Blogging the Burbs: Optima Verdana in Wilmette

This blog has a Category and a Tag for every Chicago suburb we’ve visited to check out a tower crane. We don’t have that many. Adventures to the suburbs are fun, and we’d love to take more, so let us know if you’re working on, commuting past, or living near a construction site with a crane, and we’ll get to them as soon as we can. (Also let us know where to grab breakfast.)

I did that thing I sometimes do where I go to a suburb and seek out tower cranes. Except I knew about this one already, thanks to the fine folks at Central Contractors Service. They let me know a couple months back that they had erected tower crane in Wilmette. A quick UP-N Metra ride up there drops you off right in the middle of the construction site (don’t take me literally. Ever.) and I snapped a few shots.

Being built is Optima Verdana. I last checked out an Optima joint back in May of 2021, when Optima Lakeview was in progress. Optima Verdana is a 100-unit apartment building going up on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Green Bay Road. There will be about 200 parking spaces, with most of them dedicated to residents, and about 20% of them for the retail space (8,000sf) at street level. Remember, we’re in the burbs now, not Chicago, so different town, different rules.

As this is Wilmette, I don’t have access to the building permits (I mean, I *probably* do, I just don’t know where to look) but I suspect Optima Verdana is another keep-it-all-in-house special, where Optima serves as developer, design architect, and general contractor. Cut out those middlemen whenever you can, folks.

Anyway, here are a few photos of still-below-street-level progress:

Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides (and Amtrak trains to Milwaukee), Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, domain fees, snacks & energy drinks, and comfortable walking shoes add up. You can help offset expenses by making a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

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732 West Randolph makes its tower crane official

Like an injured center, it was tall but unable to play. But this past weekend, the rest of the tower crane went up at 732 West Randolph. I included it in the June survey, since the tower had been erected.

Check out a few shots of people in high places who need not worry about me coming for their jobs:

Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides (and Amtrak trains to Milwaukee), Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, domain fees, snacks & energy drinks, and comfortable walking shoes add up. You can help offset expenses by making a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

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The second tower crane is up at Big Deahl

Power Construction and Central Contractors Service were out in the elements (it was a beautiful day) Thursday erecting the second tower crane at the Big Deahl development. While the first crane builds The Seng and Common Lincoln Park, this second rig will handle the taller task of 1475 North Kingsbury.

Dedicated crane chaser that I am, I stopped by here twice on Thursday to supervise things. As an added bonus, I have a few progress shots of The Seng and Common Lincoln Park too.


Enjoying the photos? Metra and CTA rides (and Amtrak trains to Milwaukee), Zipcars, Divvy Bikes, camera lenses, domain fees, snacks & energy drinks, and comfortable walking shoes add up. You can help offset expenses by making a greatly-appreciated donation to Building Up Chicago.

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210 North Carpenter drops its tower crane

210 North Carpenter crane removal

A train goes by as a crane goes bye-bye at 210 North Carpenter.

“Why is that big tall street crane in my shot?” I said to myself as I aimed the camera over the Chicago River into the West Loop. I knew I was looking at tower cranes from the Hoxton Chicago hotel and 210 North Carpenter, but couldn’t figure out what construction site I had missed that would have such a big crane. Then I zoomed in. Noticed the people up on top of the more distant crane. And realized 210 North Carpenter was, in fact, on its way down.

210 North Carpenter crane removal

See? Those are people up there, removing the counterweights from the counterjib.

I had just been in the West Loop earlier in the day, and that street crane wasn’t erected yet. So this came as a surprise. Plus, it meant I had to walk all the way back over there to check things out. Central Contractors Service was on site with GC Leopardo Companies and concrete contractor Adjustable Forms starting to dismantle Manitowoc MD485 (don’t be impressed; I copied that info from the permit.) Leopardo is now one step closer to finishing their new headquarters.

***Whilst in the area of the West Loop Saturday, I stopped at the new McDonald’s HQ and had a go at those new Australian bacon-cheese fries everyone’s been talking about. I suggest you try them.

Lendlease drops the tower crane at 1101 South Wabash

1101 South Wabash crane removal

The tower crane sinks below the top of the 2 Hiltons in the South Loop. You know that means doom.

The Hilton Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn aren’t finished yet, but the tower crane is. We got word last week that the tower crane would be removed any day now, and sure enough, crews from Central Contractors Service, Lendlease, and Pepper Construction (as the concrete contractor, it’s technically their crane) were out there Sunday, taking sections down and hauling them off the site.

There remains quite a bit of work to do to make this tower a hotel. Or two. But now the heavy lifting will be up to the skip hoist.

Twelve01West lights up the West Loop sky

Twelve01West glowing tower crane

More of this, Chicago!

Dear McCaffery Interests:

I can not thank you enough for the Glowing Tower Crane at Twelve01West.

That is all.

Love, Chicago & I

cc: Central Contractors Service

 

 

Twelve01West wins The Great March Tower Crane Race

Twelve01West Tower Crane

In the distance, a tower crane rises at Twelve01West.

Maybe it wasn’t so great after all, if it’s already decided this early in the month.

Last week I speculated that March’s first tower crane would be erected at GEMS World Academy Upper School, since there had just been a stub planted on the Lakeshore East site. Little did I know that a stub had earlier been planted on the Twelve01West site at 1201 West Lake Street in the West Loop. Over the weekend, Central Contractors Service was over there assembling the tower crane. By my count, that would be Chicago’s 35th tower crane of 2018, and the fourth crane currently in the air for W.E. O’Neil 

The University of Illinois at Chicago has its own tower crane

UIC tower crane

Central Contractors Service was on the UIC campus Tuesday, schooling the masses on proper tower-crane assembly procedures.

What a teaching tool it could be, that big yellow tower crane across the street from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Higher learning, or something like that.

Anyway, tower-crane assembly at the academic/residential complex UIC is building on West Harrison Street between Peoria and Morgan began Monday, and Tuesday saw the jib lifted into place. A few gears and cables will be attended to Wednesday, and it should be ready to go as we enter March.

This marks Pepper Construction’s first tower crane in town since they removed the self-erecting crane from the Moxy Hotel job in River North.

Normally, the photo gallery below would include the building permit for that shiny yellow crane. However, this project isn’t being built on city land. Therefore, the City of Chicago doesn’t issue any permits at all for it. UIC is responsible for making sure the tower crane is erected properly and safely.

 

Chicago’s 62nd (and final?) tower crane of 2017 is up at Belmont Village

Belmont Village tower crane

This shiny red tower crane is ready to lift heavy stuff at Belmont Village.

Unless you’re a big Tunch Ilkin fan, the number 62 might not mean all that much to you. But it’s somewhat of a landmark here in Chicago, as we’ve reached 62 tower cranes for the year.

And while we still have a stub planted in the ground (at Hayden West Loop) we don’t have a date on that tower crane going up, so Belmont Village may very well be our final tower crane of the year.

Chicago surpassed its all-time high (heh — high) in tower cranes back in September, when the Mayor’s office announced we’d erected our 54th crane of the year. But we didn’t stop there.

The crane at Belmont Village, the 7-story senior living facility being built at 700 West Fullerton, marks the third tower crane for The Lincoln Common, GC W.E. O’Neil, and for Lincoln Park. They make a handsome trio.

If indeed this is our final tower crane of 2017, it deserves a big photo gallery of assembly. So here you go, taken over the course of three days (Dec 6-8)