One Chicago Square: Just the tower cranes

Tower cranes should be cherished. Two tower cranes should be cherished and celebrated. Three tower cranes should be cherished, celebrated, and should get their own post.

One Chicago Square has three tower cranes. This is their own post.

369 West Grand progressing in River North

369 West Grand is a 41-story, 365-unit apartment building going up on the site of the former Clark & Barlow Hardware store and Grand Avenue and Orleans Street in River North. It is being developed by Onni Group, the Canadian developer also currently working on the Old Town Park project. Onni also built The Hudson, a residential tower about six blocks north of 369 West Grand. Designed by Brininstool + Lynch, the tower’s podium will provide parking for 250 cars, and include ground-floor retail space.

The Bentham is making progress in River North. But is it too much progress?

The Bentham, 146 West Erie Street in River North

The Bentham, a condo tower at 146 West Erie Street in River North, took awhile to get started. After demolition of the Erie-LaSalle Body Shop had been completed early in 2017, the site remained vacant for much longer than expected. A permit to begin construction was issued in July of 2018, and yet, no construction commenced. It looked like The Bentham was dead.

Alas, a tower crane permit in August of last year meant The Bentham must have a little life left in her yet. And sure enough, work had finally begun on the 15-story, 31-unit condo tower. By December of 2019, the tower had reached about six stories in height.

Uh oh.

You see, on July 2 of 2018 the City of Chicago issued a foundation permit that states, and I quote:

DIR. DEV. SERVICES PERMIT FOR FOUNDATION THROUGH LEVEL 3 (PHASE1) WITH ENCLOSED PARKING FOR 53 SPACES (47 REQUIRED @ 1.5/D.U) AT 1ST -3RD FLOOR AND RETAIL SPACE OF 3,132 SQ.FT AT 1ST FLOOR LEVEL. FOR A FIFTEEN (15) STORY RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WITH 31 RESIDENTIAL UNITS (4TH – 14TH FLOOR). THE RESIDENTIAL PART WILL BE SUBMITTED UNDER SEPARATE PERMIT (PHASE 11).

So that’s a problem. The phrase about the residential part being submitted under a separate permit apparently hasn’t been issued yet. The orange STOP WORK ORDER slapped on The Bentham December 13, 2019 means nothing more is going to happen here until a permit is issued for the full build. Let’s hope this was nothing more than eagerness to get those condos ready, and all parties involved are already on the road to restarting work.

Something’s going down at LaSalle and Illinois — What’s going up?

A tower crane permit was issued November 22nd by the City of Chicago for 151 West Illinois Street in River North. Guess what? There’s no tower crane at 151 West Illinois Street in River North. Nor is there one in the 400 block of North LaSalle. But that might change very soon.

Workers from Pepper Construction have been at this intersection the past couple days, getting the lot ready for what could be a new office building. Is it this one Curbed Chicago posted about back in February of last year? The one The Real Deal posted about in March? The one the Chicago Architecture Blog posted about in April? Cuz darned if I can find anything on my own. I can tell you that crane permit names Midwest Property Group as the developer, and Lendlease as the general contractor. And it looks like Pepper is the concrete contractor, so that would help explain their people and vehicle on site this week.

Here’s a dropbox presentation from Alderman Reilly’s office, shared in March of last year. Sure looks like a go to me.

I say, let’s go with the four above-named sources, and assume there’s an office building about to get started at LaSalle & Illinois in River North. Consider this my expressed written consent to start site prep. (In other words, tear up that parking lot.)

I Like Big Builds and I Can Not Lie — One Chicago Square Has It All

A rendering of One Chicago Square from the JDL Development website. Dang.

One Chicago Square has it all right now. Construction has started going vertical above street level, but there’s also still a giant pit. There are yellow and orange wooden forms and beams, with blue fencing all around. Classic Chicago architecture, including Holy Name Cathedral and 30 West Chicago Avenue, provides spectacular photo backdrops. Giant round shoring tubes are still visible in the northwest corner. Excavating equipment is still on site. Oh yeah, and THERE ARE THREE TOWER CRANES!

I don’t use the designation “mixed-use” very often. Everything has retail space in it these days, so calling a residential tower “mixed-use” because there will be a drug store at street level isn’t really mixed-use to me. But One Chicago Square certainly qualifies, as it will include apartments and condos, office space, and retail space, all combined into its own city block.

Some project data: One 76-story tower, and one 49-story tower. More than 700 apartments, and 77 condos. 55,000 square feet of office space. Nearly 200,000 square feet of commercial space. And parking? Oh, lots of parking. Over 800 spaces.

And the team? All-Stars. JDL Development, with a hand from Wanxiang America, is the developer. Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and Goettsch Partners have shared design duties. And Power Construction is the general contractor.

Yeah, One Chicago Square will be fun to watch for a long time. And then, it looks like it’ll be a fun one to live in. Stay tuned.

And now, a ridiculous number o’photos to keep you occupied. Scroll at your leisure: