to the space below.  In previous codes, the IIC limit was 50 for dwelling units. Current codes have expanded it to include sleeping units, which affects new residence hall design and construction.

STC refers to how much airborne sound travels through one side of a wall to another. Similar to IIC, current codes have expanded the STC limit to 50 for dwelling and sleeping units. Other organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),  the International WELL Building Institute, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offer regulations and guidelines for sound management, some compulsory and others voluntary.

One of the many functions of a building is to protect humans from the outside weather inclemency and exterior environment. This includes exterior noise, which can be generated by nearby highways, railways, airports or other sources.  Site terrain, prevailing winds, water features and temperature can also affect sound propagation.

“Some ways to manage exterior sounds include the use of buffer zones, sound barrier walls and sound masking. Landscaping is not considered an effective sound buffer unless it includes densely planted evergreen in a buffer zone that is greater than 100 feet thick,” said Esteban.

A building’s shape and location on a site is also important to sound management and special attention must be given to window and door placement and type.

“Typical windows usually include two glass layers due to thermal isolation requirements,” said Esteban. “To this additional airspace, thickness, films and glass layers can be added to improve acoustic performance, including variations on the thickness of the glazing in order to disrupt the sound wave. Thermal breaks included in the window frame can also help control sound transmission,” said Esteban.

Interior sound also must be managed and controlled, including mechanical equipment noise and vibration, plumbing noise and activity noise. There are multiple ways to provide isolation pads and hangers to separate the mechanical equipment from the structure in order to reduce the IIC values needed to isolate the high and low frequency noise and vibration.

“When designing student housing, we give special consideration to the placement of this equipment, which produces both structural vibrations and airborne sounds. On residential buildings, the proximity of plumbing lines to sleeping rooms is a huge consideration. Proper sound isolation and placement of these pipes is very important,” he said.

In order to isolate mechanical sounds, a multitude of strategies are used on a building to create higher IIC and STC rated assemblies. Thicker wall construction with higher density materials like concrete, or multiple layers of drywall are effective in blocking lower frequency sounds. Higher frequency sounds are blocked by adding sound absorbing insulation, resilient channels or other dampening materials that are in motion. The combination of thickness, density and resiliency of the materials with different resonance properties is one of the most effective approaches to isolate multiple frequency sound.

A similar approach is used to isolate sounds from human activities between rooms.

“The number one complaint from students at university residence halls is the sound transmission into their bedroom. Usually this can be attenuated by proper separation of the ductwork, fully ducted return air instead of a simple boot connecting to the corridor, along with the appropriate wall and door construction,” said Esteban.

Proper compliance with the new code requirements of IIC 50 and STC 50 will improve the environment. Increasing this separation to STC 55 or 60 between lounges, study rooms, community spaces and bedrooms will increase the isolation and improve the acoustic performance between public and private spaces.

“In cases where dining halls are located on the first floor with student rooms on the floors above, it is especially important to separate the louder noises from the private spaces. In addition to thicker floor concrete structure, double-layered drywall suspended with preloaded isolation hangers have been found to be very effective, but special attention must be given to penetrating piping, edge conditions and structure connections,” he said.

The same issue applies to mechanical rooms located within the residence hall adjacent to a public or private space. Both the wall and floor ceiling structures must be properly specified to ensure acoustic isolation. Since conditions in the field can vary, assemblies in the field could allow sound to “leak” through areas that are not properly constructed. It is important to make sure that these barriers are properly installed in the field to insure the tested IIC and STC performance.

Another aspect of sound management is room acoustics to control the sound quality inside the room. Volume, shape and finishes must be considered to achieve the proper acoustics in study rooms, lounges, classrooms and meeting rooms. The room’s shape and materials are important to ensuring performance.

“For study rooms along with smaller classrooms and meeting rooms, designing spaces that are free from external noise ensures a space that allows the users to focus. Specifying the correct amount of sound-absorbing materials will keep the space from being too acoustically live or deadened. For larger classrooms and meeting rooms, the shape and materials used can enhance the ability of the audience to focus and the instructor to teach more effectively. For lounges and dining rooms, reducing the amount of built-up, reflected sound will make it easier to experience the space and enjoy the environment,” said Esteban.

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 150 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. For more information about KWK Architects, visit or contact Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at

Photo Above: Construction progress image at University of Missouri’s Dobbs residence hall of acoustic spring isolators installed on the under slab waiting to receive struts for the installation of a drywall ceiling. Photo credit – KWK Architects


Ameren Upgrades Enable GECO to Outfit Electrical in ‘The Last Hotel’ Downtown

in Companies/Homepage Primary/News


Guarantee Electrical Company’s turnkey electrical contracting work includes equipping an historic downtown St. Louis building that will open in May as a boutique hotel.

GECO Project Manager Rob Truebe says thanks to a new Ameren Missouri downtown revitalization initiative, powering historic structures such as The Last Hotel (formerly the International Shoe Company headquarters at 1510 Washington Avenue) allows for greater back-up power potential.

“This building, which was constructed more than 100 years ago, originally had 208 volts (120/208 volt) as did many of downtown St. Louis’ buildings,” said Truebe. “What Ameren is now doing is bringing 13,500 volts of electrical service to structures like this one and installing substations – switch gear and transformer rooms – within buildings to increase operational efficiency. The new transformers convert the power into 277/480 volt for larger loads. Under this new system, Ameren has the capability with these switches to back-feed the city grid with its new equipment and eliminate outages by transferring users over to a different system. This is a big plus for building owners,” he added.

Ameren Missouri Spokesperson Brad Brown said the utility company’s Downtown East Revitalization Project began Jan. 2 and is part of an overall strategy to prepare downtown St. Louis for a smarter energy grid.

“As part of Ameren Missouri’s Smart Energy Plan, we are upgrading 100,000 feet of underground infrastructure to improve the power quality and energy reliability that businesses and residents count on every day,” said Brown. “We are replacing aging infrastructure, setting the stage for future upgrades and preparing for growth in downtown St. Louis.”

Details of Ameren’s efforts include replacing aging conduit duct work made of clay and fiber with new duct work made from 5-inch PVC. The nearly $8 million, two-year effort also includes diversifying Ameren’s conduit system downtown by adding multiple conduit duct paths in each manhole to ensure a more reliable system. “Future installations, combined with new advanced cable with fiber optic sensing and controls, will allow us to reroute energy to another path if a problem is detected,” Brown said. “In most cases, customers would not experience an outage and if they were impacted, restoration times would be significantly reduced.”

St. Louis, MO-Based Midas Hospitality Opens Third Hotel in Charlotte, NC

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Midas Hospitality – a leading hotel development, management and investment firm – recently opened its third Marriott property in Charlotte, NC.  Located at 5110 Trojan Dr., the 119-room Residence Inn by Marriott is a four-story, 82,000square-foot hotel.

The Residence Inn Charlotte Steele Creek has studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites.  The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, patio with barbecue grill, fitness center, meeting room, and business library.  Located in the Steele Creek Business Park next to the Charlotte Premium Outlets, the hotel is conveniently located seven miles from Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The hotel will be managed by Midas Hospitality with Henry Schmidlin as General Manager and Sue Wing as Director of Sales.  Schmidlin previously served as the Assistant General Manager at another Midas Hospitality-operated hotel, the Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn & Suites located at 2220 W. Tyvola Rd.

The Residence Inn was built by Midas’ sister company MC Hotel Construction, a general contractor specializing in new hotel construction and renovations.  Steele Creek Hotel Holdings, LLC is the owner of the property.

“Charlotte is a fast-growing metropolitan area with a strong business climate and sense of community,” said David Robert, Midas Hospitality’s CEO and Co-Founder.  “It is the perfect environment for vacationing guests and corporate visitors, and we look forward to continuing to serve the region at our newest property.”  Robert added that his company will open two more properties in the Charlotte area within the next year.

Founded in 2006, Midas Hospitality specializes in the development, management and investment of award-winning hotel properties across the U.S.  The firm focuses on select-service and extended-stay experiences for global brands including Hilton, Marriott, and IHG.  Midas’ headquarters are located at 1804 Borman Circle Dr. in Maryland Heights, Mo.  For more information, call (314) 692-0100 or visit


The UP Companies Expands with Addition of Hustle UP, LLC

in Companies/News

The UP Companies (UPCO) has expanded its family of companies dedicated to serving owners, general contractors and subcontractors in St. Louis with the addition of Hustle UP.

Hustle UP is an MBE-certified business offering general labor, selective demolition, general clean up, site maintenance and final cleaning services. Hustle UP joins The UP Companies’ design and build collaborative, which also includes Power UP Electrical Contractors, Square UP Builders and Keep UP Services.

Paul Renaud, General Manager of Hustle UP, will oversee the expansion of Hustle UP and focus on recruiting local residents for employment. Hustle UP offers a highly diverse and extremely productive union workforce. All field staff are third party fit-tested and complete a thorough safety orientation before being deployed to any project.

“A professionally managed, financially sound, and reliable business of this nature is long overdue in our region,” said Renaud. “It also creates a clear path forward to execute on our vision to provide meaningful career opportunities for the underutilized workforce in St. Louis and surrounding neighborhoods and to participate in the economic development of our region.”

The addition of Hustle UP further strengthens The UP-SIDE Advantage™, which amounts to the efficiencies and pricing benefits customers receive when combining the services of Power UP, Square UP and Keep UP to create the “best value per square foot” in the Midwest.

“With the full support of our family of companies, we have the resources, capacity and reputation to support contractors’ laborer needs immediately and efficiently,” Renaud added.

Hustle UP, located at 2060 Craigshire Road in St. Louis County, is part of local laborers unions 42 and 110 and has a growing client list that includes Marschel Wrecking, Hayden Contracting, PARIC Corporation, HBD Construction and KAI Build.

“Our Hustle UP commitment to improving contractor’s needs are groundbreaking in this region and further allows us to better serve our community with local residents on local construction projects,” said UPCO President Michael B. Kennedy, Jr. “We want to inspire and set a trend for our neighbors by offering employment and opportunity in their hometown.”

To learn more about Hustle UP, check out their new website at

The UP Companies (UPCO) is one of the region’s largest full-service MBE-certified contracting companies. UPCO’s firms are Square UP Builders, a primary source of high-quality commercial and residential rough and finish carpentry and drywall services employing over 200 carpenters and laborers. For more information, go to or call 314.865.3888.

KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez to Moderate Panel Discussion at Design Connections Industry Event

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Award winning KAI Interior Designer Asha Perez has been selected to moderate a panel discussion Feb. 13 at the Design Connections event in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The 6th annual industry event brings leading suppliers together with the nation’s top architectural and design professionals for 2.5 days of networking and information sharing.

Perez will introduce and moderate general session presentation: “The Experienced Designer & Emerging Professional” scheduled for 8-9 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13. Participants in the panel discussion will include:

  • Michelle Clark, Senior Associate at Rees Associates
  • McKenzie Gamez, Interior Designer at Rees Associates
  • Patrick Burke, Principal at Michael Graves Architecture & Design
  • Austin Crowley, Architectural Designer at Michael Graves Architecture & Design

The panel discussion will focus on bringing together generations as a necessity for successful project design. Two design teams, including an experienced designer and an emerging professional, will discuss the importance and usage of mentor/mentee relationships within the field of design and architecture and within the context of each respective firm. Communicating effectively with an emerging professional while working to meet deadlines can be challenging even for the experienced mentor; the panel will share some of their most effective communication techniques.

Additional discussion topics will include the importance of technology for emerging professionals, balancing the need to learn and participate in the design process with more experienced design leadership, and ways to accomplish “knowledge share” across a design firm.

Additional panel discussion learning objectives:

  • Understand the need and benefit for mentor/mentee relationships.
  • Explore ways of educating both experienced and emerging professionals to benefit positive project outcomes.
  • Explore balancing technology knowledge with creative design process.
  • Share the most important reasons for successful knowledge sharing and breaking down silos.

Perez actively mentors to college students in her community and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the ACE Mentor Program of St. Louis, an organization that helps young people in St. Louis City high schools learn about careers in architecture, engineering and construction.

“I am excited to be part of this particular panel discussion because I truly value and support mentorship,” said Perez. “Throughout my career as an interior designer, I have learned the most valuable information outside the classroom, where I have gained real-world knowledge and experience through the various mentors who I have been fortunate enough to work with. I also see the value in being able to pass my experiences on to others through mentoring. This panel discussion is invaluable for anyone in the design industry, from the novice to the seasoned professional, who wants to learn the ins and outs of mentoring.”

For more information about Design Connections, visit

KAI Enterprises is a national design and build firm providing delivery-oriented building solutions with a diverse portfolio of experience, in-house multi-discipline professionals, and expertise in both design and construction delivery. KAI Enterprises is comprised of four distinct business units—KAI Design, KAI Engineering, KAI Build and KAI 360 Construction Services. To learn more about KAI, visit

Knoebel Construction Completes Construction at Eight Burger King Locations in Three States

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Knoebel Construction has completed work at eight Burger King locations in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. The fast-track projects included new construction of four 3,200 to 4,500-square-foot locations in Joplin, MO; Pittsburg, KS; Marshfield, MO and Highland, IL. Knoebel also renovated four locations in Manhattan, KS; Litchfield, IL; St. Ann, MO and Granite City, MO. Construction is underway at three additional locations in Pontoon Beach, IL; Ellisville, MO and St. Louis, MO.

The construction projects feature the newest store layout and design for Burger King, the fifth largest fast food chain in the United States. Knoebel equipped all of the locations with two drive-through lanes, a layout that is becoming more popular among fast food restaurants.

Over the past five years, Knoebel has worked on more than 20 franchise Burger King locations in seven states: Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Georgia, Nebraska and Illinois.

Knoebel Construction, Inc. is a national general contractor specializing in retail center, multi-use, restaurant, grocery, healthcare and retail store construction. For more information, visit or call (636) 326-4100.

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