Legacy engineering tests PCA campus demolition contractor

The former Portland Cement Association and CTLGroup campus along Old Orchard Road in Skokie, Ill. is giving way to a residential and commercial development befitting valuable acreage just north of Chicago and in close proximity to Interstate 94. Demolition commenced in late 2023 on four buildings that for decades supported one of the world’s principal cement and concrete knowledge centers.

Through four months, crews have leveled the PCA headquarters office, a 1968 campus addition combining architectural or structural precast, prestressed elements from Wisconsin’s J.W. Peters, and walls of cast-in-place concrete or architectural concrete masonry unit construction. Following it was the Structures Laboratory, a reinforced concrete behemoth built to test full-scale building and transportation elements to failure. Crew challenges have continued with demolition of the original 1948 PCA office building, long the CTLGroup headquarters and testing lab, plus an adjacent structure that once housed a small cement kiln and clinker grinding mill. The campus redevelopment follows the 2019 sale of the 11-acre site and for-profit CTLGroup subsidiary to investors—a move dovetailing PCA’s Skokie to Washington, D.C. shift.