61 East Banks putting its tower crane to good use

One of the new 2018-model tower cranes in Chicago is doing work out at 61 East Banks in the Gold Coast Neighborhood. Which is impressive, considering that the operator of that machine has to be seriously distracted by the views of Lake Michigan, what with the prime location along Lake Shore Drive and all. No matter though. Focus. That’s how structures go vertical.

Draper & Kramer is building this 8-story, 60-unit apartment building, designed by Booth Hansen. This is the second tower crane in Chicago for Leopardo Companies, which also has one in the West Loop at their future HQ, 210 North Carpenter.

61 East Banks puts up Chicago’s newest tower crane

61 East Banks tower crane

This shiny new tower crane recently debuted above 61 East Banks in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

There’s been a lot of activity out at 61 East Banks since we went by the site in December. Caisson work is a distant memory, and Chicago’s newest tower crane looms above the future 8-story, 60-unit apartment development. Pretty sure this is Chicago’s 33rd tower crane of 2018 (remember, we started the year with 30 already in the sky.)

61 East Banks is a project from Draper & Kramer, with designs from Booth Hansen. Leopardo Companies (sure, you know them. They’re building their new offices over at 210 North Carpenter) is the general contractor. You may notice McHugh Construction signage on the tower crane; that’s because McHugh is the concrete subcontractor, and therefore responsible for assembly of the crane.

One of Chicago’s longest-running shows, No. 9 Walton lowers the curtain on its tower crane

No. 9 Walton tower crane

The tower crane at No. 9 Walton is slowly lowering itself to the ground, one segment at a time.

If you thought No. 9 Walton at 9 West Walton Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood topped out months ago, and that it seemed strange how long that hammerhead tower crane remained aloft, you were on to something. While we can’t confirm anything, we’ve got our suspicions that the $58.5 million sale for the top four floors may have had something to do with the longevity of the crane. (Dennis Rodkin over at Crain’s Chicago had the scoop back in January.)

The stub was planted at No. 9 Walton in March of 2016, after getting its permit on the first of February. By my calculations, that’s about two years ago. That’s a long time for a tower crane to be on a job site, especially one that’s “only” 38 stories high.

No. 9 Walton is a project from JDL Develoment. You may recall hearing that JDL’s president and founder, James Letchinger, had set aside a unit in this tower for himself. That’s a pretty good indication he’s paid very close attention to every facet of its construction.

The design was by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture. Lendlease handled the GC duties.

Expect No. 9 Walton to be open in 2018.

Caisson equipment arrives as site prep is underway at 61 East Banks

61 East Banks Gold Coast

Back those caissons right on in here! It’s go time at 61 East Banks.

The 8-story, 60-unit apartment building at 61 East Banks is in site-prep mode, and caisson equipment is starting to pour into the lot. The Booth Hansen design is parking itself on the former surface parking lot at Banks Street and Lake Shore Drive, assuring spectacular Lake Michigan views for some lucky tenants.

According to Booth Hansen, expect two-story townhomes on the first two floors, with one, tow, and three-bedroom apartments on the levels above. A shared amenity terrace will adorn the green roof, and parking will be added below grade.

Draper & Kramer is the developer of 61 East Banks; Leopardo Companies is handling general contractor duties. Expect to see Stalworth Underground out there in the cold starting caisson work very early in 2018.

First of four towers rising at Ruby in Gold Coast

Ruby Gold Coast Phase One

The first of the four Ruby towers is growing in Gold Coast, Queensland.

Ruby is a four-phase development project coming to Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Phase One, a 30-story, 228-unit apartment tower, is underway. Developed by the Ralan Group, Ruby’s subsequent stages, all designed by DBI Designs, will include towers of 60, 47, and 32 stories, if the remaining three on the board all are approved. They’ll combine for a total of 1,372 additional units, along with lots of shopping apace, restaurants, and other attractions, including a skating rink! There can’t be too many of those in Surfers Paradise, right?

Hutchinson Builders is doing the heavy lifting. They were approaching the halfway point of the Phase One tower when we walked by in October. The Ruby website says work will be done late this year; Hutchinson Builders is very good, but that seems to be an unlikely goal at this point in November.

Fantastic video of Jewel Residences tower crane installation from Lindores Construction Logistics


I’ve shown you every photo I have to share of the 5-tower-crane festival that is Jewel Residences construction in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. So I’ve been trying to find photos from everyone else. And I came across this video from Lindores Construction Logistics of the tower cranes being assembled back in 2016.


Jewel Residences Gold Coast QLD

Mild-mannered demolition site could soon be a Meriton Supertall in Gold Coast, QLD

Meriton is a brand I didn’t know until our Australia trip. We saw a few properties in Sydney, spent a night in one Meriton serviced apartment and gawked at their 2nd Brisbane skyscraper, then noticed yet another from our rooftop deck in Gold Coast. Finally, a casual stroll through Surfers Paradise revealed what remains of an almost-completed 22-story demolition (of the former International Beach Resort) that may just turn out to be the most impressive Meriton tower yet.

Meriton Surfers Paradise demolition

This rendering appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Over the past 12 months, since Meriton bought the property at 84 Esplanade, multiple outlets including the Gold Coast Bulletin, Brisbane Development, the Australian Financial Review, Ray White Surfers Paradise, and Meriton itself (that’s a lot of sources) are reporting that Meriton will build a tower of at least 90 stories in height. That could make it the tallest in Gold Coast, the tallest in Queensland, and even the tallest in all of Australia, depending on how high it goes.

Meriton Suites Surfers Paradise would contain 311 suites on floors 3-30, with the upper floors being for-purchase units. That link says it would be open in 2018; with demolition still underway, that seems optimistic, but we’ll see.

The consensus seems to be that SJB designed the would-be supertall.

For now though, it’s still this modest-looking demo job.