General Destruction has begun at the General Growth building

GGP Demolition 110 north Wacker

Big chunks are missing from the GGP building at 110 North Wacker. The barge is catching them.

It feels good to write something about activity in The Loop again.

The former GGP headquarters at 110 North Wacker Drive in The Loop has begun to crumble into the Chicago River. Not by accident, of course. And not actually into the water. There’s a barge out there on the river, and Heneghan Wrecking is using it to haul away debris from the demolition of the six-story building, making space for the much-anticipated 54-story, Goettsch Partners-designed office tower 110 North Wacker, from the Howard Hughes Corporation and Chicago’s Riverside Investment and Development.

The start of demolition at 110 North Wacker immediately vaults the site to the top of the official Tower Crane Anticipation list. Though that could change, if 145 South Wells gets underway. Stay tuned.

Demolition equipment drives thru Chicago’s Rock and Roll McDonald’s

Rock and Roll McDonald's demolition

Bye bye to the old memorabilia pavilion at the Rock and Roll McDonald’s. The restaurant itself will be next to go. Except for the basement. They’re saving the basement.

Tuesday, the City of Chicago issued a demolition permit for one of Chicago’s most beloved tourist attraction, the Rock and Roll McDonald’s at 600 North Clark Street in River North. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, as the Chicago Tribune broke the news two weeks ago that changes were coming to the restaurant. But Twitter didn’t take kindly to the news. At least, not after the first wave of good riddances had passed. Those happy to see the building bite the dust were soon out-voted by many who hold fond memories of being overcharged to eat alongside statues of The Beatles and other rock and roll memorabilia.

Jay Koziarz at Curbed Chicago was on the scene bright and early, and like many of us, was a little surprised to see crews wasting no time tearing into the small pavilion to the west of the main restaurant.

Alas, some Twitter users were excited about the news, thinking the full-block lot was destined for redevelopment. But that’s not the case. Some of the McDonald’s will stay put, and the whole joint will be renovated. So no, don’t expect any shiny new towers to rise up on the block. Yet.

Rock and Roll McDonald's demolition

You’re next, McDonald’s dining room with the visor.

Rock and Roll McDonald's demolition

Photo by Jay Koziarz at Curbed Chicago mid-demolition.

Rock and Roll McDonald's demolition

John, Paul, George, and RinGONE

Rock and Roll McDonald's demolition

The demolition permit.

 

H2O = Heneghan 2 Obliterate, as 845 West Madison turns to rubble

845 West Madison demolition

The old H2) building no longer holds water. Or anything.

And it isn’t taking them long.

Take a walk around the old H2O site at 845 West Madison in the West Loop, and you may not notice much change in the doomed three-story masonry commercial building. But stand on the sidewalk at Madison, and you’ll see that Heneghan Wrecking has cut a swath right through the middle of the beast, allowing them to work outward. So while 95% of the visible exterior may be intact, its insides are quickly being hollowed out.

Heneghan is making space for the new 845 West Madison, a joint development from The John Buck Company and Lendlease. Approved by the Chicago Plan Commission back in June, the key feature of 845 West Madison will be the two 17-story towers, providing a total of 586 units. Also included in the GREC Architects-designed project will be nearly 300 parking spaces, plus about 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Expect Lendlease to double-up as general contractor as well as co-developer.

With two towers being built on a rather expansive full-block site, the most pressing question so far is, will 845 West Madison require one tower crane, swinging back and forth between the two towers? Or two tower cranes? Stay tuned, as we’ll be on the lookout for the first construction permits.

 

History demolished and discovered at the J.L. Higgie Building

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

One of the highly-coveted plaques, on the Harrison elevation, of the J.L. Higgie Building.

The J.L. Higgie Building at 1909 West Ogden Avenue in the Illinois Medical District is history, having been demolished over the past couple weeks by Heneghan Wrecking. The triangular building bounded by Ogden, Harrison, and Wolcott, built in the 1880s, was built by Higgie to be the offices of his tugboat company.

But speaking of history, demolition unearthed a treasure of it, as Heneghan discovered stacks of old newspapers where Mr. Higgie kept his offices. I got a good look at a couple of them, including a front page from February 5, 1930 (Chicago was having gang problems in those days) and a sports page from January 25, 1930 (the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in Atlantic City.)

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

January 25, 1930: The Pittsburgh Pirates moved their game against the Blackhawks 400 miles east because “Smoky City” fans weren’t showing up. Ouch.

The end draweth near for the beginning of Three Sixty West

Three Sixty West 360 West Erie

360 West Erie has to go, making room for Three Sixty West. It’s the new math.

A demolition permit was issued Tuesday for the humble 2-story building at 360 West Erie in River North. Yeah, that rooftop deck is cool, but it has to go. If the address sounds familiar to you, it may be from the buzz going ’round about Three Sixty West, the new condo tower coming to the block from Belgravia Group (think Renelle on the River). Designed by GREC Architects, Three Sixty West will feature 38 condominiums in an 12-story building.

Quality Excavation will do the ripping apart of the old building; when construction time begins, Maris Construction (they’re putting the finishing touches on Belgravia’s CA Washington development) will be on the build.

12 stories? Yep, Maris should land on the tower crane count soon.

Watch via EarthCam as work begins on Milwaukee’s BMO Tower

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Google Maps image of the doomed parking garage, being demolished to make room for BMO Tower in Milwaukee.

November 16 saw groundbreaking ceremonies for BMO Tower in Milwaukee, a 25-story office building that will serve as the new home for BMO Harris Bank. Designed by Kahler Slater (Westin Milwaukee), the tower will feature 380,000 rentable square feet, and 647 parking spaces through the 8th floor. The ground floor will contain a BMO Harris bank branch. Along with BMO Harris, the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP is also signed on as a tenant.

As you can see below, our friend Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes flew over the site this weekend. BMO’s current offices are in the building on the right. To the left, you can see the demolition equipment staged atop the roof of the soon-to-be-leveled parking garage.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Aerial view courtesy of Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

The new BMO Tower is being developed by Irgens, which will also renovate BMO Harris’ current space next door once they move into the new building. J.H. Findorff and Son (Marquette and The Couture) is the general contractor.

Of course, with Milwaukee being a far far far north suburb of Chicago, it’s a little out of my coverage radius. Thankfully, EarthCam sent over a link to its webcam for the BMO Tower project, so you can watch progress, starting with the demolition of the existing seven-story parking garage, live. You’ll find “View 3” is already zoomed in on the rooftop of that garage for you to get a close-up look.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

BMO Tower rendering from Kahler Slater.

BMO Tower Milwaukee

Another Google Maps image of the parking garage being demolished at Broadway and Wells.

Wynyard Place greets Sydney visitors with a tower crane trifecta

Wynyard Place Sydney

Look up! These 3 tower cranes greet you from Wynyard Place when you step out of the Carrington Street exit of Wynyard Station.

You know you’re going to enjoy Sydney when you jump on a train at the airport, riding past Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, to Wynyard Station in the CBD, and the first thing you see when you walk out into the light of day are three tower cranes.

Wynyard Place Shell House

Shell House

Those three cranes belong to Wynyard Place, a multi-faceted renovation and new-construction project from Brookfield. Also known as Brookfield Multiplex. And we’re very familiar with Multiplex and their multicranes at projects like Jewel Residences, Collins Arch, and Swanston Central.

The centerpiece of Wynyard Place will be a 27-story, Make Architects-designed office tower being built on the site of the former Menzies Hotel, now being demolished, at 10 Carrington Street. Also included in the project are the renovations of 285 George Street, and Shell House.

Shell House (yes, the oil company) is notable for the clock on top, and the large SHELL lettering along the side. The 12-story Shell House was built by Shell Oil as an office building, was converted to a hotel as part of Menzies, and is now being renovated back into 7,700 square meters of office space.

285 George Street, according to Commercial Real Estate, also goes by the name “Beneficial House,” and used to be the home of menswear store “Peapes.” Peapes signage has been revealed during demolition, just like the Shell sign.

Both buildings being renovated, Shell House and 285 George Street, currently feature tower cranes growing out of their roofs. I can’t say I’ve ever seen, or at least noticed, that before.

All three buildings will combine for nearly 70,000 square meters of office space and 6,700 square meters of retail, plus room for parking 80 cars. Completion of Wynyard Place is expected in 2020.