732 West Randolph plants yet another tower crane along Randolph Street

The base section of a tower crane was set in pace Thursday at 732 West Randolph.

What an embarrassment of tower-crane riches we’ve along Randolph Street in the West Loop. Even though recent rigs at 609, 1371, 1400 and 1454 are gone, we have cranes operating at the corners of Randolph and Peoria (900 Randolph), Randolph and Aberdeen (166 North Aberdeen), and Randolph and Elizabeth (160 North Elizabeth.)

And now, 732 West Randolph has entered the chat. Thursday, general contractor Maris Construction and concrete contractor Pepper Construction planted the base for a tower crane that will build an eight-story (plus basement) office building. Designed by Hirsch MPG, 732 will connect on its first six floors with 730 West Randolph next door, and will include a rooftop deck and basement fitness center.

732 West Randolph got its first construction permit way back on March 03, 2020, as a renovation/alteration permit to add the eight-story building to the aforementioned six-story building at 730 West. A revised New Construction permit was issued September 23 of 2022. Both of those permits were reinstated in August of last year, and the tower crane was permitted February 1 of this year.

As you can see, work is in progress. All that rebar around the base of the crane will be smothered in concrete for the crane foundation on Monday.

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1044 West Van Buren joins Chicago’s latest tower crane parade

The stub is in at 1044 West Van Buren

The 18-story, 196-unit apartment tower by developer and general contractor Tandem took a big step forward this week, planting a tower crane stub in the ground at 1044 West Van Buren in the West Loop. The crane will be erected early next week, I’m told, in what looks to be nice weather.

My first visit here was April 7; I went back May 1 and saw some digging had been done. The kind of digging you expect *after* caisson work is done; the kind of digging that makes you think “hole up; did I miss caissons?” Yep. Somehow, I completely missed caisson work, which must have been done with lightning speed. Oh well. You snooze, you miss out. Or something.

Here are more stub pics, and a few shots of foundation work from the May 1 visit:

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This is an even Bigger Deahl: 1475 North Kingsbury has a tower crane stub

A tower crane stub juts from the ground at 1475 North Kingsbury

1475 North Kingsbury (Blackhawk?) is doing its part to get Chicago another new tower crane. Thursday morning, we found a brand-spankin’-new stub sticking out of the ground. It sure looked by the efforts at the base of the base that the stub had had just been set, but I was too timid to interrupt a very busy crew to get confirmation on its arrival date. The important thing is, it’s there, and the rest of the crane should soon follow.

As we noted in this very space back in April:

1475 North Kingsbury received a caisson permit and a tower crane permit Wednesday, April 6. Designed by FitzGerald, it will be a 27-story tower with 327 rental apartments. Along with Structured Development, two other developers join the team for this one: White Oak Realty Partners, and Ponsky Capital Partners. Ponsky’s website uses the name “Blackhawk” for this one; we’ll see if that moniker sticks. (Reminder: The Seng and Common Lincoln Park are both addressed on Blackhawk Street.)

Next up, photo. The first gallery is from Thursday’s crane discovery. Then you’ll see a batch taken May 1 of the last remnants of caisson work.

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3501 North Halsted (almost) has a tower crane

They say don’t count your chickens if the eggs are all in one basket. Or something to that effect. Whatever. Point is, maybe I shouldn’t call what 3501 North Halsted has a “tower crane” just yet. But we love cranes. We need cranes. So we’re counting this one as being up in the air, even if it’s (obviously) not functional yet. My trusty iPhone6 took some photos Tuesday afternoon so you wouldn’t have to.

The ALLY tower crane has come down

Chicago’s favorite unofficial tower crane survey has dropped from 16 to 15, as the rig atop ALLY at 1229 W Concord has come down in the Lincoln Yards megadevelopment. The video above was taken from in inbound Metra train Tuesday. If you watch it in reverse, it looks like it was taken from an outbound train. Cool, right?

There’s good crane news on the horizon though, as 1044 West Van Buren, 160 North Morgan, Embry, 3501 North Halsted, and maybe 1475 North Kingsbury(?) all have crane permits, and have all begun construction.

The first of three tower cranes is up The Obama Presidential Center

Tower Crane #1 at The Obama Presidential Center, taken from Wooded Island in Jackson Park.

I’d be lying if I said I understood who all is involved, and how they’re involved, in the construction of The Obama Presidential Center. What I do know is where you can go to learn some of that very information. First, visit Lakeside Alliance. To me, that’s sorta like your general contractor information. Next, visit Concrete Collective. That’s got your concrete contractor info.

The Concrete Collective was responsible for erecting the first of three tower cranes on the site last week. And you might be wondering just how many photos of a tower crane you need to see.

I say, about this many:

The probably-comprehensive-but-please-don’t-hold-me-to-it Chicago Tower Crane Survey for April 2022 shows 16 in the air

Here are four of Chicago’s tower cranes

Two sunny days in a row, coupled with a day-and-a-half of free time, let me get to the far reaches of Chicago construction to chase down the last of the unphotographed tower cranes. That includes one, at 1306 E 61st St, that I wasn’t at all sure was happening, had already happened, or had been scrapped. Well, it’s real. And up until a few days ago, it was Chicago’s southernmost and easternmost tower crane. But no more. The rig at The Obama Presidential Center takes that prize. Fortunately for 1306, I don’t give trophies out for these titles, so it didn’t lose out on much.

Our northernmost and westernmost cranes are also a single construction site: at 4445 W Irving Park, where Northwestern Medicine is building a healthcare facility.

Residential projects dominate our cranes, with 11 of them going towards building new housing. There’s one for education (that’s how I’m categorizing the Obama Center until I come up with a better category); one for parking (1306 E 61st is a parking garage for the University of Chicago); one for Life Sciences (ALLY): and one for healthcare (4445 Irving Park)

If I missed your tower crane, hit me up. If you’ve got a tower crane out in the ‘burbs, let me know that too. It’s about time for a jaunt out of the city.

Starting south and working our way north, here are Chicago’s 16 active tower cranes:

The Obama Presidential Center (6001 S Stony Island)
1306 E 61st St
1400 South Wabash
1000M (1000 S Michigan)
The Reed (234 W Polk)
513 South Damen
160 North Elizabeth
900 Randolph (164 N Peoria)
166 North Aberdeen
Salesforce Tower (333 W Wolf Point)
354 North Union
HUGO (751 N Hudson)
The 808 Cleveland (808 N Cleveland)
The Seng & Common Lincoln Park (853 W Blackhawk)
ALLY at 1229 W Concord
Northwestern Medicine (4445 W Irving Park)

Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides (and Amtrak trains to Milwaukee), Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, domain fees, snacks & energy drinks, and comfortable walking shoes add up. You can help offset expenses by making a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

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🏗🏗🏗 We have three new tower cranes coming, Chicago 🏗🏗🏗

The City of Chicago has issued three new tower crane permits in the span of six days, the kind of growth spurt that warms hearts here at the B.U.C.

Rendering of 1044 West Van Buren by Antunovich Associates.

Last week, Tandem got a crane permit for 1044 West Van Buren. They’re building an 18-stort, 196-unit apartment tower designed by Antunovich Associates. Tandem will be their own general contractor, just as they were at Avra West Loop across the street.

Rendering of 3501 North Halsted by Eckenhoff Saunders.

Monday, Howard Brown Health got a crane permit for 3501 North Halsted. They’re building a five-story clinic with offices and a pharmacy designed by Eckenhoff Saunders. McHugh Construction is the general contractor.

Rendering of 160 North Morgan by bKL Architecture.

And Wednesday, Sterling Bay got a crane permit for 160 North Morgan. They’re building a 30-story, 282-unit apartment tower where that purple monster was for a few weeks back in 2020. bKL Architecture designed the tower, and Walsh Construction is the general contractor.

So, you know, LET’S GO!

1400 South Wabash rises beneath Chicago’s newest tower crane

Chad Czerwinski from Pepper Construction sent over this photo, looking down at the first signs of three-dimensionalness (it’s a word now) at 1400 South Wabash.

Chicago’s newest tower crane is at 1400 South Wabash, and it’s just beginning to send this new South Loop tower vertical.

A 30-story tower from CMK Companies, 1400 South Wabash will deliver 299 rental apartments to the neighborhood. If “CMK” and “South Wabash” sound like a familiar combination, then you’ve heard of Coeval, they’re recently-opened development on the east side of Wabash.

Lendlease is the general contractor on 1400 South Wabash, with the assist on concrete by the aforementioned Pepper Construction. Pappageorge Haymes Partners is the design architect.

There are two permits issued here: the foundation permit came through 11/30/2021, and the ever-important tower crane permit was issued 1/20/2022. The crane was erected a couple weeks ago, which Chad also documented on his Linkedin page.

A Chicago Tower Crane Survey from 110 North Wacker

110 North Wacker (Bank of America Tower to some of you) is open to the public this weekend for Open House Chicago 2021. The 55th floor is a continuous, wide-open space, and a great vantage point to see Chicago. If you’re like me, and think the Sears Tower is just a tad too high for your modest camera-lens collection, this is the ticket.

I got a good view of our five remaining tower cranes from up here.

And an honorable mention for 300 North Michigan, which is being taken down.

The space: