This time around, it’s a sunny South Loop

Last week, we posted several updates on construction progress in the South Loop. Sadly for us and our cameras, we picked a foggy, miserable day to be out and about. Well, Tuesday was no such day. And with bright sunshine beaming all morning and afternoon, we headed back down to the South Loop for brighter, happier photos of the goings-on.


The Paragon Chicago

Essex on the Park

One Grant Park


Hilton Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn

The Columbia College Student Center is underway

Columbia College Student Center

Pepper Construction began site prep last week at the new Columbia College Student Center in the South Loop.

A permit issued Friday sets the stage for work to begin on the Columbia College Student Center at Wabash Avenue and 8th Street in the South Loop. That would explain why a crew from Pepper Construction was on site last week, installing sidewalk protection and getting the lot prepped for activity.

Monday, Case Foundation posted on its Facebook page that they would begin drilling 57 rock caissons in March. With a little cooperative weather, Columbia plans to open the Gensler-designed student center late this year.

Despite the relatively wide footprint, at five stories, it’s not likely the new facility will require use of a tower crane, but we’ve reached out to Pepper to find out for sure. We should know soon.

Progress Update: The Hilton Hotel combo rises in the South Loop

1101 South Wabash

Lendlease continues upward on the Hilton Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn in the South Loop.

That’s not just a hotel Lendlease is building at 1101 South Wabash Avenue in the South Loop; it’s two hotels. The combination Hilton Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn got started last winter, and is at, or near, the half-way point of its 30-story goal. Two architecture firms,  Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture and Pappageorge Haymes Partners, were involved in the design, one for each hotel segment.

Essex on the Park enters the Roaring Twenties

Essex on the Park February 2018

Floor markings on the skip show Essex on the Park progress has reached beyond the 20th floor.

Stories, that is. The 20s of the eventual 56 stories to which Essex on the Park will rise.

Power Construction has the new apartment tower at 808 South Michigan Avenue up to the 26th-or-so floor. We know this because level numbers can be seen on the “skip” hoist at the front of the site. That’s an ideal way for us looky-lous to track height progress. It also means Power is dangerously close to the half-way point of Hartshorne Plunkard Associates’ 56-story design.


Bidding a foggy adieu to the Ancora tower crane at Riverline

Ancora at Riverline

The tower crane servicing Ancora at Riverline was at half-mast last week.

The skies over Chicago weren’t very cooperative last Thursday, as we made the pilgrimage down to Riverline to bid a fond farewell to the tower crane that has topped out Ancora, the 29-story apartment tower representing Phase One of CMK Companies’ and Lendlease’s South Loop community. We shouldn’t have to wait too long for another crane to show up on site; there’s already quite a bit of earth moving to prep the site for more development, which may or may not be a tower named “Current.”

One Grant Park continues its climb into the South Loop heights

One Grant Park February 2018

One Grant Park pushes upward into Thursday’s fog.

That headline isn’t meant to be a play on developer Crescent Heights’ name; it is only to say that One Grant Park is going to be really tall.

We’re still awaiting the arrival of the first pieces of curtain wall to the exterior of the Rafael Viñoly Architects creation at 1200 South Indiana, McHugh Construction keeps stacking floors on top of each other, on their way to 76 levels in total. We’ve captured photographic evidence, naturally.


1326 South Michigan gets some glass, and a name change. Say hello to The Paragon Chicago!

The Paragon Chicago, 1326 South Michigan Avenue

There’s a gorgeous new rendering of The Paragon Chicago at

1326 South Michigan is now The Paragon Chicago!

That news was delivered to us this evening by Murphy Development Group, which hinted about a name change for the SCB-designed tower way back in August, then kept us in suspense until now. This was the second big news we got Thursday about 1326 South Michigan, the first being the discovery of all that new glass on the front facade.

That glass, plus the height the core has risen to, proves Walsh Construction has been busy in the South Loop this winter. The 47-story Paragon Chicago, a co-development from Murphy and CIM Group, will deliver 500 luxury apartments to the neighborhood. “Luxury” means you should expect all the high-end amenities today’s rental construction demands, including an outdoor deck with swimming pool, a dog park, fitness center, cabanas, grill stations, and a library. The 47th floor will also include a fitness center overlooking Lake Michigan, and an entertainment room.

You’re going to have to wait a little while before moving your stuff in though; The Paragon Chicago is slated for a Spring 2019 opening. Be patient though; it sure looks like it will be worth the wait.

Now, let’s get you some photos, from a very foggy Chicago morning, of what The Big Green W has been doing these last few months…