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Anvil Analytics + Insights finds ‘ideal’ centralized office in tight Clayton market

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Anvil Analytics + Insights, a branding, digital marketing, and analytics agency, signed a multi-year year lease for 10,000 square feet at 7730 Carondelet in Clayton. The new space more than doubles the size of the agency’s previous location in Chesterfield, while also providing the creative company a much more central location closer to clients. The agency is transitioning to its new space this month.

Blaise Tomazic, vice president with JLL’s office brokerage team, represented Anvil Analytics + Insights and was responsible for identifying the opportunity within Clayton’s extremely tight office market. “We were fortunate to find and negotiate a contract on a vacancy in a smaller building that allowed them to build out a space that specifically suits their needs. Anvil Analytics + Insights has been rapidly expanding for several years and they fully expect the momentum to continue. This new space gives them the opportunity to do that while also positioning them more centrally within the market.”

According to JLL research, the Class B market in Clayton is less than 10 percent vacant and has limited size options for tenants over 10,000 square feet. It has been and remains the premier office submarket in St. Louis.

Anvil Analytics & Insights clients include Maryville University and Children’s Hospital, helps clients grow their marketing programs using data driven analytics to help improve their digital performance.

Jenny Bristow, CEO of Creative Anvil said, “Hands down we’re getting a better space and a better location, and that’s thanks to Blaise and JLL. Their knowledge, research, and negotiating led us to finding an ideal space that we otherwise might not have found. The move is undoubtedly going to help as we continue to grow and expand.” 

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

St. Louis Watches Union Station as Enormous Observation Wheel Rises from the Earth

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St. Louis motorists traveling along Interstate 40 who glance quickly to the north will see a 200-foot-tall observation wheel taking shape at Union Station, the first of several facets within a brand-new $150 million family entertainment complex that is evidence of the historic train station’s rejuvenation.

Steve O’Loughlin, president and chief operating officer of St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management, said the coming two to three weeks will bring “fast and furious” work on the anticipated signature attraction. The St. Louis Wheel’s 42 eight-passenger compartments are climate controlled for year-round enjoyment. Each ride averages 15 minutes. From the top, visibility will span up to 20 miles.

“The legs of the observation wheel are going up, and very soon we’ll see the spokes being added,” said O’Loughlin, noting that the wheel is stationed at the west side of Union Station, behind Landry’s Seafood House. “When the wheel is operational in September, it will be lighted at night and have the capability of changing colors to celebrate holidays, events, gender reveals and more.”

Manufactured by D.C.-based ICON Attractions, St. Louis’ observation wheel will closely resemble the wheel managed and operated in National Harbor, MD by the same firm. LHM will own the Union Station attraction and ICON will operate it here as well, according to O’Loughlin.

The St. Louis Aquarium – a 2-story, one-million-gallon attraction with a 250,000-gallon saltwater shark tank – is on schedule to be completed in December. Also part of the entertainment mecca will be a classic carousel, on-site passenger train, indoor ropes course, miniature golf, restaurants and an outdoor retro soda fountain. Several of the outdoor components are anticipated to open early this fall, according to LHM.

PARIC performed all the exterior site work and McCarthy is spearheading construction of the aquarium.

LHM’s expansive redevelopment of St. Louis Union Station coincides with the 125th anniversary of the station, a National Historic Landmark that was once regarded as the world’s largest and busiest train station.

Additional specs and details here


Finalists Announced for AGCMO 22nd Annual Construction Keystone Awards

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Construction Projects Represent Innovative and Quality Construction by Missouri’s Contractors

Innovation, resourcefulness and distinction are just a few ways to describe the contractors executing the construction projects selected as finalists for the 2019 Construction Keystone Awards.  Finalists include a range of projects including health care, educational facilities, living facilities, industrial facilities, energy plants as well as commuter rail stations and systems. The Construction Keystone Awards are presented by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri.  The submissions span 10 categories and characterize the professionalism, craftsmanship, innovation and quality of Missouri’s general and specialty contractors.  A panel of expert judges selected these elite projects as finalists last month, and later this summer will continue their review of additional data provided by the finalists in order to determine the winning project in each category.

The Construction Keystone Awards honor the highest achievements of Missouri’s construction firms and salute their contributions to the built environment.  The facilities and infrastructure built by member contractors create new jobs, support economic growth and enhance the quality of life.  Missouri’s construction workforce is comprised of nearly 120,000 persons, according to most recent data released by the AGC of America.

Winners of the 2019 Keystone Awards will be announced and celebrated at the AGC’s Construction Awards Gala scheduled for Monday, Nov. 4 at the River City Casino & Hotel in St. Louis.

“Each year, as innovation and technology continue to transform the construction industry, the judging of submissions and selection of finalists becomes more demanding.  The challenges presented to our contractors and their ability to successfully meet them is the essence of the Keystone Awards,” says Len Toenjes, AGCMO President.  “The ingenuity and craftsmanship represented by this year’s finalists continue to exemplify the spirit of the Keystone Awards.”

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri is the united voice of the construction industry representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties in Missouri.  AGC of Missouri operates offices in Jefferson City and St. Louis.  Visit:

2019 Construction Keystone Award Finalists

Mid-America Class – Projects located in Missouri or contiguous states

General Contractor / Construction Manager / Prime Contractor

Building Construction

Project Under $15 million

Branco Enterprises, Inc.

  • Project: Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center
  • Owner:  City of Sibley
  • Project Location:  Sibley, IA

KAI Design & Build

  • Project: Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being
  • Owner:  The Deaconess Foundation
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

The Lawrence Group Projects, L.L.C.

  • Project: Grand Tavern
  • Owner:  TLG 634 N. Grand, LLC
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

General Contractor / Construction Manager / Prime Contractor

Building Construction

Project $15 – $45 million

BSI Constructors, Inc.

  • Project: Soldiers Memorial Bldg. & Court of Honor
  • Owner:  Missouri Historical Society
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

The Lawrence Group Projects, L.L.C.

  • Project: Allegro Senior Living
  • Owner:  Allegro Inspired Living
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Poettker Construction Company

  • Project: Engineering Warehouse Facility – VAMC Redevelopment
  • Owner:  Veterans Affairs Office of Construction & Facility Management-Central Region
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

General Contractor / Construction Manager / Prime Contractor

Building Construction

Project $45 million or more 

Alberici/Holland Joint Venture

  • Project: HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
  • Owner:  HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
  • Project Location:  O’Fallon, IL

BSI Constructors, Inc.

  • Project: Restoration St. Louis
  • Owner:  Amy and Amrit Gil
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

McCarthy Building Companies

  • Project: Robert A. Young Federal Building
  • Owner:  U.S. General Services Administration
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO 

General Contractor / Construction Manager / Prime Contractor

Industrial Construction

Alberici/Stanley Joint Venture

  • Project: Alliant Energy
  • Owner:  Alliant Energy
  • Project Location:  Ottumwa, IA

Keeley Construction Company

  • Project: Greenhouses – Monsanto/Bayer
  • Owner:  Bayer
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO 

General Contractor / Construction Manager / Prime Contractor

Transportation & Infrastructure

Keeley Construction Company

  • Project: Cortex MetroLink Station
  • Owner:  MetroLink-St. Louis
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Tarlton Corporation

  • Project: Pedestrian Bridge Replacement
  • Owner:  Washington University in St. Louis
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO 

Specialty / Subcontractor

Building Construction

Project Under $1 million

Elastizell of St. Louis, Inc.

  • Project: Brookings Hall Below Grade Parking Garage
  • Owner: Washington University in St. Louis
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Grant Masonry Contracting

  • Project: John Burroughs School – Science, Technology & Research (STAR) Building
  • Owner:  John Burroughs School
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Pipe & Duct Systems, LLC

  • Project: Chiller Replacement
  • Owner:  LMC Industries, Inc.
  • Project Location:  Arnold, MO

Specialty / Subcontractor

Building Construction

Project $1 – $4 million

Drilling Service Company

  • Project: 100 Kingshighway
  • Owner:  Silliman Group, LLC
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Guarantee Electrical Company

  • Project: The Last Hotel
  • Owner:  Fe Equus Development
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

PayneCrest Electric, Inc.

  • Project: Greenhouses – Monsanto/Bayer
  • Owner:  Bayer
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO 

Specialty / Subcontractor

Building Construction

Project $4 million or more

Guarantee Electrical Company

  • Project: Ameren Process Waste Water Treatment
  • Owner:  Ameren Missouri
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

Murphy Company

  • Project: Jubel Hall & Utilities Package
  • Owner:  Washington University in St. Louis
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO

The UP Companies, LLC

  • Project: Hotel St. Louis
  • Owner:  705 LLC & Restoration St. Louis
  • Project Location:  St. Louis, MO 

Specialty / Subcontractor

Industrial Construction

Haberberger, Inc.

  • Project: Wastewater Treatment
  • Owner:  Ameren Missouri
  • Project Location:  Labadie, MO

Murphy Company

  • Project: Sioux Conveyor Tunnel Sump & NPDES Upgrades
  • Owner:  Ameren Missouri
  • Project Location:  West Alton, MO

PayneCrest Electric, Inc.

  • Project: Labadie Fly Ash
  • Owner:  Ameren Missouri
  • Project Location:  Labadie, MO 

National Class

(Projects located in lower 48 states, excluding Mid-America Class)

Archer Western Herzog Joint Venture

  • Project: TEXRail Commuter Rail
  • Owner:  Trinity Metro
  • Project Location:  Fort Worth, TX

Murphy Company

  • Project: Flight Training Center
  • Owner:  United Airlines
  • Project Location:  Denver, CO


AGC of Missouri Awards $51,000 in Scholarships

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The Associated General Contractors of Missouri today announced that 24 students across the state have received a record-breaking $51,000 in scholarships to pursue advanced studies in construction, engineering, architecture, science, technology and the construction trades.

“These students represent the future of our industry and our state,” said Len Toenjes, CAE, president of the AGC of Missouri. “In addition to building a pipeline of future work, our contractors are working hard to build a pipeline of talent to design and build the office buildings, labs, manufacturing and utility plants, roads, bridges and other infrastructure to keep Missouri competitive. Educating our future workforce is a top priority.”

Toenjes also noted that AGCMO has more than doubled the number of AGC of Missouri-sponsored student chapters in the state, adding chapters at State Fair Community College in Sedalia; Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau; and the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018.  They join existing chapters at Missouri S&T in Rolla; State Technical College of Missouri in Linn; and Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.  AGCMO also provides programming support and advice on industry needs to an AGC of America student chapter located at Missouri State University in Springfield.

Students receiving $3,000 scholarships, supported by the Young Executives Club (YEC) and Construction Leadership Council (CLC) include:

  • Noah Feldott, Belleville, IL (62221) – Southeast Missouri State University, STEM (CLC)
  • Andrew Griesemer, Joplin (64804) – Missouri State University, civil engineering (YEC)
  • Sawyer Kresse, Garden City (64747) – University of Central Missouri, construction management (YEC)
  • Ryan-Patrick Shewey, Gower (64454) – Kansas State University, civil engineering (CLC)

Students awarded $2,000 scholarships from the AGC of Missouri Education Foundation are:

  • Raymond Boos, Cape Girardeau (63703) –Missouri University of Science & Technology, civil engineering
  • Richard Boyer, Swansea, IL (62226) – Missouri State University, construction management.
  • Phillip Brucks, Macon (63552) – University of Missouri-Columbia, civil or mechanical engineering
  • Tyler Dowden, Springfield (65807) – Missouri State University, construction management
  • Scott Elliott, Chesterfield (63005) – Saint Louis University, engineering
  • Dillon Grieme, Smithville (64089) – Missouri Western State University,
  •             construction engineering tech
  • Lauren Houston, Kirksville (63501) – Missouri Western State University,
  •             construction engineering tech
  • Ernest Jackson, St. Joseph (64507) – Missouri Western State University,
  •             construction engineering tech
  • Tyler Lennemann, Arnold (63010) – University of Missouri-Columbia, civil engineering
  • Mikala Liley, Jackson (63755) – University of Kansas, architecture
  • Keithan Litton, St. Joseph (64506) –Missouri Western State University, construction engineering tech
  • Owen Luebbering, Jefferson City (65101) – University of Missouri-Columbia, mechanical engineering
  • Cliff Rickard, Willow Springs (65793) – Missouri University of Science & Technology, civil engineering
  • Haley Samson, Jefferson City (65109) – University of Missouri-Columbia, civil engineering
  • Jonathan Schwartz, Freeburg (65035) – Missouri University of Science & Technology, engineering
  • Chris Totsikas, Jefferson City (65101) – Missouri Welding Institute, pipe welding
  • Jordan Weiler, Ste. Genevieve (63670) – Ranken Technical College, industrial technology
  • Blake Wilbers, Jefferson City (65101) – University of Missouri-Columbia, civil engineering
  • Samuel Williams, Freeburg (65035) – University of Missouri-Columbia, applied science

Awarded a $1,000 scholarship, also from the AGC of Missouri Education Foundation, is:

  • Trevor Leitschuh, Highland, IL (62249) –Ranken Technical College, electrical technology

PHOTOS of the scholarship winners can be accessed at the following link:

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri is the leading voice of the construction industry in Missouri, representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties throughout Missouri.

Roeslein Celebrates National Welding Month

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With 17% of its workforce made up of professional welders, Roeslein & Associates acknowledges the high level of skill, education, and training that modern-day welders need to keep up with industry advancements in materials, processes, and equipment.

Roeslein has three levels of welders with a Level III welder carrying the highest welding and fabrication skillsets and experience. Basic welding skills are required at entry level but advancement comes through in-house training and experience to produce basic to advanced components. Welding positions require prepping and cutting knowledge, as well as, the GMAW, GTAW, FCAW, SMAW application techniques to produce Roeslein’s products. When it comes to pipe welding, Roeslein does everything from manual pipe welding to automatic pipe welding. They provide multiple weld procedures ranging from many processes and material types with carbon steel and stainless steel being the majority.

Between its structural and piping departments, Roeslein has 94 fabrication welders that work in its three fabrication facilities in Red Bud, IL (60); Hollister, CA (14); and Shanghai, China (20). Roeslein has over 27 welding processes and procedures and frequently tests its welders on these practices, including x-ray and ultrasonic tests, to make sure each welder can complete the task with less than a one percent failure.

Dan Hemmer, Roeslein’s Senior Quality Manager, said “Our welders take a lot of pride in the work they do, and the quality of the finished welds are a testament to their dedication to the craft. Our team is the best in the business.”

Roeslein is a firm believer in continued education and training for all employees. Catered to its welders, Roeslein offers a tuition reimbursement program that is inclusive of welding schools, has a Welder-in-Training position that offers entry-level training, and currently, has one employee attending welding school on a Roeslein scholarship to Ranken in Perryville, MO.

Roeslein & Associates was founded in 1990, specializing in engineering, modular fabrication and construction services. The company has product offerings in both the container manufacturing industry and the process and energy sectors with annual revenues over $250 million. Its 680+ employees are spread throughout offices in St. Louis, MO (HQ); Red Bud, IL; Denver, CO; Hollister, California; Northampton, UK; Dębno, Poland; and Shanghai, China. To find out more, please visit

Eastern District Orders Insurance Company Back to Trial Court on its Refusal to Cover Homeowners’ Construction Policy Claim

in Law/Uncategorized
James R. Keller


Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals recently granted judgment for homeowners and against their insurance carrier on claims for construction damages to piers, a pole and the foundation of their home. The appellate court sent part of the dispute back to the trial court to consider further whether the insurance company’s refusal to cover a policy claim for these damages was vexatious.

The case is Cockerham v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, 561 S.W.3d 862 (Eastern District, MO 2018).

The appellate court noted this was the first case in Missouri to directly address the issue of insurance coverage under a policy of this sort. The Missouri Supreme Court denied on Dec. 18 an application to consider the Eastern District’s opinion.

The Eastern District’s decision is now new law affecting all similarly worded insurance policies, at least in Missouri courts in the Eastern District.

Homeowners Robert and Stacia Cockerham sued their insurance provider, American Family Mutual Insurance Company, for damages relating to the construction of an addition to their residence. The addition was a celestial observatory.

The alleged damages involved a newly installed telescope support system attached to the foundation of their home and the homeowners’ loss of use of the observatory.

The homeowners purchased their home on Lakeshore Drive in Creve Coeur, MO in 2001. In 2005 they hired Nicholas Schalk and Schalk Construction, LLC to construct the observatory addition to their home.

The project included a telescope and its support system. Schalk had never before built such a system.

Schalk hired one subcontractor to install the piers and a separate subcontractor to pour concrete over the piers. The homeowners claimed the concrete subcontractor poured the concrete incorrectly, damaging the piers, the support system and the foundation.

The homeowners made a claim on their insurance policy to cover the losses. American Family denied coverage. It contended the claims were excluded from coverage or were not covered at all under the homeowner policy.

After cross motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted American Family’s motion in part by dismissing the homeowners’ claim for vexatious refusal to pay for the piers, pole and foundation damage. The homeowners appealed.

The appeal involved interpretation of the insurance policy and its various sections.  Typically, this is a question of law for judges, not juries, to decide.

The policy excluded defective construction in part C but it did cover “resulting loss” to property described in Part C that was “not excluded.”

The Eastern District found its job to be difficult. The policy required the appellate court to “decipher a rather prolix word puzzle.” Insurance policies tend to be complicated, layered with qualifiers, exceptions and exclusions.

American Family argued that it did not cover the loss because the homeowners’ losses were already excluded due to faulty construction. The “not excluded” clause did not apply, the carrier contended, since the coverage already was excluded.

Focusing on the “resulting loss” clause, the Eastern District rejected this argument. The policy did not define “resulting loss.” As Missouri courts typically do when the contract does not define a word whose meaning the parties dispute, the court turned to Webster’s Dictionary for guidance.

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1993), unabridged, defines the verb form of the word “result” as “to proceed, spring or arise as a consequence, effect or conclusion: to come out or have an issue.”

The court noted that the policy did not specifically state what a “resulting loss” may result from except to the extent such losses will not be covered that are “excluded or excepted” from the policy.

The Eastern District concluded that an ordinary purchaser of insurance would conclude that where one loss results from another loss caused by faulty construction, “such resulting loss is covered.”

Thus, the policy covered the damages to the piers, pole and foundation due to the incorrectly poured concrete. This includes the cost to remove and replace the bad concrete.

The Eastern District also found there were factual questions as to whether American Family’s refusal to pay on this claim was vexatious. This included a dispute as to whether the insurance company’s position denying coverage was willful and unreasonable.

The court’s finding means the dispute has returned to the trial court for further consideration regarding the piers, pole and foundation claims for vexatious refusal to pay.

The homeowners also had a claim for loss of use of their observatory. The policy, however, covered such a loss only when the property as a whole was uninhabitable, causing additional homeowner expenses.

The appellate court agreed with the trial court’s denial of this claim.

It was undisputed that the house was not uninhabitable – especially since the homeowners continued to live there.  They had no claim for additional living expenses because there were none.

The appellate court concluded that American Family clearly was not subject to a vexatious refusal to pay claim for loss of use. Since there was no coverage, the carrier’s position was proper.

The homeowners had additional assertions that the Eastern District found persuasive enough to raise more genuine fact questions meriting further trial court consideration.  They included that American Family’s representatives told the homeowners they did not need a builder’s risk policy to cover losses like the ones that occurred in this case, given the policy they had. The representatives included an adjuster who allegedly told them that “their losses would be covered.”

The appellate court also noted that the carrier did not cite the “resulting loss” clause in its defense when it filed its answer to the initial lawsuit. It did not rely on this clause in its briefs on the motions for summary judgment.

The insurance company relied solely on the faulty construction exclusion.

James R. Keller is counsel with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. where he concentrates his practice on construction law, complex business disputes, real estate and alternative dispute resolution. He also is an arbitrator and a mediator. Keller can be reached at (314) 446-4285 or

PARIC Celebrates 40 Years Of Growth And Of Building St. Louis

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This week marks the 40th anniversary of local contractor PARIC Corporation. The company has grown from 2 employees to today’s 300-plus team. After opening an additional office last year in Kansas City the company continues to expand both in size and revenue.  Last year PARIC reported $522 million in revenue making PARIC one of the largest privately held companies in the Midwest.

PARIC Corporation was founded in 1979 by Paul J. McKee, Jr., and his wife Midge, and by Richard F. Jordan and his wife LaVona. The name PARIC is an acronym for the combination of the first names of the founders: Paul and Rick’s Company.

After much discussion and initial brainstorming, the partners agreed on a clear vision for athen-unique type of construction company — specializing in design-build projects and tapping the power of then-new technology to deliver construction projects in a timely, efficient way that hadn’t been available before to building owners.

Paul and Rick began their business in a small Westport area office with the credo of “People Make the Difference.” During the early days, the founders’ families took turns cleaning the company office and warehouse with help from their children, one of whom, Joe McKee, is PARIC’s owner and CEO today.

PARIC now specializes in senior living, healthcare, historic renovation, hospitality and multi-family residential, public and academic projects, as well as interior specialty projects. The company manages construction projects for long-term and repeat clients ranging from universities and banks to hotels, restaurants, warehouses and trade centers.

Check-out more of the story here, in less than 3 minutes

Urban Land Institute St. Louis Empowers High School Students to Engage in Land Use Decisions

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ULI’s Urban Plan Addresses Ferguson Commission Recommendations 

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) St. Louis is wrapping up the second year of a high school education program designed to empower students to more fully understand and participate in land use decisions.  UrbanPlan is part of a larger ULI community initiative to address equity issues in real estate development detailed in the landmark Ferguson Commission report.  To date, ULI volunteers have taught more than 100 students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District how land use decisions impact their communities, empowering them to have a voice in how development takes place.   UrbanPlan gives students a project-based experience in developing realistic land use solutions to vexing urban growth challenges.

“Urban Plan creatively connects students with the built environment and the decisions that affect land use in their communities and neighborhoods,” said Bradley Johnson, a teacher and business and marketing department chair for McCluer South-Berkeley High School.  “This learning process enables students to make more informed decisions and to exercise the clout they have to shape any development in their communities.”  Johnson is also a career and technical education department advisor for the local chapter of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA).

ULI has engaged more than 40 of its members to volunteer in the UrbanPlan initiative. Operating in each of the school district’s three high schools, teachers are trained by ULI in the UrbanPlan curriculum. The teachers provide the daily instruction during which students learn the roles, issues, trade-offs, and economics involved in urban development. ULI volunteers, professionals working in all aspects of the real estate development industry, work with the students on a periodic basis, facilitating discussions among student team members and helping the students understand the impact of their decisions. The curriculum culminates in a presentation of a development proposal by each student team to a ‘City Council’ comprised of ULI volunteers.

“ULI’s commitment to UrbanPlan epitomizes social responsibility,” noted Johnson

“The vast experience of ULI’s membership in all aspects of responsible land use and real estate development helps students think civically about real estate decisions that affect their lives.”

The UrbanPlan curriculum, a carefully crafted hybrid of project and problem-based learning, was developed several years ago through the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and ULI to help high school juniors and seniors discover how the forces of our market economy clash and collaborate with the nonmarket forces in our representative democracy to create the built environment in which they live.

“Our decision to launch UrbanPlan emerged from ULI’s desire to address some of the real estate-related and youth education issues raised by the Ferguson Commission,” said Chip Crawford, senior principal at BatesForum and ULI St. Louis Chair.   “There is a real need to educate future generations about the responsible use of land and the need for an active and educated civic voice.  The students we reach through UrbanPlan are future voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals – all with a stake in seeing St. Louis prosper.”

Crawford said UrbanPlan is part of an extensive ULI Equitable Communities initiative which leverages ULI’s broad real estate expertise to advance the Ferguson Commission’s call for prioritizing transit-oriented development, building healthy affordable housing and stabilizing middle-market neighborhoods.

Leading the ULI UrbanPlan initiative are Colleen McNitt-Ruiz of Lathrop GageTraci Pupillo of Blitz Bardgett & Deutsch, and Aaron Williams of Penn Services.

With more than 240 members, ULI St. Louis unites thought leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.  Its members include real estate, design, construction, institutional, legal and accounting professionals along with civic leadership.   For more information, visit

Global Pet Care Company to Build New Headquarters in O’Fallon, MO

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A fast-growing pet care manufacturing firm with roots in western St. Charles County plans to break ground this spring on a 200,000-square-foot, $25.7 million global headquarters in O’Fallon.

Wentzville-based Cosmos Corporation employs more than 100 people and anticipates creating at least 60 more full-time jobs over the next several years, according to Amanda Roessler, office administrator for TropiClean Pet Products, one of Cosmos’ well-known pet care brands.

Founded by the Kassebaum family as a beauty products distributor in 1980, Cosmos entered the pet grooming industry five years later. Its roots have been in Missouri for 30 years. The company didn’t have the space to grow at its existing site in Wentzville, so it searched for another viable site within the same labor market. Cosmos found the ideal spot in O’Fallon, according to City of O’Fallon Economic Development Director Patrick McKeehan. The location is 521 Pearl Drive on the northeast side of O’Fallon near the MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. plant off Missouri Highway 79.

“This is a project we’ve been working on for almost one year,” said McKeehan, adding that the Missouri Dept. of Economic Development and the City of O’Fallon are supporting the company’s growth via the state’s Missouri Works Program and local Chapter 100 bonding authority.

“Cosmos’ opportunities in overseas markets are growing quickly,” McKeehan said. “This industry leader needed to grow its workforce and production capacity to keep pace with demand. Cosmos’ brands and its more than 150 products are available at nearly all major retailers. They are also supplying products to more than 65 countries.”

The family-owned business operates a separate foundation, Gifts of Love, with the mission of giving back and improving lives in the process. Gifts of Love’s headquarters will also operate in the future building that Cosmos will call its corporate home. Cosmos CEO Landon Hobson said a significant portion of TropiClean’s revenue goes directly to Gifts of Love to support the poor, widowed, orphaned and needy.

“We are very excited to continue our growth here in Missouri at our new O’Fallon headquarters,” said Hobson. “We appreciate the excellent business climate and workforce that the state and St. Louis area has to offer and look forward to bringing even more jobs to the region.”

Cosmos expects to move into its future O’Fallon headquarters in early 2020.

Design, Building Codes and Emergency Strategies All Play

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IUPUI North Hall Interior

Important Role in Residence Hall Emergency Evacuations

One of the elements of safe residence hall design is proper evacuation of the building. When someone enters a building, eventually they will have to exit, sometimes quickly in the case of an emergency. Building codes, emergency strategies and thoughtful design all play important roles in protecting the health, welfare and safety of residence hall occupants when an emergency evacuation is necessary.

According to student housing design expert Javier Esteban, principal at KWK Architects, studies show that in emergency cases, most people tend to try to exit a building in the same way that they entered, but that may not always be the easiest or fastest route to safety.

“As the built environment community learns more and more about how building materials, assemblies and humans behave in cases of emergency, new studies and guidelines are constantly coming into light, along with periodic updates to the codes,” said Esteban. “The safe design of a building is an integrated process that involves many specialists, architects and engineers from multiple disciplines, including fire protection, security design systems, evacuation alarm systems, and structural. All work together toward a common goal of protecting life first and property second.”

The main purpose of building codes is to protect health, safety and welfare as they relate to buildings and their construction, taking into consideration emergency evacuations in cases of fire and smoke. Emergency strategies and codes consider not only human behavior, but also the shape and function of the building, the number of occupants and how different events such as fire, smoke, storms, tornadoes and earthquakes affect different parts of the building.

The study of recent disasters has also helped to shape current building codes, such as the Loma Prieta 1989 earthquake, which helped designers gain a better understanding of how seismic waves behave on different types of soils, and the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London where combustible insulation of the exterior cladding contributed to the propagation of a fire that killed 72 people.

Proper evacuation of a building is an important element of safe design. In addition to the required minimum number of exits, minimum corridor and door widths, proper location and safe passageways to these exits, a series of systems are in place to guide the building occupants to a safer place, which is generally, but not always, the exterior of the building. These systems include fire and smoke alarms, fire suppression systems (sprinklers), proper illumination, special illuminated signals visible with smoke in the room/corridor that are connected to backup power or battery, audible alarms and evacuation enunciation devices that guide people to specific places, among many other systems that are common place now in many new residence halls.

“In the last few years, we have gained a better understanding of how smoke behaves in elevator shafts and elevator doors. Smoke evacuation has affected how elevator lobbies are designed. New products have come to market that create smoke curtains in front of elevator doors, providing a smoke separation between the floor and the elevator shaft, and also providing a way for firefighters accessing the floor from the elevator to visually inspect it before proceeding. These devices use a combination of magnets, reinforced plastic motorized curtains, and alarm/smoke detectors in the elevator lobby. They give designers some flexibility to explore multiple options to provide a safe residence hall while also promoting community, in this case eliminating additional elevator lobby enclosures,” said Esteban.

New products and technologies have also been developed to create a safe, community-based corridor within residence halls. Older building codes did not require door closers on bedroom doors facing the corridor in residence halls, said Esteban. When students wanted to interact with each other, but stay in their bedrooms, they just had to open the door. This created a very active corridor that promoted community on the floor but was not always safe in emergencies.

Current codes now require that these communicating corridors also serve as emergency egress corridors; therefore, they must provide a minimum level of smoke and fire protection during a building evacuation, from a half hour up to two or more hours of fire protection.

“One of the key elements is to provide fire rated doors with door closers that provide a positive latching of the door. This safety requirement ensures that bedroom doors are always closed, making the corridor just a passageway,” he said. “To increase the opportunity for communication, students sometimes prop open their doors using a book or heavy object to keep the door from closing, creating a condition that would be very unsafe in the event of a fire.”

There is a device on the market that provides a door closer/holder with a multi-point hold-open function connected to an alarm system that activates the closer in case of an emergency, automatically closing the door. This device is different from the traditional magnetic door closer that only allows for a 90-degree angle.

“The multi-point hold-open function allows the students to create their own ‘door language.’ When the door is fully open, the student is open to visits; when the door is set at 45-degrees, they may be studying, but still open to interaction. Now the corridor is re-gaining its important community activity, but in a safer way,” said Esteban.

Image Above: IUPUI North Hall Interior

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

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