Stuff That’s Done: Essex on the Park

Essex On The Park, standing tall over Grant Park in Chicago’s South Loop.

This is Essex On The Park. Built at 808 South Michigan Avenue, the shiny new tower brought 476 new apartments to the South Loop. It stand 56 stories and 620 feet high, looming over the western edge of Grant Park. Essex On The Park opened to residents in March 2019.

The Team:
Developer — Oxford Capital Group
Design Architect — Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
General Contractor — Power Construction
Foundations — Keller NA
Demolition — Heneghan Wrecking

You’ll see all their work, in one form or another, in the gallery below, spanning from January 2017 to February 2020.

Darn Near Done: The Venn eyes a 2020 opening in the West Loop

GREC Architects render of The Venn, 845 West Madison.

The Venn, a residential development from The John Buck Company, continues making progress toward its projected opening this summer.

Once the site of the H2O skincare brand at 845 West Madison, The Venn brings 586 rental units, in two 17-story towers, and 14 townhomes to the West Loop neighborhood. There will also be 10,000 sf of retail space and about 280 parking spots, to be split 45/55 between public and resident use.

Demolition of H2O started in December 2017, courtesy of Heneghan Wrecking. The site sat empty for awhile; groundbreaking for The Venn took place a year later, in December 2018. Lendlease is the general contractor; GREC Architects designed the project.

Signage on site announces pre-leasing beginning in Spring. I did the math, and that’s coming up fast. The Venn must be darn near done. It certainly looks it, from the outside.

What follows are some demolition photos, a few shots from April of construction progress, and The Venn in its current state.

Zooming in on Union Station Tower

Union Station Tower is surrounded by construction fence, as you’d expect from a construction site. But man, does it ever get in the way. Monday I got just high enough to zoom in on some of the action.

 

Say goodbye to State and Division as we know (knew?) it

This whole corner of the Gold Coast is soon to be wiped clean.

Say goodbye to McFadden’s. And Hash House a Go-Go. And P.J. Clarke’s, Tip Top Inn, Palette Chicago, Chase Bank, Paradise Cantina, Five Faces Ice Cream, and whatever else has ever been on the northwest corner of State Parkway and Division Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Because it’s all coming down.

A bunch of demolition permits were issued January 2nd, allowing for the removal of the edifices at 1200, 1204, 1206, and 1210 North State, and 10 West Division. Which may or may not include what was once Mothers Too, though that address was 14 West. 10 and 14 might be considered one building.

Heneghan Wrecking is tasked with the tear downs, and it looks like they might be making space for this, according to the Chicago Architecture Blog. The permits don’t help much with developer info; Good Luck Glades LLC? Sunny Glade LLC? Loockout LLC? What the heck are those? And what’s with the “12 and 3-story building” on the 1204 permit? Confusion reigns.

Let’s turn back the clock, via Google Streetview:

Ground is broken and stirring at Union Station Tower

Goettsch Partners rendering of Union Station Tower, or BMO Tower. Work has begun next to Union Station in the West Loop.

Cubs. Bulls. Bears. White Sox. Blackhawks. Most folks around Chicago know the names of those local teams. But there’s another team in town making a lasting impression on the city, and in particular, the city’s skyline.

Riverside Investment & Development, Goettsch Partners, and Clark Construction are teaming up again for the third in a trio of eye-popping office buildings along the Chicago River. Union Station Tower will join 150 North Riverside (completed in 2017) and 110 North Wacker (in progress, with completion slated for this year) in making Chicago River Architecture boat cruises much more attractive in the coming years.

They’re doing foundation work as we speak where that ugly parking garage used to be, next to the new CTA bus terminal in the West Loop. The lot, bounded by Clinton Street to the west, Van Buren Street to the south, Canal Street to the east, and the bus terminal to the north, is huge. And it looks even bigger despite the foundation equipment spread to all four corners. Heneghan Wrecking even has rigs on the site, as they finish up demolition work of the previously-mentioned ugly parking deck.

Now, about the tower. It’ll be 50 stories and 700 feet tall. There will be about a million-and-a-half square feet of office space, with a 1.5-acre public park at street level. Also known as BMO Tower, for its anchor tenant, its team celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony December 20th. Completion and opening is expected in 2022.

 

Fulton Market demolitions clear the way for 167 Green Street

Demolition for 167 Green Street

170 North Halsted is gone; 172 will join it soon.

Heneghan Wrecking is doing what they do out in the West Loop, making space for another venture from the team that brought us The Parker Fulton Market right across the street.

167 Green Street demolitions

The facade of 172 N. Halsted was still mostly intact as of Saturday.

Shapack Partners and Focus Development, along with Walton Street Capital (that’s their name on the demo permit, not to mention the old “176 N. Halsted” signage) are building 167 Green Street, a 17-story office building designed by Gensler. To make room for the tower, buildings at 171 North Green Street and 170-172 North Halsted are being demolished. (167 Green is already gone; half of 170 is rubble as well, with only the north half of the building, 172 North Halsted, still standing as of Saturday.)

167 Green Street will deliver nearly 600,00 rentable square feet when it opens to office tenants in 2020. It will also include more than 30,000 square feet of retail space and parking for 130 or so cars. As an added feature, a pedestrian walkway accessing the retail spaces will connect Green Street to Halsted Street along the building’s street level.

As they did at The Parker, Focus Development will pull double duty on this one, acting as general contractor in addition to their co-developer role.

I’ve seen it now with my own eyes: Morton Salt/GGP is gone

110 North Wacker demolition April 2018

Proof that the sun will still shine, even after a building is demolished.

Sure, there are tons of rubble to be removed. And still a lot of excavation to be done. But as for the building itself, the former Morton Salt Building, and more recently the GGP HQ, is history. Better get out there while you can and enjoy the unobstructed views of the Boeing Building, the Civic Opera House, and more, before work on the new 110 North Wacker starts going skyward. (It’ll be a while, though.)

 

All of the Morton Salt Building demolition pictures

It’s gone now.

The former Morton Salt building, more recently the former home of GGP (General Growth Properties) at 110 North Wacker Drive, is a dirt lot now, as can be seen in the above photo shared by Twitter user @JoshatNRDC. (Great view of the new tower construction, Josh! I’ll bring the coffee if I can borrow your windows for a few hours a day.)

You can kinda sorta watch the demo work by Heneghan Wrecking along the way in the photo gallery that follows. Coming soon: a shiny new 54-story office tower from Howard Hughes Corporation and Riverside Investment & Development, designed by Goettsch Partners.

More destruction at GGP/the former Morton Salt Building

The video above was taken Thursday from across the Chicago River, looking through the windows of 110 North Wacker as Heneghan Wrecking worked from the inside out to demolish the six-story building. There are about four million office windows around this site with better views than I can get, so if you’re in one of those offices, share your views with the rest of us!

 

 

General Destruction has begun at the General Growth building

GGP Demolition 110 north Wacker

Big chunks are missing from the GGP building at 110 North Wacker. The barge is catching them.

It feels good to write something about activity in The Loop again.

The former GGP headquarters at 110 North Wacker Drive in The Loop has begun to crumble into the Chicago River. Not by accident, of course. And not actually into the water. There’s a barge out there on the river, and Heneghan Wrecking is using it to haul away debris from the demolition of the six-story building, making space for the much-anticipated 54-story, Goettsch Partners-designed office tower 110 North Wacker, from the Howard Hughes Corporation and Chicago’s Riverside Investment and Development.

The start of demolition at 110 North Wacker immediately vaults the site to the top of the official Tower Crane Anticipation list. Though that could change, if 145 South Wells gets underway. Stay tuned.