JT Magen completes Wayfair’s first physical store, near Chicago

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When online home goods retailer Wayfair opened its first brick-and-mortar location last week, lines to get in the store wrapped around the block, according to NBC 5 Chicago.

Built by New York City-based JT Magen, the 150,000-square-foot, purple-and-white-clad facility was a gut renovation of a former Carson Pirie Scott department store in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois.

The contractor overhauled the building’s facades, roof, utility systems, vertical transportation and internal finishes, according to a release that JT Magen shared with Construction Dive. Crews also expanded an 110,000-square-foot outdoor space, adding a plaza, new parking lot, landscaping and storm detention center and created an outdoor dining area for the store’s indoor/outdoor café.  

JT Magen served as construction manager for the project, overseeing all aspects from budgeting to materials procurement to deliver the project on time and on budget, according to the release. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

A soaring ceiling in a home good store

The store interior features woodgrain-clad steel beam rafters and polished concrete floors with brass trim.

Permission granted by JT Magen


The redesign and expansion of the store presented many unique challenges that required creative solutions, said JT Magen Project Manager Colum Quirke in the release. For instance, extensive structural work was required to allow for a large interior opening and rooftop extension to accommodate a glass-enclosed, three-story atrium that spotlights a millwork-clad wall and features a 20-foot-by-20-foot display screen that serves as a greeter and directory for customers. 

On the exterior facade, the construction team installed a terracotta rainscreen panel system in Wayfair’s signature purple, developed and manufactured in Germany. Crews also created a 70-foot-by-40-foot backlit metal panel feature wall in the main entrance area.

‘A big deal’

As evidenced by the crowds that showed up on opening day, the store is expected to have a transformative effect on the suburb, Wilmette Village President Senta Plunkett told NBC 5.

“It will be our largest sales tax generator,” Plunkett told NBC 5. “We’re excited to be able to reinvest those sales tax dollars into our infrastructure. It’s a big deal here.”

JT Magen has over 30 years of experience in the retail construction sector, working both with established retailers as well as those who are developing new retail experiences or brand rollouts. The firm has provided construction management for companies such as Hermes, Gucci, Cartier, Nordstrom, Microsoft, Target, Nike and Adidas. 

In addition to its New York City headquarters, the contractor has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Austin, Texas.

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