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.”
A quick L ride to the South Loop and back revealed a couple new developments (no pun intended) in Chicago’s tower crane landscape on Tuesday. The crane building No. 508 (508 West Diversey) in Lake View was being taken down, and the crane at Ancora at Riverline (720 South Wells) in the South Loop has also begun its final descent.
Sorry I have no photos of the dis-assemblage for now. My phone was ready at Diversey as our train stopped at the platform, but a perfectly-timed northbound Brown Line train blocked my view. As for Ancora, that one surprised me as we went around the bend off Wells Street onto Van Buren. The least I can do is remind you what those two tower cranes looked like when they were still in service.
If you thought No. 9 Walton at 9 West Walton Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood topped out months ago, and that it seemed strange how long that hammerhead tower crane remained aloft, you were on to something. While we can’t confirm anything, we’ve got our suspicions that the $58.5 million sale for the top four floors may have had something to do with the longevity of the crane. (Dennis Rodkin over at Crain’s Chicago had the scoop back in January.)
The stub was planted at No. 9 Walton in March of 2016, after getting its permit on the first of February. By my calculations, that’s about two years ago. That’s a long time for a tower crane to be on a job site, especially one that’s “only” 38 stories high.
No. 9 Walton is a project from JDL Develoment. You may recall hearing that JDL’s president and founder, James Letchinger, had set aside a unit in this tower for himself. That’s a pretty good indication he’s paid very close attention to every facet of its construction.
Expect No. 9 Walton to be open in 2018.
Chicago started 2018 with 30 tower cranes in the air. Now, that number of 2018 cranes has risen to 32.
Recent tweets from Twitter users @WestLoopTom and @TheBigGreenW introduced me to the two latest cranes, at Hayden West Loop and Wolf Point East, respectively. For Walsh Construction, WPE marks their second currently operating crane in Chicago, along with 1326 South Michigan. Also celebrating their second crane is Macon Construction over at Hayden.
You can see the tweeted photos of the pretty yellow Liebherr cranes below:
Chicago had 62 tower cranes in the air during 2017. 2018 starts out with 30 of them. Sure, there are a bunch of jobs in the pipeline that will require a crane, but erecting 32 more of them to tie our record seems unlikely. But we can hope, right? Records are made to be broken, after all.
Let’s take a look at our initial 30 for 2018:
New since December 2017 count:
- Belmont Village (700 West Fullerton)
Gone since December 2017:
- Moxy Hotel
- Old Town Park
- Illume Chicago
- Hayden West Loop (1109 West Washington – permit issued 09/07; stub planted)
- Wolf Point East (343 West Wolf Point Plaza – permit issued 11/20)
Who has tower cranes?
- Lendlease – 8
- Power Construction – 6
- McHugh Construction – 5
- W.E. O’Neil – 3
- 8 companies have one tower crane apiece: Walsh (1326 South Michigan); Centaur (Nobu Hotel); Leopardo (210 North Carpenter); Tishman (aLoft Chicago Mag Mile); Linn-Mathes – Wicker Park Connection); Macon Construction (No. 508); DLG Development (3833 North Broadway); M.A. Mortenson (Home2 Suites River North)
Where are they?
- West Loop – 6
- South Loop – 6
- Streeterville – 5
- Lake View – 3
- Lincoln Park – 3
- Lakeshore East – 2
- River North – 2
- Three neighborhoods have one tower crane each: Gold Coast (No. 9 Walton); Wicker Park (Wicker Park Connection; Uptown (Eight Eleven Uptown)
What are they building?
- Residential – 22
- Hotel – 6
- Medical – 1 (Simpson Querrey)
- Office – 1 (210 North Carpenter)
Chicago closes 2017 having had a record 62 tower cranes operating across the skyline throughout the year. Before 2018 takes over, let’s recap them all.
Who had tower cranes in 2017?
- Power Construction – 13
- Lendlease – 13
- McHugh Construction – 11
- Linn-Mathes – 4
- Walsh Construction – 3
- W.E. O’Neil – 3
- Clark Construction – 2
- 13 companies had one tower crane in 2017: Pepper Construction (Moxy Hotel); Macon Construction (No. 508); Centaur Construction (Nobu Hotel); Onni Group (Old Town Park); Optima (Optima Signature); M.A. Mortenson Company (Home2 Suites River North); Norcon (Illume Chicago); Bulley-Andrews (DePaul School of Music); Clayco (Cook County Central Campus Health Center); Novak Construction (171 Aberdeen); Leopardo Companies (210 North Carpenter); Tishman (aLoft Chicago Mag Mile); DLG (3833 North Broadway)
Where were they?
- West Loop – 13
- South Loop – 11
- River North – 9
- Streeterville – 8
- Lincoln Park – 5
- Lake View – 4
- Near North – 2
- Gold Coast – 2
- Lakeshore East – 2
- Six neighborhoods had one crane each in 2017 – The Loop (151 North Franklin); Illinois Medical District (Cook County Central Campus Health Center); Uptown (Eight Eleven Uptown); Hyde Park (Solstice on the Park); River West (Spoke); Wicker Park (Wicker Park Connection)
What were they building?
- Residential – *40.5
- Hotel – 10
- Office – *5.5
- Medical – 3
- There was one Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Meetinghouse) one School (DePaul School of Music) and one Commercial building (The Apple Store)
* One crane built Hubbard 221 (residential) and 412 North Wells (office) hence the half-crane in those two categories. The two tower cranes at Vista Tower are building residences and a hotel, so one crane goes to each of those two categories.
And now, photographs of all our 2017 Chicago Tower Cranes:
We told you last week that Illume Chicago had topped out over in the West Loop. And topping out always means certain doom for tower cranes. Sure enough, over this past weekend the crane came down from the construction site at 111 South Peoria. We all got an up-close look from Instagram user @skyboom150 that you see above.
Then first thing Monday morning, Twitter user @WestLoopTom tweeted the photo below, showing the tower crane has been completely removed. Here’s hoping it finds another gig soon.