It’s only reached about half of its eventual height, and already 727 West Madison is cutting quite a figure along the Kennedy Expressway in Greektown. The FitzGerald-designed apartment tower, like most under-construction skyscrapers, is best seen on a sunny day, and that was the case on Tuesday when we strolled over to the West Loop for a peek.
As if being curvy wasn’t enough, 727 West Madison is gettin’ all glassy now too. The first two levels of curtain wall above the podium are complete, and a third level has been started. Overall, it looks like Lendlease has progressed up to about the 20th story. Almost halfway home!
There are lots of curve puns, oval jokes, and round remarks to be made about 727 West Madison, the 44-story apartment tower from Fifield Companies and F&F Realty. And that’s a good thing; it means the unique shape of this 492-unit apartment tower along the Kennedy Expressway in the Greektown section of the West Loop is coming into clear view. The ellipse eclipses all those squares and rectangles out there. We need some of this variety in our new architecture.
We’re counting Lendlease’s progress at about 15 stories to date. A little simple math tells you that puts them about one-third of the way to the top of the FitzGerald-designed building. And the thought of stacking two more of what’s already built gives you an idea of just how tall 727 West Madison will really be.
The West Loop is busy with construction. That’s the word we get from Captain Obvious, who sent an email to let us know. There are 7 active tower cranes in the neighborhood right now, with 2 more permitted and on the way.
1. McDonald’s Headquarters
As you surely must know, McDonald’s used to have two tower cranes. East Crane is gone, but West Crane continues work on Sterling Bay’s future home for the fast-food giant.
2. Illume Chicago
Illume Chicago is a 10-story, 79-unit condominium building from LG Development, designed by Pappageorge Haymes Partners. It broke ground back in December 2016.
3. 727 West Madison
Taking over the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 727 West Madison will be a 44-story, 492-unit apartment tower. This is the only active tower crane in the West Loop for Lendlease, which is very busy elsewhere in the city (One Bennett Park, Eleven40, and more.) But a second, at The Van Buren, is coming soon. Designed by FitzGerald, it’s a joint development from Fifield and F&F Realty.
4. Hoxton Chicago
One of two tower cranes in the West Loop for Power Construction, the Hoxton Chicago is a 12-story, 175-room hotel designed by local firm GREC Architects. It hasn’t begun to go vertical quite yet, but the foundation work continues.
5. 900 West
900 West is the second Power Construction tower crane in the West Loop. 900 West is another condominium development, bringing 22 luxury units across its 9 stories.
6. Nobu Hotel
The only Chicago tower crane for Centaur Construction, the Nobu Hotel got off to a slow start, but has now grown above street-level, on its way to 11 stories. It’s the other of two hotel projects underway in the West Loop.
7. 210 North Carpenter
The West Loop’s newest tower crane, and another Sterling Bay project, 210 North Carpenter will be the new home of the general contractor building it, Leopardo Companies. The 12-story office building is expected to open next year.
The Van Buren
The Van Buren, a 12-story apartment tower at 808 West Van Buren from Loukas Development and bKL Architecture, is one of two permitted tower-crane sites in the West Loop yet to be erected, though the stub has been planted. This is Lendlease’s second West Loop tower crane.
Hayden West Loop
Hayden West Loop is awaiting its tower-crane stub after receiving a permit on September 7. When erected, it will be the second Chicago crane for Macon Construction, the first being No. 508.
There are two things we need to get used to about One South Halsted around the B.U.C. South Loop Bureau. First, we no longer have our stellar overhead perspective of the 44-story apartment tower from Fifield Companies and F&F Realty. And second, it looks like we’ll need to stop using One South Halsted as a moniker, as it appears 727 West Madison is not only the address, but the name, of the project. No one asked us, but the extra syllables from that pair of 7s just don’t flow well as when you have a one-word number in the there. “One” plays. “One” works. Oh well. We’ll adjust.
We took a walk around One Sou— ugh, See? There I go again — 727 West Madison last week to check on Lendlease’s progress, and the curvyness of the tower’s elliptical shape is coming into view. The tower itself is heading toward the sixth floor, while the podium is up and off the ground as well.
If you’ve gotten the feeling that curved shape is becoming a trend along the West Loop section of the Kennedy Expressway, you’re on to something. 727 West Madison joins The Parker Fulton Market in adding some rounded lines to all the right angles in the neighborhood. A brief conversation with Steve McFadden at design firm FitzGerald reveals he went with the elliptical shape to allow extra interior space within the units along those long east and west facings. Little known fact: There was to be a circular ramp leading in and out of the parking podium in the original plans (one of which went to City Council way back in October of 2012; 727 West Madison has been in the works for quite some time!) but that was rejected in favor of an easier-to-maneuver straight ramp.
The shiny yellow tower crane stub that tantalized us for so long at One South Halsted has finally blossomed into a full-blown Liebherr 316-EC-H 12 crane, spreading joy and heavy materials throughout the Greektown neighborhood of the West Loop.
Twitter user @iYarn let us know last week while we were enjoying the Tower Cranes of London that assembly had started, and the tower crane was completed and operational upon our return. Sorry to have missed it, but the hours of entertainment it’ll provide will more than make up for that disappointment.
Many thanks to Adebayo Onigbanjo (Twitter user @iyarn) for keeping me up to speed on the tower crane at One South Halsted. These photos are from Thursday; alas, the excitement of London got the better of my attention span, so by now, I presume the crane is fully assembled and lifting the heavy stuff.