As caissons continue, 210 North Aberdeen scores its superstructure permit

Caissons are poured at 210 North Aberdeen

LG Group’s 210 North Aberdeen scored another building permit this week, adding the foundation & and superstructure permit to the caisson permit issued July 5. That means Power Construction (with McHugh Concrete on masonry duty) can continue work up to the 3rd floor, with the full-build permit expected soon.

When complete, the NORR-designed tower will deliver 363 apartments across its 19 stories, while connecting to the Arthur Harris building under renovation. A restoration permit was issued for that portion of the project (216 N Aberdeen) on July 17.

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920 North Wells rises above street level as demolition continues for North Union next door

The North Union megadevelopment from JDL Development is now evidenced in two locations. 920 North Wells, the first building to get started, has risen above street level. At 868 North Wells one block to the south, demolition is underway to clear space for another residential tower. 868 will be a 25-story building with 428 units and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

The most fun thing about this is you get two galleries; one for 920 construction by Power Construction, and one for 868 demolition by Atlas Industries. It’s like getting extra free stuff with the free stuff you already got.

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Common Lincoln Park has topped out at Big Deahl

The topped -out Common Lincoln Park, with the 1475 N Kingsbury tower crane behind it.

In more topping out news, word comes this week that Common Lincoln Park, part of the Big Deahl Phase II development at 853 W Blackhawk, has topped out. Phase II kinda sorta came in two phases itself, with The Seng, a five-story condo building at 869 West Blackhawk, and Common Lincoln Park, a 10-story apartment tower at 853 West Blackhawk, getting started first, followed soon thereafter by 1475 North Kingsbury.

The following gallery shows Power Construction’s progress on The Seng and Common Lincoln Park. We’ll get to 1475 in another post. Hopefully.

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160 North Elizabeth renders Chicago’s August tower crane survey obsolete

The topped-out 160 North Elizabeth

“Hey, that’s topped out” I said out loud (I talk to myself constantly when I walk around town) as I neared 160 North Elizabeth in the Fulton Market District. And it usually doesn’t take long for a topped-out tower to drop the tower crane. Sure enough, one day after setting our crane count at 20, came word that we’d already dropped into the teens. Ah, progress.

160 North Elizabeth seemed to go up in a hurry. This is progress by Clark Construction as of Friday, July 29, with the tower crane still intact:

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Chicago’s officially unofficial tower crane count to start August 2022 is 20

20-ish. About 20. ~20. Something like that. I haven’t had time to get around town and see two of our cranes for myself, but I’ve concrete (heh) evidence of the Obama Center’s third crane, and I’m comfortable assuming the 4445 W Irving Park crane is still there.

Since counting, but not posting, 21 at the start of July, we’ve lost 354 North Union. That means no cranes were erected in July, which sounds wrong, but I don’t think I’m missing any. 311 West Huron, 150 North Ashland, and 741 North Wells are all permitted but not planted yet.

Here they are, going north to south for this edition:

4445 W Irving Park
3501 N Halsted
853 W Blackhawk & 1475 N Kingsbury (The Big Deahl Phase II)
920 N Wells
808 N Cleveland (The 808 Cleveland)
751 N Hudson (HUGO)
166 N Aberdeen
164 N Peoria (900 Randolph)
160 N Morgan
160 N Elizabeth
732 W Randolph
21 N May (Embry)
1044 W Van Buren
234 W Polk (The Reed)
1000 S Michigan (1000M)
1400 S Wabash
The Obama Presidential Center, image courtesy of Lakeside Alliance on Linkedin

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Blogging the Burbs: Optima Verdana in Wilmette

This blog has a Category and a Tag for every Chicago suburb we’ve visited to check out a tower crane. We don’t have that many. Adventures to the suburbs are fun, and we’d love to take more, so let us know if you’re working on, commuting past, or living near a construction site with a crane, and we’ll get to them as soon as we can. (Also let us know where to grab breakfast.)

I did that thing I sometimes do where I go to a suburb and seek out tower cranes. Except I knew about this one already, thanks to the fine folks at Central Contractors Service. They let me know a couple months back that they had erected tower crane in Wilmette. A quick UP-N Metra ride up there drops you off right in the middle of the construction site (don’t take me literally. Ever.) and I snapped a few shots.

Being built is Optima Verdana. I last checked out an Optima joint back in May of 2021, when Optima Lakeview was in progress. Optima Verdana is a 100-unit apartment building going up on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Green Bay Road. There will be about 200 parking spaces, with most of them dedicated to residents, and about 20% of them for the retail space (8,000sf) at street level. Remember, we’re in the burbs now, not Chicago, so different town, different rules.

As this is Wilmette, I don’t have access to the building permits (I mean, I *probably* do, I just don’t know where to look) but I suspect Optima Verdana is another keep-it-all-in-house special, where Optima serves as developer, design architect, and general contractor. Cut out those middlemen whenever you can, folks.

Anyway, here are a few photos of still-below-street-level progress:

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Swift & Company demolition, 4155 South Packers Avenue

Demolition is fascinating to watch. You might hate that it’s happening, but it’s still hard to look away.

Taken back on June 23, here’s a whole mess of photos of demolition at the former Swift & Company warehouse at 4155 South Packers Avenue in the New City (the first post in New City!) community area. That’s Taylor Excavating on the job, who we saw most recently at the 210 North Aberdeen demos.

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Stuff That’s Done: The Green at 320 [Updated]

A rendering of The Green at 320 from Goettsch Partners.

This post has been updated to recognize the work by Confluence, designer of The Green at 320.

The Green at 320, the public plaza below the just-completed office tower 320 South Canal, opened quietly last week, ahead of its official opening Friday the 24th. The dreaded day job will keep me away from the big ceremony, so I headed down to the West Loop (Gate) Sunday to check out the park. It was worth the trip.

The “main” entrance to the park is a stairway on the corner of Clinton and Van Buren Streets. There are accessible ramps at both ends of the park: one off Clinton Street next to the Union Station Transit Center, and one of Van Buren Street. There is also a street-level entrance on Canal Street.

Here’s a press release from Biederman Redevelopment Ventures regarding the park and the programming plans to come:

CHICAGO, (April  27, 2020) – – Dan Biederman, one of the country’s leading  urban redevelopment experts and public space management consultants has partnered with Riverside Investment & Development Company and Convexity Properties to design free programming for The Park @ 320 at the entryway of 320 South Canal Street in downtown Chicago. The building serves as the new US headquarters for BMO Financial Group.

Biederman and his firm Biederman Redevelopment Ventures  ( www.brvcorp.com ), will provide a detailed programming plan for the public park, including a tentative schedule for programs, amenities, events, budgets, and a procurement list related to supplies and equipment.

BRV will also participate in the recruitment, interviewing, and selection of the Program Coordinator for the public space and will be responsible for training the successful candidate as  the programs start-up and continue working with that person throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

320 South Canal, also known as the BMO Tower, is a new 50-story commercial office building adjacent to Union Station in Chicago.  The building will feature a selection of restaurants, world class amenities and a spectacular 1.5-acre urban park with year-round programming, which will be one of the largest privately owned public parks in the City of Chicago. The website: https://320southcanal.com/

“Riverside and Convexity are seeking to provide their tenants and their employees and visitors and citizens of Chicago with an actively programmed public space,” said Dan Biederman. “With their building manager CBRE, they deserve a lot of credit. And we are proud to be part of this team.”

Dan Biederman gained national prominence when he privatized and transformed New York City’s Bryant Park from a neglected, crime-ridden, drug-filled, dangerous midtown Manhattan space into one of America’s grandest urban parks and Manhattan’s “Town Square.” Bryant Park is  privately operated and totally supported by private sources of funds.

BRV specializes in creating programming, self-sustaining budgets and building management teams for urban parks and public spaces in 32 states and six countries. BRV has worked with some of the most successful public spaces in the country, including Klyde Warren Park and Fair Park in Dallas, Titletown District in Green Bay, WI., Levy Park in Houston and Salesforce Park in San Francisco, Hudson Yards, and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor district.

In addition to overseeing BRV Corp. and serving as the Executive Director of the Bryant Park Corporation, Biederman is also the president of the 34th Street Partnership, an ambitious business improvement district. He was also a co-founder of The Grand Central Partnership, which helped renovate the neighborhood of a NYC landmark from a deteriorating, dreaded and sometimes dangerous transportation hub to today’s mecca for tourism, food, and a safe destination for commuters.

About Riverside Investment and Development

Riverside Investment and Development Company is a multi-faceted real estate firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 2010 by John O’Donnell, a longtime Chicago real estate veteran with more than 30 years and 40 million square feet of investment, development, and redevelopment experience, Riverside is focused pursuing of complex development and redevelopment opportunities. We aggressively manage risk via detailed front-end evaluation and planning, selective locational focus, and a willingness to form strategic relationships where appropriate for a particular transaction. Our relationships have been carefully cultivated over years of experience with local and national consultants, brokers, and other stakeholders. For additional information, visit www.RiversideID.com  

About Biederman Redevelopment Ventures:

Biederman Redevelopment Ventures Corporation is the private consulting firm of Daniel Biederman, co-founder of the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership. BRV Corp. is a nationally recognized leader in the creation and revitalization of parks, public spaces, streetscapes, and business improvement districts. BRV designs free programming and events, creates self-sustaining budgets, and builds management teams for urban parks and public spaces in 32 states and six countries. BRV works with real estate developers, government agencies, and non-profits to reinvent public spaces and has worked with some of the most successful urban parks and spaces in the country, including Bryant Park in New York, Klyde Warren Park and Fair Park in Dallas, Titletown District in Green Bay, WI., Levy Park in Houston and Salesforce Park in San Francisco. More detailed information is at www.brvcorp.com

Enjoy the photos, then get down to 320 South Canal and enjoy the public space!

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Final visit to the Cassidy Tire demolition?

There ain’t much left to see, as Atlas Industries nears the home stretch at the old Cassidy Tire building. Still looks to be about three years’ worth of reusable brick and timber, not to mention the un-reusable piles of rubble, to be hauled away though.

A couple of iPhone shots in this gallery show how high the rubble is piled in back of the building. We’re in deep Barney here.


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The first of many North Union tower cranes is up at 920 North Wells

Not only is the tower crane up at 920 North Wells, but there’s construction fencing up in the next block south on Wells Street. Call it 868 North Wells or 210 West Chestnut, but you better call it soon, because that fence means demolition is imminent for the former Irwin A Moon building on the Moody Bible Institute campus. Demolishing it will make room for 878 North Wells, the 25-story, 428-unit second tower on JDL Development’s North Union agenda. All we need do now is watch for the demo permit.

Tower crane enthusiasts are salivating.

Today’s gallery is a two-fer. You get to see 920’s brand-spankin’-new tower crane, and you get a few shots thrown in of 868 before its demise. Sorry I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the sun to show up. Enjoy.


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