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.

 

Essex On The Park is a Tower On The Rise in the South Loop

Essex On The Park

Essex On The Park is starting to rise alongside its mother ship, the Essex Inn.

One floor at a time, Essex On The Park is starting to show itself along the Michigan Avenue Streetwall in the South Loop. Of course, we ain’t seen nothing yet. What’s pictured is merely a fraction of the eventual 56 stories that will house 476 new apartments. And that’s a good thing. It means we have lots of progress still to come, lots of watching still to do.

My really big, very good day: A view of Chicago from inside 150 North Riverside

150 North Riverside

150 North Riverside is open and spectacular along the Chicago River.

If being obsessed with a building is a problem, then those of you who know me well (or know me at all, let’s be honest here) know I have a problem.

150 North Riverside is my obsession. And problem. If I ever manage to salvage the thousands of photos on the hard drive I dropped of construction of Goettsch Partners’ Chicago office tower, I’ll post them one at a time and you’ll understand what I mean. But you can see into a few of those portals via blog posts here, here, here, and most recently, here.

It started with the sinking of the Chicago River Barge, quite possibly the most famous demise of a water-going vessel in the history of mankind. And just like that, I became mesmerized by construction. I’d go downtown just to stand on the Randolph Street bridge and see how much progress had been made. When we moved to the West Loop, I’d go out of my way to get to and from the L so I could watch.

Before I was ready to let go, 150 North Riverside was done. And I’ll admit to a tinge of sadness in its construction coming to an end. Not just because there would be no more progress to mark, but because I feared the tower would now become a mystery to me. Sure, the plaza outside is a fantastic space, and open to the public 24/7 for wandering through, or enjoying an al fresco lunch. The lobby even has open hours too. But what reason would I ever have to go inside and see Chicago from this vantage point? Maybe I could find a lawyer with an office there, and threaten to sue someone so I could meet for a consultation.

But then along came my angel. Thanks to Shelby Edwards and the William Blair Company, which started moving its Chicago offices into the tower back in June, I got to go inside this magical building last week. William Blair occupies about a dozen floors in the upper half of the tower. I hung out for awhile on the 46th floor, the main reception area. An amazing space, it offers 360-degree views from a host of meeting rooms, classrooms, and small breakout offices.

And then there’s the art. I respectfully avoided photographing any of the artwork; that usually feels like something you shouldn’t do. But imagine two busts, made of layers hunks of drywall cut from the walls behind the busts. Yeah, it’s as cool as it is hard to describe.

I didn’t spend my entire hour with Shelby taking photos of tower cranes; I captured lots of Chicago views. But those memories are for me. To keep with the theme of this blog, here now are the shots I took to share with you; as many cranes as I could find from the 35th and 46th floors of 150 North Riverside:

Essex On The Park is Off Of The Ground

Essex On The Park goes vertical

Essex On The Park is beginning its climb into the Michigan Avenue skyline.

Essex On The Park raised a tower crane earlier this month, and now work has begun going vertical along Michigan Avenue in the South Loop. Power Construction has 56 stories to stack atop each other, so there’s a whole lot of work to do. But that’s what tower cranes are for, right? Wait and see; this thing will be topped out in no time.

A few reminders for you as Essex On The Park begins to rise: It’s a development from Oxford Capital Group. It’s designed by¬†Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. As previously mentioned, Power Construction is the general contractor. 808 South Michigan Avenue is the address. There will be 476 apartments, 84 parking spots, and some ground-floor retail space. Oxford plans to have the apartment tower open to residents in 2019.

Essex On The Park celebrates the Poureth of July

Essex On The Park concrete pour

A swarm of activity at Essex On The Park as the concrete flows freely.

Monday is Concrete Day for Essex On The Park, as Power Construction crews spend the day between the holiday weekend and the actual holiday pouring concrete into the foundation for the new 56-story apartment tower from Oxford Capital Group. And of course, we’re not talking about little bits of concrete. We’re talking trucks lined up down the street, waiting to get their pour on.

One segment of the concrete being poured today is the foundation for the tower crane. The stub was planted almost two weeks ago, sitting there looking all lonely. But now it will have a home, and the crane can be fully assembled, and soon (we hope.) If it goes up before any other cranes come down, it will be #34 on the Chicago Tower Crane Survey.

Essex On The Park plants a tower crane

Essex On The Park tower crane stub

Essex On The Park has a Stub In The Ground.

Chicago’s tower-crane count is back down to 32, and Essex On The Park won’t stand for it. Thursday, Power Construction planted a stub in the South Loop ground. Surrounded for now by rebar, the foundation will soon (today?) be filled with concrete, which will cure before the full tower crane can be assembled. Let’s watch the middle part of next week for that.

Essex On The Park wraps up caisson work; sheet driving up next

Essex On The Park

Time to dismantle the caisson rig and let the sheet driver get at it.

Case Foundation is done, and now it’s Stalworth Underground’s turn, as foundation work at Essex On The Park continues in the South Loop. With all the big holes drilled into the earth, up next comes the piles of sheeting stacked in the southwest corner of the site, and then Essex can get a tower crane moved in. I hope.