Stuff That’s Done: 61 Banks Street is open on Lake Shore Drive

There aren’t many surface parking lots along the west side of Lake Shore Drive. And at the end of 2017, one of them was torn up to make room for a new apartment building.

61 Banks Street in a 58-unit rental development at 61 East Banks St., obvs. At eight stories, it’s short enough that it doesn’t block many views behind it, but since it sits right on the lakefront, its own views must be amazing.

Draper & Kramer, who we just dropped in on recently at 2111 South Wabash, is 61’s developer. Booth Hansen is the design architect; Leopardo Companies was on the build. The building opened to tenants in June 2019.

61 East Banks is rising along the lakefront

61 East Banks May 2018

As seen from North Avenue Beach, 61 East Banks is making quite an impression along the Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive.

Granted, it would be even better with another 40 stories or so. But I can’t stop imagining the views from 61 East Banks, the new apartment building that took over a surface parking lot on Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

At just eight stories, residents of the 60 new units won’t have elevated views of Lake Michigan, but since they’ll be right on the water, they won’t need height. Location is key here.

Draper & Kramer is the developer of 61 East Banks; Leopardo Companies is handling general contractor duties. Designed by Booth Hansen, 61 East Banks has already risen to its 8-story goal. That pretty yellow tower crane along the water will probably come down soon, but you can still marvel at it from the lakefront path for now.

A shiny new tower crane has 61 East Banks rising above grade

61 East Banks April 2018

61 East Banks has begun to rise at Lake Shore Drive and Banks Street.

61 East Banks is no longer a parking lot. Nor is it a ground-level construction site. Nope. Now that Leopardo Companies has a pretty yellow tower crane to rule over the land, 61 East Banks has now risen above street level in the Gold Coast neighborhood, on its way to eight stories and 60 new apartments.

61 East Banks putting its tower crane to good use

One of the new 2018-model tower cranes in Chicago is doing work out at 61 East Banks in the Gold Coast Neighborhood. Which is impressive, considering that the operator of that machine has to be seriously distracted by the views of Lake Michigan, what with the prime location along Lake Shore Drive and all. No matter though. Focus. That’s how structures go vertical.

Draper & Kramer is building this 8-story, 60-unit apartment building, designed by Booth Hansen. This is the second tower crane in Chicago for Leopardo Companies, which also has one in the West Loop at their future HQ, 210 North Carpenter.

61 East Banks puts up Chicago’s newest tower crane

61 East Banks tower crane

This shiny new tower crane recently debuted above 61 East Banks in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

There’s been a lot of activity out at 61 East Banks since we went by the site in December. Caisson work is a distant memory, and Chicago’s newest tower crane looms above the future 8-story, 60-unit apartment development. Pretty sure this is Chicago’s 33rd tower crane of 2018 (remember, we started the year with 30 already in the sky.)

61 East Banks is a project from Draper & Kramer, with designs from Booth Hansen. Leopardo Companies (sure, you know them. They’re building their new offices over at 210 North Carpenter) is the general contractor. You may notice McHugh Construction signage on the tower crane; that’s because McHugh is the concrete subcontractor, and therefore responsible for assembly of the crane.

Caisson equipment arrives as site prep is underway at 61 East Banks

61 East Banks Gold Coast

Back those caissons right on in here! It’s go time at 61 East Banks.

The 8-story, 60-unit apartment building at 61 East Banks is in site-prep mode, and caisson equipment is starting to pour into the lot. The Booth Hansen design is parking itself on the former surface parking lot at Banks Street and Lake Shore Drive, assuring spectacular Lake Michigan views for some lucky tenants.

According to Booth Hansen, expect two-story townhomes on the first two floors, with one, tow, and three-bedroom apartments on the levels above. A shared amenity terrace will adorn the green roof, and parking will be added below grade.

Draper & Kramer is the developer of 61 East Banks; Leopardo Companies is handling general contractor duties. Expect to see Stalworth Underground out there in the cold starting caisson work very early in 2018.

I gotta jet, Chicago. Keep an eye out while I’m gone?

Okay friends, we’re getting on an airplane soon, and staying on it for 142 hours, or something ridiculous like that. I’m going to miss a lot, but won’t be left in the dark, if you’ll be the Eyes of the Blog for the rest of October or so.

Here are a few things to watch for:

  • There’s a tower-crane stub planted at The Van Buren. **The tower crane is going up today, I’m told! (Weather permitting, of course.)   And Hayden West Loop looks like it could get one at any time. Those are within a couple blocks of each other. They could be assembling tower cranes any day now.
  • A few other projects have permits, but no stubs. 3833 North Broadway and the Home2 Suites hotel at 110 West Huron are in the throes of foundation work. The Bentham, at 146 West Erie, has a permit, but demolition has just wrapped up, so we’ll have to wait a while for any signs of a crane there.
  • Wolf Point East foundation work is still ongoing, and spectacular to watch. Plus that trestle bridge. It’s going to get a tower crane permit soon, but I can watch for that remotely. Likewise, GEMS World Academy Upper School is in the midst of caisson work but it should be receiving a tower crane permit too.
  • Foundation work should start up very soon at 61 East Banks. That’s a 60-unit apartment building designed by Booth Hansen for Draper & Kramer. And it will require a tower crane in the future.
  • Renelle On The River could be in full-fledged construction mode soon, if it isn’t already. I haven’t been by in a good while. Site prep might be done. It too will get a tower crane eventually.
  • Demolition may have already started on 56 West Huron. Then site prep and construction will begin for…56 West Huron.
  • I should stop trying to guess when tower cranes are going to be taken down. But I will anyway: Eleven40 started coming down this week; No. 9 Walton *has* to come down some day soon; McDonald’s Headquarters has dropped one crane, and the second should be soon; The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center has a permit for a derrick that will remove its 2 tower cranes, but the first one isn’t likely to come down until I’m back in town.

Of course, you can take voluminous photos of everything going on in Chicago’s construction boom and send them my way, if you’d like. It is, after all, about keeping everyone informed and entertained.