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:

Chicago has 8 tower cranes on the horizon, but only 5 on the skyline

I don’t usually do a tower crane count mid-month, but dang, only five of them?

Yeah, our tower crane count has dipped to five, with 2050 West Ogden and 300 North Michigan recently (or currently) being taken down.

But take heart, Chicago. We have more on the way soon, with eight having permits and expected to be in the air relatively soon:

  • The Obama Center has a permit for three of them
  • 164 North Peoria has wrapped up caisson work.
  • 1306 E. 61st (U of C) has a permit
  • ALLY Lincoln Yards has a permit
  • 513 South Damen has a permit
  • 4611 North Broadway has a permit

410 South Wabash has completed caissons, but we’re still waiting for a tower crane permit for it.

Don’t forget, 1000M (1000 South Michigan) had a stub in the ground, but the crane was never erected. And 178 West Randolph and 320 South Clinton have permits, but . . . who knows.

Let’s keep an eye on LG Development’s HUGO project at Hudson and Chicago. Maybe one tower crane to build both nine-story buildings?

166 North Aberdeen is in caisson mode. That’s a 20-story tower, and will need a TC for sure.

Here are the five tower cranes we *do* have:


I’m almost sorry I counted, as Chicago dips to just seven tower cranes in the air

Fine, that seems a little dramatic. But seven tower cranes ain’t a lot of tower cranes. (And one of them isn’t even in operation yet.) The Chicago Seven are:

  1. Salesforce Tower (333 West Wolf Point Plaza.) Walsh Construction is the general contractor. Hines is the developer. Pelli Clarke Pelli is the design architect.
Salesforce Tower

2. 300 North Michigan. Linn-Mathes is the general contractor. Sterling Bay and Magellan Development are the co-developers. bKL Architecture is the design architect.

300 North Michigan

3. Plumbers Local 130 Parking Garage (1371 West Randolph.) W.E. O’Neil is the general contractor. Plumbers Local 130 is the developer. OKW Architects is the design architect.

1371 W Randolph

4. The Reed at Southbank (234 West Polk.) Lendlease is the general contractor and developer. Perkins + Will is the design architect.

The Reed at Southbank

5. 354 North Union. Onni Group is the general contractor and developer. Pappageorge Haymes Partners is the design architect.

354 North Union

6. Gateway Apartments (2050 West Ogden.) Global Builders is the general contractor. Piekarz Associates is the design architect.

Gateway Apartments

7. 345 North Morgan is being assembled as you read this, so I’m counting it. Skender is the general contractor. Sterling Bay is the developer. Eckenhoff Saunders Architects is the design architect.

345 North Morgan

Yes, there are a few on the way. These have tower crane permits:

410 South Wabash is done with foundation work.
1000M will hopefully be back in business soon.
164 North Peoria is still in caisson mode.
ALLY at Lincoln Yards hasn’t broken ground quite yet, but site work has started, at it got a foundation permit last week.
1306 East 61st Street – The University of Chicago doesn’t have any other permits yet.
178 West Randolph and 320 South Clinton? I’m not holding my breath.

No permit, but . . .

UIC had a tower crane at the UI Health Outpatient Surgery Center & Specialty Clinics crane is being dismantled this week. UIC may need a crane at 700 West Taylor for its Computer Design Research and Learning Center. But there won’t be a city permit for it, should there be one, because this is being built under the State of Illinois’ authority.
513 South Damen just got a foundation permit for 21 stories.

Did I miss any? Let me know.

W.E. O’Neil raises the tower crane at 1371 West Randolph

Chicago made it back to double digits Thursday, as W.E. O’Neil finished erecting the city’s 10th active tower crane at 1371 West Randolph Street in the West Loop. That crane will build the seven-story parking garage for the Plumbers Local 130, on what used to be a portion of their surface parking lot.

I would once again like to point out that those guys up there, especially out on the jib, are in no danger of losing their jobs to me.

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W.E. O’Neil plants a tower crane stub at 1371 West Randolph

This week-old stub at 1371 West Randolph will build a parking garage.

As one Randolph Street tower crane goes, so comes another.

The Plumbers Union 130 parking garage has a tower crane stub in the ground as of last Monday, according to the kind folks on site from W.E. O’Neil. The rest of the crane should be up by the end of this week, allowing Chicago to crawl back into double digits.

Not sure why double digits is such a big deal to me, other than indicating some sort of threshold for where we “should” or “shouldn’t” be, tower-cranewise. It means nothing substantial, really. However, I scored in double digits exactly once in my high school basketball career, and that IS important.

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

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Caisson work has begun at the Plumbers Union 130 parking garage

W.E. O’Neil Construction and Michels Corporation are sending caissons into the West Loop soil for the seven-story parking garage at the Plumbers Local 130 facility. The permit to begin was issued May 14.

Now I know some of you aren’t huge parking garage fans, but this one is requiring a tower crane, so there’s a nice trade-off here. (I’m told not to expect said tower crane until July.)

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The Plumbers Union parking garage is underway in the West Loop

It didn’t take long after the permit was issued to get work started on the Plumbers Local 130 parking garage at 1371 West Randolph in the West Loop. Crews have begun tearing up the surface parking lot, and a protective tunnel now covers the Randolph sidewalk.

With the building permit coming through Friday, which followed the tower crane permit received May 6, we should start seeing caisson work (and a tower crane stub!) very soon.

Once again, W.E. O’Neil is handling the heavy lifting. OKW Architects is the design firm.

Metra and CTA rides, Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, 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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