How many tower cranes are there in Chicago’s sky *right now*? (Spoiler Alert: 32)

Chicago's 32 Tower Cranes

Tow of Chicago’s 32 tower cranes hover over the McDonald’s Headquarters site in the West Loop.

You’ve read the story that’s been going around for several months now. It ranked Chicago Number 1 in the country in active residential tower cranes in the air. An earlier national story mentioned Chicago having  56 active tower cranes back in Fall 2016. Sorry, but that seemed too high (heh — tower cranes…high…) to me.

Unable to climb the Sears Tower and get visuals, here’s what I pulled from the far reaches of my brain as Chicago’s current count. And the city’s permit list.

Let’s work our way from north to south (more or less):

  1. Eight Eleven Uptown (Uptown)
  2. Hotel Zachary (Lake View)
  3. Addison & Clark (Lake View)
  4. Elevate Lincoln Park (Lincoln Park)
  5. Atrium Village (Near North)
  6. 1001 West Chicago (River West)
  7. Wicker Park Connection (Stub) (Wicker Park)
  8. No. 9 Walton (Gold Coast)
  9. Simpson-Querrey Center x 2 (Streeterville)
  10. Optima II (Streeterville)
  11. One Bennett Park x 2 (Streeterville)
  12. 465 North Park (Streeterville)
  13. Apple Store (Streeterville)
  14. 8 East Huron (River North)
  15. Hubbard221 (River North)
  16. 3Eleven (River North)
  17. Wanda Vista Tower x 2 (New East Side)
  18. 171 Aberdeen (West Loop)
  19. McDonald’s Headquarters x 2 (West Loop)
  20. Illume Chicago (West Loop)
  21. One South Halsted (Stub) (West Loop)
  22. 625 West Adams (West Loop)
  23. Landmark West Loop (West Loop)
  24. Cook County Central Campus Health Center (Stub) (Illinois Medical District)
  25. Alta Roosevelt (South Loop)
  26. Ancora at Riverline (South Loop)
  27. 1136 South Wabash (South Loop)
  28. One Grant Park (South Loop)
  29. 1411 South Michigan (South Loop)
  30. The 3 Hiltons (Prairie District)
  31. Solstice On The Park (Hyde Park)
Chicago's 32 Tower Canes

Two more, at One Bennett Park in Streeterville.

31 construction sites with tower cranes, four of them having two cranes, but 3 are just stubs, so they aren’t active. That’s 32 tower cranes by my count. Have I missed any?

Chicago's 32 Tower Cranes

Two at Wanda Vista Tower.

There’s some math to do as far as trying to get to 56 from November. We’ve lost a lot of tower cranes since then, but we’ve also added several. But I maintain Chicago did not have 56 active cranes at any time in 2016.

A story by Curbed Chicago in November counted 48 tower cranes active during the 2016 calendar year throughout Chicago, but not all were active at the same time. This Chicago Tribune story, also from November, counted 32 active cranes, calling that a record for Chicago. By the time all three current stubs are active (Cook County Health, Wicker Park Connection, and One South Halsted) we might have lost cranes at topped-out projects 3Eleven, 1001 West Chicago, and Landmark West Loop. So we could break the record in the next couple weeks. if those two cranes hang around long enough.

Of note:

  • There are no tower cranes in The Loop right now.
  • 6 cranes are non-residential: The 2 at Simpson Querrey Center, the Apple Store, 625 West Adams, the triple-branded Hilton, and the Hotel Zachary.
  • The stubs at Cook County Health and Aloft Hotel will be non-residential as well.

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