Aurora will light up the Melbourne sky with a 92-story mixed-use tower

Aurora Melbourne Central

Aurora Melbourne Central rises at 250 La Trobe Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

Seeing an aurora in the sky is always a special experience.

Seeing Aurora Melbourne Central in the Melbourne, Victoria sky will mean mixed-use architecture has climbed to new heights.

Being billed as the tallest residential tower in Melbourne’s Central Business District, Aurora Melbourne Central will include office space on the first seven floors (where car parking will also be located) to go along with its nearly 1200 rental and service apartments.

UEM Sunrise, a developer from Malaysia, is making its first foray into Australia with Aurora Melbourne Central. It is a design by Elenberg Fraser. Probuild is the general contractor. Opening is scheduled for 2019.


The Eastbourne proves sometimes, even three tower cranes isn’t enough

The Eastbourne

Put up 3 tower cranes, even 9,000 miles away, and I’ll try to stop by.

It’s fitting that the The Eastbourne, a luxury residential de velopment coming to East Melbourne from Mirvac and Bates Smart, is being built right next to the Epworth Freemasons maternity unit on Victoria Parade, because The Eastbourne already has three, with a fourth on the way. Tower cranes, that is, not babies.

The Eastbourne will feature about 250 homes over 11 stories. The website states that 95% of them have been spoken for, so you better hurry.

I’ve included a couple Google Maps photos below of the Dallas Brooks Centre, which has been demolished to make room for The Eastbourne, scheduled to be move-in ready mid-2019.


Cranes From Planes: Sidney, New South Wales, Australia edition

It’s time for a new segment here at Building Up Chicago that we like to call “Cranes From Planes.” It’s something I’ve never tried before because I’ve never thought about it until today, when I noticed a few cranes and we landed, then taxied, at Sidney Airport. Come to think of it, it’s rare we land anywhere in daylight, so I usually don’t have the camera at the ready as we make our approach.

The good thing about Cranes From Planes is that 1) the photos are taken through airplane windows, which make it impossible to focus, rendering decent pictures impossible, so I don’t have worry about whether or not any of the photos turned out well (they didn’t); and 2) since I have no way of getting close enough to the cranes to know what project they’re on, I don’t have to do any research on them. I can just post the photos with “Look! Tower cranes!” as the only text.

So here you go. A few random tower cranes as seen from Seat 16A of Qantas flight 418 as we landed at Sydney Airport.


Staying occupied in a very busy Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne construction

They’re building, and building big, in Melbourne.

Let’s be honest. The reason I’m overwhelmed by construction in Melbourne is because I tried to be. I didn’t go looking for one specific job site, so I might research what was being built and pass the information along to the reader. No, I went looking for every job site. And I have no idea if I’ve even come close to finding them. I haven’t been out of the City Center. Haven’t even made it across the Yarra River. I know there’s work going on in the Southbank neighborhood.

So where does when start? Here’s how I started: Walk to every tower crane in sight, take photos, making especially sure to capture at least one sign or marking that let’s me know what I’m seeing. Then get back to the hotel, download everything, and start sorting. And sorting. Lots of sorting. So far, I have files on 30 different projects and buildings. By “buildings,” I mean those that have already been finished and are worth capturing for their coolness. 30. Does that mean there are 30 blog posts coming your way from Melbourne? No chance. Just like in Chicago, I’ve taken far too many photos than I’ll ever have time and/or the wherewithal to use here. Besides, we still have three more cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast) to visit, and I hear all of them are mad with construction.

Rather than inundate you with the same flood of info I inundated myself with, I’ll choose the most interesting and picturesque of what I’ve seen. Plus a few random items thrown in for good measure.

Melbourne construction

Of the dozens of tower cranes I’ve seen in Melbourne, this is the only non-luffing crane so far.

I gotta jet, Chicago. Keep an eye out while I’m gone?

Okay friends, we’re getting on an airplane soon, and staying on it for 142 hours, or something ridiculous like that. I’m going to miss a lot, but won’t be left in the dark, if you’ll be the Eyes of the Blog for the rest of October or so.

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • There’s a tower-crane stub planted at The Van Buren. **The tower crane is going up today, I’m told! (Weather permitting, of course.)   And Hayden West Loop looks like it could get one at any time. Those are within a couple blocks of each other. They could be assembling tower cranes any day now.
  • A few other projects have permits, but no stubs. 3833 North Broadway and the Home2 Suites hotel at 110 West Huron are in the throes of foundation work. The Bentham, at 146 West Erie, has a permit, but demolition has just wrapped up, so we’ll have to wait a while for any signs of a crane there.
  • Wolf Point East foundation work is still ongoing, and spectacular to watch. Plus that trestle bridge. It’s going to get a tower crane permit soon, but I can watch for that remotely. Likewise, GEMS World Academy Upper School is in the midst of caisson work but it should be receiving a tower crane permit too.
  • Foundation work should start up very soon at 61 East Banks. That’s a 60-unit apartment building designed by Booth Hansen for Draper & Kramer. And it will require a tower crane in the future.
  • Renelle On The River could be in full-fledged construction mode soon, if it isn’t already. I haven’t been by in a good while. Site prep might be done. It too will get a tower crane eventually.
  • Demolition may have already started on 56 West Huron. Then site prep and construction will begin for…56 West Huron.
  • I should stop trying to guess when tower cranes are going to be taken down. But I will anyway: Eleven40 started coming down this week; No. 9 Walton *has* to come down some day soon; McDonald’s Headquarters has dropped one crane, and the second should be soon; The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center has a permit for a derrick that will remove its 2 tower cranes, but the first one isn’t likely to come down until I’m back in town.

Of course, you can take voluminous photos of everything going on in Chicago’s construction boom and send them my way, if you’d like. It is, after all, about keeping everyone informed and entertained.






Essex On The Park is becoming Noticeable In The Skyline

Essex On The Park

See it over there? Essex On The Park is starting to show through the trees of Grant Park.

From the east side of Grant Park, looking west, you can see Essex On The Park beginning its slow creep into the Chicago skyline. That’s what going vertical can do for a 56-story tower.

The giant, shiny, 476-unit project by Hartshorne Plunkard Architects will add 476 apartments to the Michigan Avenue streetwall. Oxford Capital Group, Essex On The Park’s developer, plans to have the residences open for move-ins in 2019. Remember that this project also includes the upgrading of the Essex Inn next door, expanding its capacity to 281 guest rooms.

That short red stubby tower crane Power Construction is using to build the apartment tower is fast becoming one of Chicago’s most photogenic. Take a walk around Grant Park, by by changing your location, you can use different buildings as a backdrop. Or, walk through the South Loop to the west, on Wabash or State Street, and get clear blue skies behind the tower crane. I know, I sound obsessed, but try it. You’ll see.