Vista Tower takes a new angle

Vista Tower July

The WOW Factor just kicked up a notch at Vista Tower.

There’s an age-old axiom in architecture that I just made up that says “You can’t build frustums without angling some columns.” And it makes a lot of sense, if you don’t give it much thought.

Vista Tower frustums

Frustums on frustum in this Studio Gang rendering of Vista Tower.

It’s happening now at Vista Tower. McHugh Construction has the beginnings of four concrete columns sticking out of the north elevation at an impossible-not-to-notice angle, to which they’re adding rebar and concrete forms, making an already photo-worthy work site nearly impossible to walk away from. It’s also what Paul Simon was referring to in You Can Call Me Al with the lyric “angles in the architecture, spinning in infinity…” That is, *if* you happened to get liner notes with typos in them.  (**Graceland reference due entirely to Paul Simon concert in Milwaukee over the weekend. I won’t make it a habit.**)

Those cool new beams (that’s what the teenagers say all the time: “Cool beams!”) should keep Vista Tower construction very entertaining as they’re repeated throughout the process. Not that any of us needed another reason to keep going back. But we’ll take it.

Crane-less Zachary Hotel glasses up the joint in Lake View

Hotel Zachary

The Hotel Zachary,, from inside the brand new Cubs Store in the brand new Cubs office building just outside the ballpark.

It’s time for less crane, more pane, at the Hotel Zachary next to Wrigley Field in Lake View.

The tower crane came down about a month after Walsh Construction topped out Hickory Street Capital’s 7-story, 175-key hotel. At about the same time, window installation began on the third floor, and continues to wrap all the way around the building.

Throwback Thursday: London’s One Blackfriars

One Blackfriars London

One Blackfriars rises along the River Thames in London. This photo was taken from the Monument to the Great Fire of London, a great way to see the city.

One month ago we were in London, marveling at architecture old and new. And there’s a whole lot of new on the way. One of those projects is One Blackfriars. Like much of what’s being built right now around London, it is very distinctively shaped, and gorgeous.

One Blackfriars is a development from Berkeley Group. The 50-storey (no stories here; this is London, after all) glass tower will have 274 apartments and 161 hotel rooms along the south bank of the River Thames. The design is by the architecture firm of SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The general contractor (seriously, as I wandered London and saw this name on lots of new construction, I thought each one would include a large movie-theatre complex. Silly tourist.) is Multiplex. Multiplex is not a place to watch films and eat popcorn; Multiplex is a massive global construction company.


West Loop site now a clean slate, awaiting the Hoxton Chicago hotel (and it *just* got a permit!)

Hoxton Chicago hotel

From a green line train, a soil-sampling rig tastes the dirt at the future Hoxton Chicago site.

Hoxton Chicago

Hoxton Chicago render from Ennismore.

Heneghan Wrecking has finished making space at 832 West Lake Street in the West Loop, where Grant Park Packing and Vaia Auto once stood. The bare dirt lot stands ready for the impending arrival of the Hoxton Chicago, a 175-room boutique hotel from London-based developer of the Hoxton brand, Ennismore, with Shapack Partners. Designed by GREC Architects, the Hoxton Chicago needs only a building permit to get started. ** And there it is!**

Hoxton Chicago

The permit was issued Wednesday, June 21.

Hoxton Chicago hotel

The Stalworth Underground caisson rig is getting ready to roll. And drill.

Power Construction will be the general contractor. The arrival of a Stalworth Underground caisson rig gives a strong clue as to who will be performing foundation work. **Thursday morning, and that caisson rig is being set upright, ready for work. It’s show time for the Hoxton Chicago.

1101 South Wabash is starting to rise from the depths

Hilton Homewood Suites 1101 South Wabash

A bird’s-eye view of construction at the Hilton Homewood Suites, 1101 South Wabash in the South Loop.

After a lot of digging and shoring of its foundation, there’s vertical work happening at 1101 South Wabash in the South Loop. The 30-story hotel from S.B. Yen Management Group of Hinsdale was designed by Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture, and Lendlease is the general contractor.

A press release from Lendlease at groundbreaking states the hotel will be flagged as a Hilton Homewood Suites. There will be 281 rooms and suites, 71,000 square feet of parking, and an 8th-floor amenity level including a pool and fitness center, all ready for use late in 2018.

Construction Update: The Three Hiltons at McCormick Place

Triple-Brand Hilton

Hilton’s first Triple-Brand Hotel begins to rise at 123 East Cermak Road in the South Loop.

There are three Hilton hotels being built into one structure down at 123 East Cermak Road in the Prairie District “sub neighborhood” of the South Loop. That’s really all you need to know, but for the sake of word count, they are the Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick Center, the Hampton Inn by Hilton Chicago McCormick Center, and the Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago McCormick Center.

Developers First Hospitality Group and Hilton are banking on McCormick Place visitors appreciating having lodging options to choose from, hence the optimal location between the convention campus and the revitalized Motor Row.

A couple sunny days, including Tuesday’s unlocked doors at the McCormick Place rooftop garden, provided perfect conditions to catch up on McHugh Construction’s progress on Antunovich Associates’ design.




Catching up at Vista Tower

Vista Tower

Vista Tower continues to rise.

It’s been a month since we took a look at progress on Vista Tower, the magnificent supertall from Studio Gang and bKL Architecture. You may think workers would be discouraged that I haven’t been dropping by daily, but McHugh Construction crews seem to be getting a lot done despite my absence. Certainly not because of it.

Anyway, I’ll need to borrow some balconies soon, for as Vista climbs higher, our scenic views from Wacker Drive and Lakeshore East are going to be well below where the action is.