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.

H2O = Heneghan 2 Obliterate, as 845 West Madison turns to rubble

845 West Madison demolition

The old H2) building no longer holds water. Or anything.

And it isn’t taking them long.

Take a walk around the old H2O site at 845 West Madison in the West Loop, and you may not notice much change in the doomed three-story masonry commercial building. But stand on the sidewalk at Madison, and you’ll see that Heneghan Wrecking has cut a swath right through the middle of the beast, allowing them to work outward. So while 95% of the visible exterior may be intact, its insides are quickly being hollowed out.

Heneghan is making space for the new 845 West Madison, a joint development from The John Buck Company and Lendlease. Approved by the Chicago Plan Commission back in June, the key feature of 845 West Madison will be the two 17-story towers, providing a total of 586 units. Also included in the GREC Architects-designed project will be nearly 300 parking spaces, plus about 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Expect Lendlease to double-up as general contractor as well as co-developer.

With two towers being built on a rather expansive full-block site, the most pressing question so far is, will 845 West Madison require one tower crane, swinging back and forth between the two towers? Or two tower cranes? Stay tuned, as we’ll be on the lookout for the first construction permits.

 

History demolished and discovered at the J.L. Higgie Building

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

One of the highly-coveted plaques, on the Harrison elevation, of the J.L. Higgie Building.

The J.L. Higgie Building at 1909 West Ogden Avenue in the Illinois Medical District is history, having been demolished over the past couple weeks by Heneghan Wrecking. The triangular building bounded by Ogden, Harrison, and Wolcott, built in the 1880s, was built by Higgie to be the offices of his tugboat company.

But speaking of history, demolition unearthed a treasure of it, as Heneghan discovered stacks of old newspapers where Mr. Higgie kept his offices. I got a good look at a couple of them, including a front page from February 5, 1930 (Chicago was having gang problems in those days) and a sports page from January 25, 1930 (the Chicago Blackhawks were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in Atlantic City.)

J.L. Higgie Building demolition

January 25, 1930: The Pittsburgh Pirates moved their game against the Blackhawks 400 miles east because “Smoky City” fans weren’t showing up. Ouch.

Heneghan Wrecking is tearing out concrete slabs at the old Finkl Steel site

Sterling Bay Finkl Steel site

Heneghan Wrecking is tearing up and hauling off the concrete slabs that remain at the old Finkl Steel site.

This blog has no inside information on what exactly Sterling Bay has in store for its recently-purchased* Finkl Steel site. But we’re heartened by activity, as Heneghan Wrecking is back on site, removing the concrete slabs from the empty lots, virtually all that remains of the once-mighty steel yard.

DNAInfo? That’s another story. They *do* have some inkling of what could be coming, and they posted about it back in July here.

*While still at Crain’s, Ryan Ori reported on the Finkl site deal late in 2016. And then the Chicago Tribune’s Ryan Ori reported in July about Sterling Bay adding even more land to its portfolio.

Whatever is coming, it can’t get started without wiping the slate clean of the Finkl remnants. That’s what Heneghan is up to. Does it mean new construction is imminent? That remains to be seen. But we can hope.

 

West Loop site now a clean slate, awaiting the Hoxton Chicago hotel (and it *just* got a permit!)

Hoxton Chicago hotel

From a green line train, a soil-sampling rig tastes the dirt at the future Hoxton Chicago site.

Hoxton Chicago

Hoxton Chicago render from Ennismore.

Heneghan Wrecking has finished making space at 832 West Lake Street in the West Loop, where Grant Park Packing and Vaia Auto once stood. The bare dirt lot stands ready for the impending arrival of the Hoxton Chicago, a 175-room boutique hotel from London-based developer of the Hoxton brand, Ennismore, with Shapack Partners. Designed by GREC Architects, the Hoxton Chicago needs only a building permit to get started. ** And there it is!**

Hoxton Chicago

The permit was issued Wednesday, June 21.

Hoxton Chicago hotel

The Stalworth Underground caisson rig is getting ready to roll. And drill.

Power Construction will be the general contractor. The arrival of a Stalworth Underground caisson rig gives a strong clue as to who will be performing foundation work. **Thursday morning, and that caisson rig is being set upright, ready for work. It’s show time for the Hoxton Chicago.

As 170 North Halsted braces for demolition, a clue as to the lot’s future?

170 North Halsted demolition

Stellar Fulton Market map on the (doomed) wall of 170 North Halsted Street.

Rampant speculation around my own desk pegs the demolition of a three-story building at 170 North Halsted in the West Loop as part of the office building coming next door, in the parking lot at Halsted and Lake Streets. And now, some signage may help clarify. Of course, it also may not.

176 N Halsted

Over on the north face, a sign for the forthcoming 176 N Halsted.

On the south elevation of 170 North Halsted is a (fantastic!) hand-drawn map of the Fulton Market District. Around the other side, facing north, is a banner for a future 15-story office tower, 176 N Halsted. This will be a joint effort from Shapack Partners and Focus Development, designed by GREC Architects.

Let’s take the leap and assume that banner means 170 North Halsted will be incorporated into 176 N Halsted once Heneghan Wrecking makes space. Or maybe it’s just a convenient place to hang a sign.

 

With site cleared, St. Ignatius can begin its new athletic center

St. Ignatius College Prep Athletic Center

1001 West Roosevelt, site of the new St. Ignatius College Prep Athletic Center, seen from Skydeck Chicago.

At the corner of West Roosevelt Road and South Morgan Street, Heneghan Wrecking has hauled off the last remnants of the former Provision Theater, making space for St. Ignatius College Prep to get started on its new athletic center.

Permitted for demolition on March 13, the site at 1001 West Roosevelt is a blank canvas now. Not much information is available yet for the new facility, but the coveted building permit will spill all the secrets as soon as it’s issued, likely in the very near future.