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.

Onni Group plants a tower crane at 354 North Union

Tuesday, right here in this very space, I pointed out the verticality Onni Group was achieving at 354 North Union despite not having the tower crane in place yet. Perhaps I could have waited two more days . . .

This will be the 11th tower crane in Chicago if it’s fully erected before any of the topped-out projects (Parq Fulton, Evo Union Park, One Chicago, UI Health) take theirs down.

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As 354 North Union begins going vertical, the full-build permit is issued

Whatever that is, it looks pretty darn solid.

That warm ink you smell is coming from the fresh full-build permit issued yesterday for 354 North Union. With it in hand, Onni Group now has the official in-writing permission to go skyward on their 32-story, 373-unit apartment tower in the Fulton River District. (Don’t try to find the Fulton River on a map.)

Designed by Pappageorge Haymes Partners, 354 North Union will also deliver 143 parking spaces between the basement and second floor.

There’s no tower crane yet, not even a stub, on site. But that hasn’t stopped Onni from getting things done. There’s a cool-looking concrete structure rising toward the northwest corner of the lot, which I suspect might be a connection to Halsted Street. Keep in mind, though, I just take pictures. I could be way off base on that.

This is a great construction site for spectating.

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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Caissons — BIG caissons — continue at 354 North Union

Stalworth Underground and Onni Group are still on caisson duty at 354 North Union. They even brought in more equipment this week, so while most of the caissons have been drilled and filled, there’s still work left to be done.

Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides, 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 goes full bore at 354 North Union

There are few things construction nerds look forward to more than caisson work. It marks the unofficial “official start” of skyscraper construction, people are digging in the dirt, heavy machinery dances around each other, and loud noises bounce off neighboring buildings. You might not think it’d be fun to watch, but it’s mesmerizing. Which is why some of us stand there and take dozens of photos.

Last week marked the beginning of caisson work at 354 North Union. Big shout-outs to Stalworth Underground and Onni Group for providing the entertainment. Here are dozens of photos:


CTA and Metra rides, Zipcars, Divvy bikes, camera lenses, and solid walking shoes add up. You can help offset expenses with a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

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The stage is set for Caisson Theater at 354 North Union

Caisson setup at Onni Group’s 354 North Union

The actors know their lines, the set is decorated, and the curtain is about to go up at 354 North Union. The Stalworth Underground Drill Team has been standing by patiently waiting for their moment to shine. That moment is now. Let the caissons begin!

354 North Union is a go

Site prep, 4/12/2021

Site preparation is underway for/at 354 North Union, a 32-story, 373-unit apartment tower in the Fulton River District of West Town.

354 North Union got its first permit way back on March 16 of 2020, giving developer and general contractor Onni Group the all-clear to start building the foundation up to the “underside of level 3.” The Pappageorge Haymes Partners-designed tower will also include 143 parking spaces, if that building permit is to be believed.

Check out the two Stalworth Underground big blue rigs sitting off in the corner, champing at the bit waiting to drill caissons deep into the earth. Bit. Drill. Heh.

This was 352 North Union at the community meeting six or so years ago. I think it went up a couple ticks because it’s taken so long to get it started. But we’re here, that’s what counts. A forthcoming new name wouldn’t surprise me though.