UIC provides hope for another Chicago tower crane

Does this humble parking lot hold the key to Chicago’s next tower crane?

That humble parking lot is at 900 West Taylor Street in University Village. The University of Illinois at Chicago broke ground here July 15 on its 135,000-square-foot Computer Design Research and Learning Center. That’s big news for the school, its students, and the faculty.

It may also come in handy for Chicago’s tower crane counters. Since this is UIC’s project, it’s under the authority of the State of Illinois, not the City of Chicago. So permits won’t show up on the City Building Permits site I check every Tuesday thru Saturday once the coffee has kicked in. But I’m not gonna let this one get by me, like the UI Health tower crane did. And like the Harrison Hall crane would have if it hadn’t been bright yellow and right up against the Eisenhower Expressway. I have questions out all over town asking if this project will require a tower crane. Answers soon, I hope.

LMN Architects and Booth Hansen handled the architecture on the UIC CDRLC. W.E. O’Neil would appear to be the general contractor, based on their LinkedIn post about the groundbreaking. It’s the only reason I know about this development. So a shout-out to them for the heads-up.

Lots of fantastic renderings from the groundbreaking announcement linked above:

W.E. O’Neil raises the tower crane at 1371 West Randolph

Chicago made it back to double digits Thursday, as W.E. O’Neil finished erecting the city’s 10th active tower crane at 1371 West Randolph Street in the West Loop. That crane will build the seven-story parking garage for the Plumbers Local 130, on what used to be a portion of their surface parking lot.

I would once again like to point out that those guys up there, especially out on the jib, are in no danger of losing their jobs to me.

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Onni Group plants a tower crane at 354 North Union

Tuesday, right here in this very space, I pointed out the verticality Onni Group was achieving at 354 North Union despite not having the tower crane in place yet. Perhaps I could have waited two more days . . .

This will be the 11th tower crane in Chicago if it’s fully erected before any of the topped-out projects (Parq Fulton, Evo Union Park, One Chicago, UI Health) take theirs down.

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Glass update at Salesforce Tower

This update on Salesforce Tower is simple: Walsh Construction continues their curtain wall installation at Hines’ 60-story office tower at Wolf Point on the Chicago River, all while the tower keeps shooting skyward. I see about 30 levels of steel, and 36 levels of core. (Not a scientific poll.)

And now, photos:

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A foundation update from The Reed at Southbank

A quick look around The Reed at Southbank Monday showed an awful lot of piles driven into the South Loop soil, with lots more stacked up waiting their turn. I only saw one caisson above ground, and that was there on my most recent trip June 21 (part of the “vertical access shaft” work, I think). I thought to myself, Self? Are they doing piles before caissons? Are the caissons done already? Are there only piles and no caissons? In the June photo, you’ll notice there were already piles of piles to be driven.

My conclusion? I don’t know. But I have some photos to show you.

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1043 Fulton brings the pane

Power Construction is installing windows at 1043 Fulton, and a lot of them, on the north and west façades. Still waiting on glass for the south façade, while that east-facing masonry wall probably won’t need them.

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As 354 North Union begins going vertical, the full-build permit is issued

Whatever that is, it looks pretty darn solid.

That warm ink you smell is coming from the fresh full-build permit issued yesterday for 354 North Union. With it in hand, Onni Group now has the official in-writing permission to go skyward on their 32-story, 373-unit apartment tower in the Fulton River District. (Don’t try to find the Fulton River on a map.)

Designed by Pappageorge Haymes Partners, 354 North Union will also deliver 143 parking spaces between the basement and second floor.

There’s no tower crane yet, not even a stub, on site. But that hasn’t stopped Onni from getting things done. There’s a cool-looking concrete structure rising toward the northwest corner of the lot, which I suspect might be a connection to Halsted Street. Keep in mind, though, I just take pictures. I could be way off base on that.

This is a great construction site for spectating.

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W.E. O’Neil plants a tower crane stub at 1371 West Randolph

This week-old stub at 1371 West Randolph will build a parking garage.

As one Randolph Street tower crane goes, so comes another.

The Plumbers Union 130 parking garage has a tower crane stub in the ground as of last Monday, according to the kind folks on site from W.E. O’Neil. The rest of the crane should be up by the end of this week, allowing Chicago to crawl back into double digits.

Not sure why double digits is such a big deal to me, other than indicating some sort of threshold for where we “should” or “shouldn’t” be, tower-cranewise. It means nothing substantial, really. However, I scored in double digits exactly once in my high school basketball career, and that IS important.

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Breaking: 410 South Wabash ain’t a parking lot no more

January 2020. Waiting . . .

Sorry to rub it in if yer one o’ them NIMBYs who’s upset that the parking lot you use once a month when you drive to The Loop is gone. But the rest of us are pretty happy about it.

More than a year and a half after a foundation permit was issued, the surface parking lot at 410 South Wabash has been torn to bits, to be replaced by a 25-story residential tower. And it’s pretty cool to see, too. You can get a good view under the sidewalk and even a little bit of the seamy underbelly of Van Buren Street.

Back in January 2020, this very blog wrote, and I quote:

College students don’t need parking lots. College students do need beds. That might be a little oversimplified, but that’s how I prefer to look at 410 South Wabash in the South Loop.

A foundation permit issued by the City of Chicago beck in December launched the beginning of 410 South Wabash. Developed by Lennar Multifamily, or LMC, this new residential building in the South Loop promises to deliver 344 dwelling units in a 25-story, 260-foot-tall tower.

The site sits at the foot of the T intersection of the CTA’s elevated train lines at Wabash Avenue and Van Buren Street, offering future residents unlimited opportunities to take cool Instagram shots of the L coming and going into and out of The Loop. Orange, Pink, Green, Brown, and Purple Line trains all pass through here, and when the Christmas Train passes by at night, lucky tower dwellers will be directly above the action.

4th Ward Alderman Sophia King held a community meeting in May, from which there comes a veritable cavalcade of information on 410 South Wabash. Floor plans show a mix of 1-bed, 2-bed, and 3-bed units, plus studios, convertibles, and micro-apartments. Though no indication is given that this tower is targeting the South Loop student population, those smaller units sure seem to be good options for the college kids.

410 South Wabash will also include 103 parking spaces, which goes against my thoughts on students needing to park, but definitely fits in with 3-bedroom homes. There will also be about 8,000 square feet of commercial space.

Antunovich Associates is the architect of record; Pepper Construction is the general contractor.

Some things have changed since then, which I started writing about in March 2020, but held off on publishing in the hopes of hearing news that construction was about to start. Something known as an Easy Process Permit was issued by the city March 5 of 2020, changing the general contractor to Power Construction, and naming Adjustable Concrete Construction as the concrete contractor. Then (you still with me? Or did I lose you at “sorry to rub it in”?) two reinstatement permits were issued by the city: the first in January of this year, and another the last week of June. And it looks like that second one is what broke through the ice jam and got this project flowing again.

Which brings us to July 2021, wherein I make it down to 410 South Wabash in The Loop and verify that work has indeed begun. End of story.

Orange line video of site work. Lost my balance and almost fell over on the bend.

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