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First to the Finish, Edwardsville

Article Courtesy Illinois Business Journal By DENNIS GRUBAUGH

EDWARDSVILLE — When First to the Finish, an athletic apparel business, chose the site for its newest location, the company knew it would have a built-in customer base.

Next door is the Planet Fitness gym. Just to the north, plans are in the works for a connection to the Madison County bicycle trail. Users of those facilities are always looking for quality running shoes and gear.

“It’s an ideal location and a good-looking building; it should do well for them,” said Cory Parker, who is managing the project for the general contractor, Contegra Construction Co., of Edwardsville.

The design-build firm is looking for a Nov. 1 completion date for a company that is planning a mid-November opening. First to the Finish is moving its headquarters from Carlinville to Edwardsville, where it will have space for retail, offices, graphics and storage. The new facility, which is about 16,000 square feet, features exterior, tilt-up concrete walls with painted and thin-brick façade. A unique feature of the building will be its arched roof “clerestory” with glass curtain walls. The arched story will stand out from a distance. While most of the structure maintains a certain height, one section is raised higher than the rest, with an arched roof of its own and glass panels going from roof to ground.

“The arched clerestory was a bit of a challenge. It took some coordination in getting all the parts and pieces to work,” Parker said. The building will also have polished concrete floors. Finished concrete is polished to a sheen using a seven-step grinding process. The structure will also have architectural sheet metal paneling accents outside and painted exposed structural steel framing on the interior. The project is currently completing electrical and HVAC rough in, metal stud framing and exterior storefronts. Grading is underway for curb and gutter and paving.

The part of the building closest to Planet Fitness will be the retail space, with the entrance by way of the arched story. The west side of the building, meanwhile, is split up between warehouse storage and graphics. The northeast corner will be devoted to offices.