One Grant Park is blueing up the South Loop

One Grant Park blue forms

The Big Blue Forms of One Grant Park.

Many legal-types will tell you to fill out your forms in blue. Which is exactly what McHugh Construction is doing at One Grant Park. Eschewing the usual yellow forms you see throughout Chicago, McHugh has opted for blue on Rafael Viñoly Architects’ 76-story apartment tower in the South Loop. And with Lake Michigan just a couple blocks away, why not? Working blue can be a bad thing for a comedian, but not for a construction company. Your children can watch. Blue screen of death? Nah, that’s for your old laptop. These are Blue Screens of Safety.

One Grant Park, a development from Crescent Heights, will stack 792 rental units atop 12 levels of parking. Work began on the lot at Roosevelt, Indiana, and Michigan back in December.

New Neighbor Eleven40 continues to rise in the South Loop

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

A little project I’m working on in the back yard.

Of course, Eleven40 isn’t the new neighbor; I am. But so far, the new apartment tower from the CA VenturesKeith Giles team doesn’t seem to mind its new spectators, as Lendlease keeps pushing the project skyward. The tower crane is still doing tower-crane things, and the cladding is starting to wrap around a fourth level.

A Spring 2018 arrival date for the 320-unit, SCB-designed South Loop tower fast approacheth, so don’t expect activity to slow down anytime soon.

Wandering Milwaukee: The Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Milwaukee Bucks new arena

The new of of the Milwaukee Bucks rises as part of the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center.

Another Summerfest has come and gone from Milwaukee. I like Summerfest. It gives me a chance to sample the unhealthiest of delicious festival foods, walk around downtown, and see a concert. Last year, it was Sting. This year, Paul Simon. And once a year, I get to check in on Milwaukee construction.

A rendering of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Hands down, the most watchable construction site in Milwaukee right now is the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center. Including the future home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, the WESC is a design by Populous, the Kansas City-based architecture firm known in Chicago for its work on Guaranteed Rate Field and the United Center, with assistance from Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB Corporation. Populous has also done design work for features of the Wrigley Field renovation. Chances are, if you’ve been to more than two sporing events in your life, you probably watched them in a Populous facility. The M.A. Mortenson Company is the general contractor.

While the WESC will eventually be a 30-acre entertainment district, the center piece is the new 714,000-square-foot arena. That, along with a multi-level parking garage, are under construction now. The $524 million arena is scheduled for completion in time for the 2018-2019 NBA season.

You can learn *tons* more about the new arena from ICON Venue Group.

You can keep up with the WESC on Twitter here.

Follow M.A. Mortenson here.

 

 

 

 

Chicago’s official Tower Crane Count now stands somewhere in the 30s

625 West Adams

Monday morning, crews began lowering the tower crane at 625 West Adams.

I’m not very good at math, so let’s slow things down a tad this morning. As you may know, the B.U.C. HQ is in the process of relocating, consolidating into the South Loop Bureau. That means far more attention has been paid to taping and painting walls, packing belongings, and mislabeling boxes, than to construction. And it looks like we’ve missed quite a bit over the past week or so.

As for that vague “30s” tower crane count, I think we’re at 32. We’ve lost two cranes this week, as 625 West Adams and the Apple Store are both on their way down, and we’ve gained one, as Essex On The Park now has a Crane On The Count. (33-2+1=32.) But until I can find which box I packed my compass, crayons, and Kodachrome, I won’t be confirming that for awhile.

That leaves Nobu on the clock. Anyone walk by this week?

Apple Store

The Yellow Street Crane of Doom was dismantling the Apple Store tower crane Wednesday morning, just before the weather took a turn.

Essex On The Park

The Essex On The Park tower crane is up and lifting heavy stuff.

 

The B.U.C. HQ is changing Loops

South Loop BUC

The B.U.C. is moving to the South Loop.

The time has come for Building Up Chicago to abandon its West Loop Headquarters and move the entire operation south. South Loop, that is. As we speak, ticker-tape readers, fax machines, and hand-cranked pencil sharpeners are being packed into boxes. After two years of towering above the Kennedy Expressway and all points west, our reporting will soon be done exclusively from the South Loop Bureau.

Fear not, good people. Divvy bikes and durable footwear will still allow us to move throughout the city to all points tower-crane. But expect things to be a little more South Loop-centric, just as they had been for the West Loop.

Parker Fulton Market

We watched the Parker Fulton Market grow up and open at 171 North Halsted Street.

One South Halsted

No more eagle-eye views of One South Halsted.

625 West Adams

We’ll miss you most of all, 625 West Adams.

Vista Tower takes a new angle

Vista Tower July

The WOW Factor just kicked up a notch at Vista Tower.

There’s an age-old axiom in architecture that I just made up that says “You can’t build frustums without angling some columns.” And it makes a lot of sense, if you don’t give it much thought.

Vista Tower frustums

Frustums on frustum in this Studio Gang rendering of Vista Tower.

It’s happening now at Vista Tower. McHugh Construction has the beginnings of four concrete columns sticking out of the north elevation at an impossible-not-to-notice angle, to which they’re adding rebar and concrete forms, making an already photo-worthy work site nearly impossible to walk away from. It’s also what Paul Simon was referring to in You Can Call Me Al with the lyric “angles in the architecture, spinning in infinity…” That is, *if* you happened to get liner notes with typos in them.  (**Graceland reference due entirely to Paul Simon concert in Milwaukee over the weekend. I won’t make it a habit.**)

Those cool new beams (that’s what the teenagers say all the time: “Cool beams!”) should keep Vista Tower construction very entertaining as they’re repeated throughout the process. Not that any of us needed another reason to keep going back. But we’ll take it.

1136 South Wabash gets a name change. Meet Eleven40

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

New signage introduces Eleven40 to the South Loop. Photo via Jennifer Healy.

In the midst of ongoing progress at 1136 South Wabash comes new signage announcing a new name: 1136 is now Eleven40. Follow that link to a whole bunch of shiny new renderings of the SCB-designed tower, as it continues upward toward its ultimate 26 stories. The CA VenturesKeith Giles production will have 320 apartments and is being built by Lendlease. Spring 2018 is the projected opening.

Eleven40

Eleven40 continues its rise in the South Loop. Photo via Jennifer Healy.

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

1136 South Wabash has been renamed Eleven40. Photo by Jennifer Healy.

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

Rooftop rendering of Eleven40.

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

Nighttime rendering of Eleven40.

Eleven40 1136 South Wabash

Pool rendering of Eleven40.