Dellbrook | JKS – Genesis House

Dellbrook JKS Genesis HouseDellbrook | JKS is reviving the Genesis House senior housing development in Boston.
By Jim Harris, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

Dellbrook | JKS wants clients to receive a project exactly the way they envisioned. “We have systems in place that help us track everything we do and ensure we are building the project the owner specified,” Project Superintendent Donal Barry says. “Quality control is a big part of what we do. We make sure we’re putting in what we’re supposed to and that our clients are getting what they paid for.”

The company’s commitment to quality, as well as the work of its construction staff and subcontractors, has made Dellbrook | JKS one of the largest and fastest-growing construction companies in the northeastern United States. “We are a client-oriented company; there’s very little that we won’t do for a client,” Barry adds. “Client satisfaction is paramount to everything that we do.”

Dellbrook | JKS provides a range of construction services to clients in the residential, healthcare, historic renovation, education, municipal and commercial markets.

Housing Transformation

Dellbrook | JKS is applying its client-focused philosophy to the renovation of a senior housing development in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood.

The company is the general contractor for the $33.9 million renewal of the Genesis House, owned and managed by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, a nonprofit housing agency. Work on the project began in July 2016 and the renovation is slated for completion in June. The project architect is Dietz & Company Architects of Springfield, Mass.

The project involves renovating 170,000 total square feet in the complex’s two mid-rise buildings. Genesis House is comprised of a six-story building and an eight-story building. Combined, the buildings have 209 units including 189 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units. Dellbrook JKS Box

The electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems in each unit will be replaced, and all finishes will be upgraded. In addition, 30 units will become wheelchair accessible.

New windows and doors will also be placed throughout the facility, and a new roof and elevators will be installed. The project also includes renovating an adult daycare facility, an art room and other common areas.

The renovation will transform the 1970s-era buildings into modern living spaces. “It was time for a renovation to happen,” Barry says.

In addition to its work inside of the buildings, Dellbrook | JKS was awarded phase II of the project, a new courtyard outside of the building that is shared by residents of Genesis House and two other adjacent buildings on the same campus. The courtyard project will include installing new underground drainage, catch basins and a discharge system as well as new pavers, accessible walkways, gardens, water features and exercise equipment. The contractor is also restoring a Holocaust memorial and creating a walking path around the entire campus, Project Manager Carl Johnson says.

Working with Residents

The Genesis House buildings have remained occupied during the renovation project. The contractor is renovating one floor at a time beginning with the upper levels and working its way down each building, Assistant Project Manager Seth Aronson says.

In addition, the project entailed the reconfiguration of two vertical stacks of units in each building for the wheelchair-accessible units. Two accessible units will be located on each floor, and the units are stacked one on top of the other. Crews worked on these stacks before renovating the remaining units on each floor, Johnson says. As a result, tenants with disabilities were able to be permanently relocated to these units without further displacement.

Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly retained a relocation company, Housing Opportunities Unlimited, to work with its residents during the transition. Residents were moved into other units temporarily while work was done to their new units. “HOU typically tried to move people from the floor below to the floor above, but it didn’t always work out that way,” Johnson adds. “The team that coordinated the moving operation has had a difficult task to meet the needs of the tenants.”

Building management also monitored floors during the day and escorted residents around areas where crews were working. Safety-related signage was written in three languages – English, Chinese and Russian – and posted throughout the buildings.

At any given time, each of the building’s had one of its two elevators out of service to residents throughout construction so it could be used to transport materials followed by a complete elevator replacement. “It was a challenge to keep residents moving through the building around us while we brought materials up to the building,” Johnson says. “We are making sure residents are safe and in the elevator at the same time as us and our equipment.”

Team Experience

Most of the subcontractors working with Dellbrook | JKS on the Genesis House renovation have experience with both the general contractor and the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly Brighton campus.

Dellbrook | JKS is working with many of the same tradespeople who helped it complete in 2015 the Ulin House Renovation, another 10-story, 242-unit apartment building on the campus. “A lot of the subcontractors had a good knowledge base and were familiar with our needs because they worked with us before,” Johnson says.

Dellbrook|JKS recently broke ground on the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg House, a 61-unit apartment building with street level commercial space on the same campus. The building will open later this year.

The contractor is proud of the relationships it built with the subcontractors on these JCHE Brighton projects and its other projects. “Our biggest strength is our ability to man jobs, get competitive bids and have the staffing in place to run those jobs from beginning to end and give the client the end-product they are looking for,” Johnson adds.


Green Community

The Genesis House renovation project is designed to achieve Enterprise Green Communities certification. The certification recognizes green management and maintenance practices as well as construction elements. Dellbrook | JKS is using low-VOC adhesives, sealants and paints as well as recycling building materials. ENERGY STAR appliances, LED lighting and high-efficiency water and boiler systems are being installed in the building, Assistant Project Manager Seth Aronson says.

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