Sometimes the tower cranes we miss are the tower cranes we miss the most

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes sent over this photo of the WESC from June, just as the second tower crane was coming down.

We love tower cranes at Building Up Chicago. That’s no secret. We’re especially fond of scenes like Vista Tower, The Simpson-Querrey Center, McDonald’s Headquarters, and One Bennett Park, each of which have two tower cranes on site. And don’t even get us started about the two projects we saw in London that had 10 apiece.

But we can’t get to them all.

We found out today, courtesy of Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes, that the tower crane we wandered to at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center had a sibling. Up until a couple weeks before we stopped by, the parking garage being constructed next to the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena had a second tower crane.

Hey! Why not keep a tower crane on a parking garage? Do you have any idea how helpful (and fun) it would be to use it to get cars up to and off the top level?

Curtis said neither tower crane remains on site now, so it looks like we got there just in time. Maybe one trip a year to Milwaukee isn’t often enough?

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Only one tower crane remained when we visited the WESC in July.

Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center

Don’t get me wrong; there were still multiple cranes. Just not multiple tower cranes.

Wandering Milwaukee: Marquette University puts up two tower cranes

Robert A. Wild, S.J. Commons at Marquette University

Soaring high above the Robert A. Wild, S.J. Commons at Marquette University. Photo courtesy of Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

If you’re a college student in Milwaukee, you might think that headline should read “Marquette University puts up student housing.” Apparently we haven’t met. When two tower cranes appear on the same job site around these here parts, they carry the day. Along with all the heavy stuff.

But of course, student housing is important too. Marquette is building the Robert A. Wild, S.J. Commons to house 890 students at the site, bounded by Wisconsin Avenue, 17th, Wells, and 18th Street. We know the general contractor, J.H. Findorff & Son; during last year’s Summerfest visit, we checked out their work at the Westin Milwaukee. (It’s finished, by the way. We stayed there during Summerfest 2017.) Findorff’s task is to have the Robert A. Wild, S.J. Commons ready in time for Fall 2018 classes.

Design duties were split between Milwaukee’s own Workshop Architects and Baltimore-based Design Collective.

You can read the full July 2016 press release from Marquette University here, or see it in its entirety after the photo gallery.

Robert A. Wild, S.J. Commons at Marquette University

The west tower crane sits on a separate lot, and reaches across the street.

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You want curves? 465 North Park has your curves

465 North Park by Aerialscapes

465 North Park, shot from the sky by Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

If it’s a uniquely-shaped new apartment tower you’re looking for, head on over to Streeterville, where 465 North Park continues to dazzle Chicago with its sweet curves and shiny glass. The 48-story, 444-unit skyscraper by Pappageorge Haymes Architects continues to push skyward, thanks to the efforts of Power Construction. Their crews are going all out (onto the ledges, that is) to bring 465 North Park to life in time for Jupiter Realty’s goal of an early 2018 opening.

Did you know there’s an OxBlue construction cam for 465 North Park. Check it out here.


As Old Town Park rises, more of Atrium Village comes down

Old Town Park at Atrium Village

Old Town Park rises beyond the rubble of Atrium Village.

The circle of life continues at Atrium Village, as all but the 207 units of 300 West Hill Street have now been reduced to rubble, even as Old Town Park rises on the northeast corner of the development. The first of tower in the rebuilding of the development, Old Town Park has reached the 21st of its ultimate 32 stories. Onni Group, the developer and general contractor, is flying along at better than a one-floor-per-week pace.

Meanwhile, demolition is all but complete, with only rubble to remove, on the remaining buildings of the complex, save for the previously mentioned 300 West Hill, which is staying. **Serious question: At what point will everyone look around at all the new, amenity-laden buildings, look back at this old one, and say “yeah, let’s tear it down after all”? Anyway, the slate will be clean in plenty of time to begin work on the second tower, hopefully in early fall.

Old Town Park at Atrium Village

This overhead shot from Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes shows the Old Town Park tower, with Atrium Village demolition at lower left.

Is that glass? Are those bricks? The McDonald’s Headquarters rolls on

McDonald's Headquarters

We’re starting to see the underside of the ninth floor at the northwest corner of McDonald’s HQ. Plus brick and glass! 

The new McDonald’s Headquarters in the West Loop may not quite be ready for the top sesame-seed bun, but McHugh Construction keeps adding ingredients to the burger giant’s nine-story home. (I like to compare progress to building a hamburger, but with the new Apple Store looking like a gigantic Macbook, we can thank our lucky stars Sterling Bay and Gensler decided not to build this HQ to look like a Big Mac. You think the NIMBY’s would have thought that worked well with its surroundings?)

There are new glass panels on a couple sides now, and some sweet brickwork adorning parts of the exterior. If you take into account setbacks and the like, some of McDonald’s has reached nine stories high. It’s a tad early to start worrying about losing a tower crane or two, but the top-down strategy has paid off, as this project rises incredibly fast.

McDonald's two cranes Aerialscapes

An overhead view of McDonald’s and its two tower cranes by Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

Caisson work is at full bore for The Lincoln Common

Lincoln Common caisson work

Revcon is in, and in deep, as caisson work revs up at The Lincoln Common.

Here’s a ridiculous overhead view from Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

The Lincoln Common by Aerialscapes

The noisy red machines of Revcon are tearing into the soil at The Lincoln Common, the mixed-use development coming to the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site in Lincoln Park. Foundation permits were issued back in June, allowing general contractor W.E. O’Neil to get started on the project.

“Foundation permits, plural?” you might ask? Yep. The Lincoln Common seems to have a theme of pairs:

  • There will be two towers, addressed for now as 2335 and 2345 North Lincoln Avenue, each standing 20 stories tall and containing 269 apartments. (There will be some condos too, plus a senior-living facility across the street.)
  • There are two developers: Hines, and McCaffery Interests
  • There are two architecture firms involved in the design work: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Antunovich Associates.
  • There are two red Revcon caisson rigs and two caisson cranes working on the site
  • I went through two bottles of Gatorade while watching caisson work in the oppressive heat (how do crews stay out there all day in this weather?)

You get the idea.

There was *one* tower-crane permit issued on July 17; will there be a second tower crane for the second tower? We’ll have to wait and see about that prospective pair.

Wandering Milwaukee: Revisiting the Bucks’ new arena, vicariously, from the air

Milwaukee Bucks new arena

An eagle-eye view of the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena from pilot/photographer Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

Milwaukee Bucks new arena

Photo via Curtis Waltz at Aerialscapes.

You’ve already seen my visit from the first weekend in July to the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena. Dozens and dozens of photos. Yet there were still two angles of the construction site I wasn’t able to see: from the inside, and from overhead. The former I won’t likely see until I buy a basketball ticket. But the latter? Someone else has that covered for us.

Click this link to see the Milwaukee Business Journal story from July 6 that featured photos from aerial photographer Curtis Waltz. Not satisfied with drone footage, Mr. Waltz goes one step further. Or higher, as the case may be: he flies his own plane to get his shots.

You can see all of Curtis Waltz’s work at Aerialscapes.

The Bucks’ Twitter account tweeted the following drone video, which does include some inside footage:

Not enough for ya? Well, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a drone video for you to check out as well.

There’s more to see at the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center News page here. They update it frequently, so check in early and often.