There is no other association activity that more perfectly defines the mission of the Chicago Building Congress than its Merit Award Program.  The Merit Awards have celebrated the building industry since 1956 by singling out the outstanding projects in greater Chicagoland built during the past three years.

CBC Merit Awards

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Morgan Manufacturing
401 North Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60642



Commercial Construction Over $50 Million

Rivers Casino North Expansion – Des Plaines, Illinois – Pepper Construction

Commercial Construction Under $50 Million

Rusu-McCartin Boys & Girls Club of Chicago – BEAR Construction Company

Education PK-12

The Academy for Global Citizenship at the Cultivate Collective Campus – SMNG A Ltd.

Higher Education

College of Lake County Lakeshore Campus Student Center – Legat Architects


Cook County Health Belmont Cragin Health Center – Holabird & Root LLC

Infrastructure or Industrial Construction

Project Dolphin – Clayco, Inc.

Interior Build-Out

Taft Law Office Expansion – Valenti

Renovation & Adaptive Reuse Over $20 Million

Lawson House Redevelopment – Walsh Construction Company II

Renovation & Adaptive Reuse Under $20 Million

Guinness Open Gate Brewery – Clune Construction


The Reed – Perkins&Will



Powering Chicago


Kelso Burnett

Valenti Builders



Davey Utility

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who can enter the Merit Awards?

A: Anyone can enter the Merit Awards with a project that has been completed within three (3) years of submission.

Q: If my company is not a CBC member, can we still enter our project(s)?

A: Yes, if your company is not a CBC member, you can still enter as many projects as you like by selecting the non-member section of the form.

Q: What are the Merit Award Categories?

A: The Merit Award Categories reflect Chicagoland’s ever-changing construction landscape. Here are the categories:

  • Education – Pre K through 12
  • Education – Higher Education
  • Healthcare
  • Residential/Hospitality
  • Commercial Construction UNDER $50 Million
  • Commercial Construction OVER $50 Million
  • Renovation & Adaptive Reuse UNDER $20 Million
  • Renovation & Adaptive Reuse OVER $20 Million
  • Infrastructure or Industrial Construction
  • Interior Build-Out

Please remember that multiple projects can be submitted for multiple categories, however the same project cannot be entered into more than one category.

Q: Can I enter several projects?

A: Yes, you can enter as many projects as you like. Each project entered will require project details, contact information (including those key subs), and payment. However, you can enter several projects using one electronic form.

Q: Can we enter a project outside of Chicagoland or Illinois?

A: The primary purpose of the Merit Awards is to recognize outstanding projects in the Chicagoland area and surrounding counties. However, in the past some projects have been submitted built in Illinois and of course were seriously considered.

Q: What is the timeline for each phase of the Merit Awards?

A: Here is the timeline for each phase of the 2024 Merit Awards:

Merit Award SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Extended to February 6, 2024

(Projects must be completed by December 31, 2023.)

Email Notification Sent to Finalists Scheduling In-Person Presentations: February 2024

Finalists’ Presentations & Judging Dates to Determine Winners: February 22, March 19, 20, 27, & April 3, 2024


Q: When must a project be completed to be eligible for the Merit Awards?

A: Projects completed within the last three years, and by Dec., 31, 2023 are eligible for the Merit Awards.

Q: If we have entered a project in a previous Merit Awards Program, can we enter it again for this year’s Merit Awards?

A: Previously entered Merit Award projects can be re-entered, as long as they have been completed within the last three years, and were not selected as Merit Award winners.

Q: How do I enter projects for the Merit Awards?

A: Entering your projects is easy! Simply go here, enter contact information, your project title, and select a category. You can pay for your entry (or more than one) right online. If you have more than one project you are entering, you can do them all in the same registration.

Q: How much is it to enter a project?

A: Each project registered is $300 for CBC Members, and $600 for non-members.

Q: What if I enter a project, and the budget increased placing me into a different category, what should I do?

A: If you are close to the original project budget, keep the project in the same category. If however, the budget/expenditures has vastly exceeded your original estimates, please contact cbc@chicagobuildingcongress.org.

Q: How are the projects judged?

A:  A panel of dedicated industry professionals volunteer to judge all presentations. This includes owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and those in services to the construction industry. Judges select the top five entries in each category based on the criteria below. Remember to include these in your submission and (if selected as a finalist) in the finalist presentation:

  • Distinctive, functional, or innovative design
  • Quality of construction
  • Impact of the project on the community and inclusion initiatives
  • Safety record
Q: What is the process for judging?

A: The first meeting is to determine finalists from the Merit Award entries, and the second and third judging sessions select the winners in each category. These dates are tentatively scheduled to take place in February and March. There is usually a backup date scheduled in April. The Merit Awards take place in May.

Q: How can I get involved as a Merit Award judge? Are there certain criteria I need to meet?

A: Thanks for your interest in the Merit Award judging process. We have two criteria to be a Merit Award judge:

  1. Your company must be a CBC Member with dues paid up-to-date.
  2. Your expertise in the construction industry. As a CBC member serving the construction industry, your expertise is needed to help identify finalists and the winners of the Merit Awards.
Q: Interested in being a Merit Award judge?

A: A panel of dedicated CBC members volunteer to judge all the presentations. To be a Merit Award judge, you must be a CBC member, complete the availability form before judging starts, and have a passion for the built environment. Judges represent all areas of the construction market from owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and those in the services to the construction industry. If you are interested in becoming a judge, please email us at cbc@chicagobuildingcongress.org.

Q: When are the winners announced?

A: Winners will be announced the night of the Merit Awards Gala.

Q: How can I get tickets, purchase a table, sponsor the event or buy an ad in the program book for the Merit Awards?

A: Registration for the Merit Awards Gala will open soon. Click here for registration and sponsorship information.




  • 320 South Canal – Union Station
  • SOS Children’s Villages
  • Community High School District 99, Downers Grove North & South High Schools Additions & Renovations
  • Illinois Institute of Technology Student Housing Program Phases I – III
  • UI Health Specialty Care Building
  • Canal Street Plaza Reconstruction
  • Ernst & Young Chicago Office Renovation
  • Mount Prospect Police Headquarters
  • Chicago Cultural Center Restoration of the Grand Army of the Republic Rooms
  • Cirrus, Cascade and Cascade Park


  • Sherlock Elementary School
  • Advocate Aurora Illinois Masonic Medical Center- Physical Therapy & Sports Health Center
  • Fifth Avenue Apartments
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Campus Expansion
  • Great Lakes Academy: Elementary & Middle School Expansion & Renovation
  • The 1060 Project at Wrigley Field
  • Abt Electronics
  • Walgreens Chicago Office


  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Solution Center
  • Lisle Elementary School
  • KLEO Art Residences
  • Midway Airport Passenger Security Checkpoint Expansion
  • Pullman Artspace Lofts
  • Old Cook County Hospital Renovation
  • Esperanza Health Centers
  • Robert Crown Community Center
  • 110 North Wacker Drive


  • University of Chicago Keller Center
  • VA Hines New Boiler Plant
  • Northtown Affordable Apartments and Public Library
  • Columbia College Chicago Student Center
  • Argonne Materials Design Laboratory
  • Lincoln Park Community Services
  • The Old Chicago Post Office Renovation and Adaptive Reuse Project
  • Riverview Bridge
  • Knoll


  • Burbank School District 111 Luther Burbank Elementary School
  • 41st Street Pedestrian Bridge over Lake Shore Drive
  • DLA Piper
  • 412 N. Wells
  • Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Center at Richard J. Daley College
  • Holtschneider Performance Center
  • The Newberry Renovation
  • Hotel Julian


  • Washington Wabash CTA Loop Elevated Station
  • Joliet Junior College City Center
  • Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple
  • IBEW Local 9, University Park Training Facility
  • Hotel EMC2
  • Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • Trumpf Smart Factory


  • Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • Saia LTL Freight
  • Navy Pier Centennial Wheel
  • Zurich North America
  • Abe and Ida Cooper Center
  • Joliet Central High School Student Center Addition
  • Albert Lane Tech High School Renovation
  • River Point Tower
  • Albert Lane Tech High School Renovation


  • NewCity
  • Chinatown Branch, Chicago Public Library
  • DuPage County Health Dept. Community Center
  • Chicago Athletic Association
  • Rosewood Beach Development
  • Chicago Riverwalk Phase II
  • Amazon Sortation & Fulfillment Center
  • Confidential Technology  Project
  • Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center


  • BP Emergency Services Building
  • Adler Planetarium Cosmology Gallery
  • LaRabida Children’s Hospital Ambulatory Care Ctr.
  • University of Chicago 58th St. East & West Revitalization
  • University of Chicago Saieh Hall for Economics
  • Northeastern Illinois University “El Centro Campus”Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Protein
  • OneEleven


  • Adjustable Forms, Inc.
  • Eataly
  • Univ. of Chicago Quad Portal
  • CTA Loop Track Renewal Project
  • DePaul University Theatre School
  • Argonne Energy Sciences Bldg.
  • Genevieve & Wayne Gratz  Center
  • Back of Yards High School
  • Instituto Health Sciences Academy


  • Univ of Chgo Reva & David Logan Ctr
  • Ronald McDonald House 211 E Grand
  • Monroe Building
  • LaCasa Student Dormitory
  • 31st Street Harbor
  • Silver Cross Replacement Hospital
  • Winpak Portion Packaging
  • Baker & McKenzie


  • Ogden International School
  • Astellas North American Hdqrtrs
  • Camp Porter Barracks
  • III Forks Steakhouse
  • Hairpin Lofts & Arts Center
  • Old Town School Of Folk Music
  • S-K Hand Tool
  • Teen Living Programs Belfort House


  • 300 East Randolph
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Plant Conservation Science Center
  • The Sullivan Center
  • Cast Iron Façade Restoration
  • PCC Wellness Austin Family Health
  • Exelon Solar City


  • Art Institute Of Chicago
  • Modern Wing & Nichols Bridgeway
  • Metea Valley High School
  • Uno Veterans Memorial Campus
  • Hidden Oaks Nature Center
  • S & C Electric Co Advanced Tech Crt
  • Village Of Oak Park
  • Marion & Westgate St Improvements


  • Trump International Hotel
  • Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue
  • Palmer House Hilton Hotel
  • Holy Family Lutheran School


  • Klarchek Information Commons
  • Ravinia New Dining Facility
  • Orland Park Police Headquarters
  • SOS Children’s Village



  • Gary Comer Youth Center
  • Calamos Headquarters
  • LaSalle Bank Theater
  • Chicago Greenworks


  • Conservation Of The U-505 Sub
  • Orland Park Public Library
  • Domestic Violence Court House
  • Rogers Park Montessori School


  • Lincoln Park Zoo Regenstein Center
  • Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
  • Kendall College Riverworks Camps
  • Patty Turner Senior Center


  • Soldier Field
  • Oak Park Public Library
  • York High School
  • Lookingglass Theatre


  • Homan Square Community Center
  • Levy Senior Center
  • Midwest Ctr For Green Technology
  • La Rabida Children’s Hospital


  • UBS Tower
  • Glenview Park Center
  • 360 North Michigan Renovation
  • Jubilee Family Resource Center


  • Pharmacia Life Sciences Building
  • Bachelor Enlisted Quarter
  • Shedd Aquarium/Amazon Rising
  • North Shore Senior Center


  • Adler Planetarium/Sky Pavilion
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital
  • Schaumburg Baseball Stadium
  • Goldblatt’s Building Renovation
  • Lake City Convention/Visitors Center


  • Living Coast/Brookfield Zoo
  • Brooks Homes Modernization
  • Barat College Library
  • Elmhurst Art Museum


  • HCSC (Blue Cross Building)
  • Chicago Terminal Radar Approach
  • Carl Schurz High School Restoration
  • Little Village Academy


  • McCormick Place Expansion
  • Calumet Deep Tunnel/Reservoir
  • CTA Green Line Renovation


  • Monadnock Building
  • Children’s Memorial Medical Center
  • Fourth Presbyterian Church
  • Williams Science Center Addition


  • Cook County Juvenile Center
  • Finkl Urban Manufacturing
  • Chicago Commons Nia Family Center


  • Chavez Elementary School
  • Sears Tower
  • 2000 Wacker Drive Streetscape


  • Walsh Grand Headquarters
  • Marshall Fields State Street


  • City Front Place
  • Harpo Studios


  • Canal Center
  • Hotel Inter-Continental Chicago


  • Riverway
  • North Pier Chicago

1989 United Terminal

1988 Center For Professional Health

1987 Center For Professional Education


  • 190 South LaSalle
  • Chicago Theatre


  • One Financial Place
  • Chicago Hilton And Towers

1984 McDonald’s Office Campus

1983 333 West Wacker Drive

1982 Chicago Board Of Trade Addition

1981 Kroc Diagnostic Treatment Center

1980 New City YMCA

1979 Dearborn Park

1978 Academic Facility

1977 Cultural Center

1976 Water Tower Place

1975 Standard Oil (Amoco)

1974 One Montgomery Ward Plaza

1973 Sears Tower

1972 James Roscoe Miller Campus

1971 Woodfield Mall

1970 McCormick Place On The Lake

1969 One First National Bank

1968 Lake Point Tower

1967 Oak Brook Development

1966 Univ of Chicago At Chicago Circle

1965 Central District Filtration

1964 Continental Plaza

1963 United States Gypsum

1962 United Of America

1961 McCormick Place

1960 Michael Reese Hospital

1959 Illinois State Tollway

1958 Inland Steel

1957 Old Orchard Shopping Center

1956 Prudential