A December update at Vista Tower

Wanda Vista Tower at night

Night time is the right time to see Vista Tower.

This thing is gonna be HUGE.

Vista Tower continues its climb along East Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. And the more it grows, the more it’s visible from new vantage points. For instance, you can now stand on the Chicago Riverwalk and look straight up and see construction. It may be a little too cold to stand there for long, though.

Getting to know Chicago Tower Crane #60

Renelle on the River

McHugh Construction’s tower crane at Renelle on the River, from East Upper Wacker Drive.

We’d only gone by the new tower crane at Renelle on the River once since McHugh Construction erected it back in the second week of November. It famously became Chicago’s 60th tower crane in the air for this calendar year. The Mayor was there. It was a big deal. It was also dark, so I didn’t get a great look at it

Of course, Tuesday was kind of a dud as far as weather goes, but that didn’t stop us from getting a few more angles on the shiny yellow Liebherr 200 HC model. Aside from standing in the plaza just outside Trump Tower, where you can look straight up at the beast, we suggest East Wacker Drive and the Michigan Avenue Bridge as the best crane-gawking spots.

Catching up with The Van Buren’s neglected tower crane

The Van Buren tower crane

The tower crane at The Van Buren is the 58th erected in Chicago this year.

The tower crane at The Van Buren (808 West Van Buren in the West Loop) was the 58th crane of 2017 erected in Chicago when Lendlease assembled it last month. However, I’ve done a poor job of getting over there for a good look, so allow me to share a few photos of #58 with you now. Sorry, but the sun has also done a poor job of showing up while I’m near this site.

While we’re at it, we might as well remind you that The Van Buren is a 12-story, 148-unit apartment building from Loukas Development,  designed by bKL Architecture.

Renelle on the River erects Chicago’s 60th tower crane of 2017

Renelle on the River tower crane

Chicago’s 60th tower crane of 2017 is up and lifting at Renelle on the River.

The Big 6-0 is on the board, as Chicago’s 60th tower crane takes to the skies at Renelle on the River, at 403 North Wabash in River North. If you want to count backwards, Home2 Suites, also in River North at 110 West Huron, was #59. The Van Buren, at 808 West Van Buren in the West Loop, came in at #58 last month. And 210 North Carpenter, another West Loop project, was Chicago’s 57th crane of the year when it went up.

*60 cranes. That’s a big year for tower cranes. And with the stub Hayden West Loop planted in the ground at 1109 West Washington, #61 will be added to the count very soon. Two other cranes have permits: 3833 North Broadway, where we expect a stub to be planted around Thanksgiving; and The Bentham, at 146 West Erie, which doesn’t have a construction permit yet.

*I am not counting the derrick crane at Simpson Querrey.

Renelle on the River plants a tower crane on North Wabash

Renelle on the River tower crane stub

A tower crane stub has been planted at Renelle on the River.

One of the city’s tightest construction spaces has planted a shiny yellow tower crane stub. Renelle on the River is the 18-story, bKL Architecture-designed condo tower Belgravia Group is sliding atop the underground parking garage at 403 North Wabash in River North. And a walk-by yesterday reveals McHugh Construction working around the new crane.

Renelle on the River tower crane stub

Rendering of Renelle on the River from bKL Architecture.

Renelle on the River is a curious project. Not only is it the aforementioned tight squeeze where a small plaza once stood, but it will also be angled in such a way as to give all residents a view of the Chicago River. And then there’s the foundation. No caissons were drilled for this one (the building permit went straight to full-build, with no foundation permit), leaving one to assume the existing parking structure was built to support much more weight than a few cars. And that tower crane’s foundation? It appears to be suspended in mid-air, even while being rooted in a huge block of concrete. It’s a mesmerizing set-up, to be sure.

Renelle on the River will bring 50 three- and four-bedroom condominiums to the neighborhood. There’s a sales office right next to the site, if you want to stop in and check them out. We highly suggest taking their virtual tour.

An end-of-October update at Vista Tower

Vista Tower Chicago October

Vista Theater is fading; the best views of Vista Tower are no on the north side of the Chicago River.

I saw construction on three Wanda Vista Tower projects during October: the one you’re most familiar with, Vista Tower here in Chicago, plus two in Australia: one in the demolition phase in Sydney, New South Wales, and the three-tower Jewel Residences project on the beach in Gold Coast, Queensland. I managed to get to Chicago’s site on the last day of the month to make sure McHugh Construction crews hadn’t finished up while we were gone. Thankfully, they had not.

 

It’s caisson time for GEMS World Academy Upper School

GEMS Upper School caissons

Checking out a caisson from above at GEMS World Academy Upper School.

The Upper School at GEMS World Academy Chicago has begun caisson work at 355 East Wacker Drive. Case Foundation is on site digging long, slender holes in the ground and then filling them right back in with rebar and concrete.

Originally issued a foundation permit way back in March of 2015, the GEMS Upper School got a new caisson permit on September 20. Designed by bKL Architecture, as was the first GEMS school, Power Construction will take build the school atop the Case’s caissons.