Quick Look: Aloft Chicago Mag Mile plants a tower crane stub

Streeterville has a new tower-crane stub, thanks to the lovely new seedling sprouting up at the Aloft Chicago Mag Mile at 243 East Ontario Street. Just a little more sand left to dig out of the lot, and Tishman’s 18-story hotel can start going vertical.

River North’s Moxy Hotel gets Chicago’s most unique tower crane

Moxy Hotel tower crane

Off in the distance stands one of Chicago’s newest tower cranes, at the Moxy Hotel site.

Moxy Hotel tower crane

Tower crane parts are delivered the first week of May.

We knew there’d be a crane at the Moxy Hotel site in River North, but when the parts showed up, I asked someone on site and was told it really wasn’t a “tower crane.” But a piece of paper can make all the difference in the world, and as you can see, the City of Chicago’s building permit says it’s a tower crane:


Yeah, Liebherr is the correct spelling, but that’s not important. What matters is that this contraption with the weight stack that looks like the bench-press machine from high school goes in my official book as another tower crane for Chicago.

There were similar cranes to this one spotted during a visit to Phoenix this winter, but they were operated from the ground. Since the Moxy Hotel crane requires an operator to make the climb up to a cab, that gives it even more legitimacy. Count it.


Walsh Construction celebrates topping out at Hotel Zachary

A tweet from The Big Green W yesterday confirmed that the Hotel Zachary has reached a construction milestone.

Then the Hotel Zachary Twitter account joined the fun as well, tweeting a photo of Hickory Street Capital’s Tom Ricketts (you might know him for his other gig as the guy who brought a World Series trophy to Wrigley Field) signing the final beam.

#FlyTheBigGreenW indeed. There’s still a lot of work to do to get the Hotel Zachary into full-functioning hospitality mode, so let’s not put the tower crane on the endangered list quite yet. The 175 rooms and countless eateries will open in 2018 in time for another season of Cubs baseball, plus all the concerts and entertainment Wrigley Field and the newly-opened Park At Wrigley can host.

Hotel Zachary topping out

Tuesday-morning view of the Hotel Zachary from a swift-moving L train. (I blame all my blurry photos on swift-moving L trains.)

More from Vista Tower, just because

Wanda Vista Tower May

The two cores of Wanda Vista Tower, Chicago’s best free entertainment.

I could do three posts a week on the changing landscape that is Vista Tower construction. The site looks that different from day to day. The number of small individual projects going into making this one huge project a living, breathing being are fascinating to watch, even when I have no idea what most of it is. Combine that with the viewing platforms of Upper Wacker Drive to the north and the walkways along the south, and Vista Theater provides hours of entertainment for passing construction nerds.

But pulling up a lawn chair and camping out is not only discouraged by nearby residents and construction firms alike, but somewhat impractical in spring’s temperamental weather conditions. I can still offer to go by a few times each month though, and when I do, I’ll share bunches and bunches of photos with you, and then it’s like we’re all camped out there. And remember, when this thing climbs above Upper Wacker level, there won’t be nearly as much to see. You won’t get tired of photos before that happens.

Sound like a plan?

Aloft Chicago Mag Mile keeps digging while we wait for a tower crane

Aloft Chicago Mag Mile

Stalworth Underground drives piles into the Streeterville sand, as foundation work for the Aloft Chicago Mag Mile continues.

The tower crane was permitted for the Aloft Chicago Mag Mile on March 31, but we’ll have to continue to be patient. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot going on where the newest Streeterville hotel will be planted. You see, there are still piles to drive and sand to dig. LOTS of sand.

I still can’t get my head around the idea that much of Chicago as I know it was beach. But start digging, and you’ll find it. They’ve certainly found it at 243 East Ontario. I bet sand is easier to drive piles through than rock, though. But you’ll have to check with Stalworth Underground about that.

As you may recall, Tishman is building the 18-story, 336-room Aloft Chicago Mag Mile here, designed by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates.

Caisson work is underway at Nobu Hotel. For real this time

Nobu Hotel caissons

You can’t tell me that ain’t a big ole caisson rig, and it’s hard at work at the Nobu Hotel.

This time I’m certain. A caisson rig used for drilling caissons is drilling caissons at the Nobu Hotel site in the West Loop. It’s not a “quad sheet press,” like the one I misidentified back in March. Nope, this is for real. The is a big red Revcon rig, digging holes. Plus, there are all those augers and, you know, caisson equipment.

The Nobu Hotel is coming to the Fulton Market neighborhood courtesy of Nobu Hospitality. The 11-story, 119-room hotel features designs by Modif Architecture and Studio K. Centaur Construction of West Lake Street is the general contractor. (The Big Green W will be here doing masonry work.)


Reilly gives Dana Hotel the business, while blocking business expansion

Dana Hotel

Rendering of the proposed Erie Street Hotel from 42nd Ward office.

Dana Hotel

What Alderman Reilly’s email did to the proposed Erie Street Hotel. Basically.

It’s not often a building gets torn down before it’s even approved.

It case you missed the news (Crain’s nails it here) 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly crushed the Dana Hotel’s dream of expanding its current operation Friday afternoon in an email that left no doubt as to where the alderman stands on the proposal.

In laying the smackdown on the “Erie Street Hotel” and the buildings along Erie Street it would have demolished in the process, Reilly instead demolished the hotel itself, stating that feedback from surrounding neighbors paints the Dana as a bad neighbor, creating traffic problems, noise problems, idling-truck-pollution problems, you name it.

But there’s a sliver of hope.

(1) Spend the next 12 months working to improve operations: (a) acknowledge (rather than deny) & address chronic quality-of-life complaints about the Dana Hotel; (b) improve neighbor relations with permanent removal of nightclub/dance operations; and (c) better manage curbside loading/double parking/traffic flow issues stemming from Valet, Taxicab, UBER, Party Buses and Trolley conflicts.
(2) Forgo a Planned Development and determine what can be developed under existing development entitlements and zoning limitations that apply to a DX-5.
Yep. If the Dana Hotel figures out a way to be good neighbors, and can work out a plan to development without changes to current zoning, the alderman just might reconsider the expansion come 2018.
You can view the email in its entirety here