Off to England. Who will count the tower cranes?

I’m putting you on tower-crane watch, Chicago.

Even though we leave for London Wednesday, it’s very likely construction will continue here without me, and that means you’ll need to be my eye on the skyline. You can print out this little cheat sheet of things to look for if you’d like.

508 West Diversey tower crane stub

Chicago’s newest tower crane is coming to 508 West Diversey.

There are permits issued for the following tower cranes, which could spring up any day:

  1. One South Halsted (stub)
  2. 508 West Diversey (stub)
  3. Aloft Chicago Mag Mile (243 East Ontario)
  4. Essex On The Park (808 South Michican, still undergoing caisson work)
  5. Nobu Hotel (854 West Randolph, also in caisson mode)

The following is my Endangered Tower Crane list. Some have topped out, while others “might” be near the end of their use. This is neither an official not scientific list:

  1. 3Eleven (311 West Illinois. Definitely topped out)
  2. 171 Aberdeen (I think topped out. Novak? A little help?)
  3. Apple Store (It’s only two stories, so who knows what “topped out” means on this one. But I have to believe they don’t need the tower crane much longer)
  4. 8 East Huron and No. 9 Walton (These are both extremely tentative. I haven’t counted stories yet, but I think they’re close to the top)

Which tower crane will be completed first, One South Halsted or 508 West Diversey? Who’ll take tower cranes down first, Power Construction (Apple Store, 3Eleven) or Novak Construction (171 Aberdeen)? I won’t know; I’ll be in England. (Maybe Paris too!)

Pay attention, Chicago, and share photos with each other. Or send them to the blog ( and I’ll be sure to post them. Then, we’ll see you back Stateside at the end of next week.

I hear there are tower cranes in London, so don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine.

Demolition tears up 1133 West Randolph Street in the West Loop

1133 West Randolph

This is what 1133 West Randolph used to look like. Now, it’s being mashed like a Hot Potato.

You may have heard this already, somewhere, and likely from a reliable source, but property in the West Loop/Fulton Market District is a hot commodity. Chances are, by the time you get your table at Au Cheval, another deal has been made and another building is being decimated to make room for new development.

1132 West Randolph

1132 West Randolph, demolished Winter 2016.

And no properties have been hotter than those that used to be Hot Potato Distributors. Once a presence on both sides of West Randolph Street, the south side buildings at 1133 and 1139 are in the process of being demolished as we speak. 1132-36 was demoed in 2016, and is now an ugly vacant lot.

According to the demolition permits (and the sign on the fence) 1133 is being developed by the DiCosola Group of South Canalport. Demolition is being done by a “Viewpoint Services.”

1136 South Wabash keeps climbing into the South Loop sky

1136 South Wabash

One of Lendlease’s 8 Chicago tower cranes works above 1136 South Wabash in the South Loop.

Ever wonder which general contractors have the most tower cranes in the air around Chicago? Well, for right now, the leader in the clubhouse is Lendlease with 8. Power Construction and McHugh Construction are hot on their heels with 7 apiece.

One of Lendlease’s cranes is busy stacking floors atop floors at 1136 South Wabash. 1136 was previously best known for obscuring Hebru Brantley’s Flyboy mural on the wall of next-door neighbor 1132 South Wabash Avenue. But art lives on, and it’s time to recognize the new Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed project for bringing 320 new apartments to the South Loop. Developed by CA Ventures, there will also be 143 parking spaces in the 26-story tower. Never mind that you’ll be able to fall out of bed and land in Stan’s Donuts, or Five Guys, or Belly Up Smokehouse, or Eleven City Diner, but 1136 South Wabash is also about 7 long strides from the Roosevelt CTA station. That’s delicious convenience right there.

The Crane Doctor to make a house call at Illume Chicago

Illume Chicago

Putting the Ill in Illume…The tower crane at Illume Chicago needs some repairs.

Expect a street closure Thursday in the 100-block of South Peoria Street, as a street crane sets up to make repairs on the tower crane holding court above Illume Chicago. Weather permitting, repairs shouldn’t last more than a day, and Peoria Street will be back in business Friday.

There are no tower cranes in The Loop. Will 145 South Wells end the drought?

Rendering of 145 South Wells from Thomas Roszak Architecture. Yep, that’ll need a tower crane.

For all the development in Chicago, none of it includes a tower crane in The Loop. The two most recent cranes, at Linea (215 West Lake Street) and 151 North Franklin, have been gone since December and April, respectively. So who will swoop in to save us from this wretched cranelessness?

145 South Wells could be the right candidate. After receiving a demolition permit in mid-March to tear down the small parking garage on site, the lot looks clean and ready to be prepped for the latest project from developer Moceri + Roszak: a boutique office building that will re-team them with design architect Thomas Roszak Architecture. (They worked on Linea together.) Renderings show a tower somewhere in the 15-20-story range. That’s sure tower-crane territory. As for when construction gets underway (looks like Clark Construction will be the general contractor) that remains to be seen; permits have yet to be issued to start construction.



#33: Cook County Central Campus Health Center puts a tower crane in the air

Cook County Central Campus Health Center tower crane

Looked out the window this morning, and there it was. Cook County Central Campus Health Center has a tower crane.

Before I took the time to post photos from Saturday of the tower crane stub at Cook County Central Campus Health Center, Clayco went ahead a put the darn thing up! That’ll teach me to procrastinate. (No, it won’t. It should though.) Not sure exactly which days saw work on the crane, but there it was outside the B.U.C. HQ window this morning, shining in the sunlight.

CCCCHC is now the 33rd active tower crane in Chicago.

Construction Update: 1411 South Michigan

1411 South Michigan

An overhead view of 1411 South Michigan. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Healy.

Gravity seems to be no obstacle at 1411 South Michigan, as Lendlease workers (with assistance from Pepper Construction on the concrete work) continue erecting a 15-story residential tower for Russland Capital Group. BKV Group’s design will include 199 apartments for rent, plus more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space. Russland hopes to have 1411 South Michigan open before the calendar flips over into 2018.