Downers Grove, IL

The Kitchens of Sara Lee


Sara Lee Corporation

General Contractor

Turner Construction

Project Duration

18 months


Hixson Architecture Engineering Interiors

Electrical Contractor

Gibson Electric

Sara Lee development campus entrance sign

Value Delivered

Safe, reliable commercial electrical service for a new, state-of-the-art culinary R&D institute; enhanced fire alarm and security systems installation; minimal disruption to normal operations; improved abilities to respond to changing consumer needs and market demands.

Client Objectives

Renovate and expand an existing building to support consolidation of Sara Lee's North American test kitchens and other R&D facilities at its corporate headquarters site.


Adhering to a carefully planned, three-phase schedule, Gibson Electric enabled non-disruptive client operations, while installing electrical, lighting, fire alarm and security systems in existing and newly constructed sections of this building.

The company brought in power from the utility transformers to the building's main distribution panels and routed it from there to branch panels and fixtures serving the kitchens, offices, and their electrical, lighting and other life safety systems.

Besides installing the 120/208-volt system for lighting and receptacles throughout the facility, the crews also provided 277/480-volt service to power the lab's ovens, freezers and other equipment.

Client Background

The Kitchens of Sara Lee is a 120,000-square-foot, multi-million-dollar research and development campus within the company's corporate headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois. Approximately 150 R&D professionals work in the kitchens developing new offerings for the company's bakery, meat, coffee, sauces and dressings portfolios. The building houses culinary facilities; product, packaging and equipment development and testing; sensory services; a pilot operations facility; analytical and micro labs; and product training facilities.