Higbee’s Shell
Cleveland,  OH


The Higbee Building is an 870,200 sq. ft. multi-story Historical building built in 1931 that is connected to Tower City on Cleveland’s Public Square.  The flagship retail store was prominently featured in the 1983 movie A Christmas Story.  Since the late 1990s, McHenry & Associates, Inc. has been involved with several MEP shell building renovations, including this one in 2009.  The project involved the conversion of the 6th, 8th and 9th floors of the building (approximately 222,000 sq. ft.) into office lease space.

Summary of Services:

  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing system design and Construction Administration.
  • Building energy modeling and LEED consulting services.

System Design Highlights:

  • Central system water-source heat pump loop for the floors, including removal of an existing cooling tower and supporting steel structure on the 12th floor roof and the installation of a new 1000-ton cooling tower on new steel framing. New mechanical systems were designed on the 11th floor.   
  • A hot water fintube radiation heating system, involving the removal of all existing steam heating systems on the floors, and adding new hot water heating pumps, piping and perimeter fintube to the floors.
  • Design of new domestic water risers, sanitary/vent risers and condensate wet column risers in discrete locations for tenant connection.
  • Fire alarm, telecommunication and lighting control systems were extended to new tenant floor.

Unique Project Challenges:

  • Incorporating large-scale central systems within a Historical building with limited MEP space available required very detailed design coordination with the project architect and owner.
  • LEED Certification required creative thinking and extensive collaboration to implement modern, sustainable practices into the MEP design for this Historical building.  As a result, this project was awarded LEED Gold (Core and Shell) Certification.

Construction Cost:


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Project Completion Date:

December 2009