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.

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.


Not down yet, but the 3Eleven tower crane is out of commission

3Eleven tower crane removal

The tower crane at 3Eleven has been lowered below the top of the building. You know what that means.

Having served its city well, the tower crane at 3Eleven (311 West Illinois Street) is on the way down. The John Buck Company’s 25-story apartment building topped out in April, and the cladding has nearly reached the top of the tower. Now the work is done for this pretty yellow Liebherr 316 EC-H 12 Litronic tower crane.

Where will it end up next? Well, this is purely speculation, but the tower crane permit for the Nobu Hotel at 854 West Randolph Street in the West Loop calls for the exact same type of Liebherr crane. “Hmmm,” you might say.

3Eleven has topped out, endangering yet another Chicago Tower Crane

3Eleven topped out

The top of the topped-out 3Eleven, at 311 West Illinois Street in River North.

Word came down from Power Construction that 3Eleven, the 25-story apartment tower from The John Buck Company, topped out this past Friday. Sure, that’s mostly good news. Good news in that the 245 apartments in the FitzGerald Associates-designed tower will are that much closer to being inhabitable. Good news in that the 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space can soon open to new businesses. Good news in that parishioners at Assumption Catholic Church will soon have parking again, after the church parking lot was removed to make room for 3Eleven.

But the topping out also means we lose another tower crane in Chicago. One of the pretty yellow ones, too. And you know how much I love those. Who else remembers August of last year, when the stub was first planted, like a newborn baby coming home from the hospital? Sigh. I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry….

Here are some photos of the topped-out 3Eleven. Look at them, while I try to compose myself.


That really cool tower crane at 151 North Franklin is coming down

CNA Center tower crane

Eye-to-eye as the tower crane comes down at 151 North Franklin.

An email from Alderman Reilly’s office confirmed what we already knew; the tower crane at 151 North Franklin is coming down this weekend. Randolph Street between Lake and Franklin is closed as crews from Central Contractor Services use the roadway to load up red tower crane parts and haul them off to their next assignment.

Initial confusion over what kind of crane would be utilized at 151 North Franklin soon turned into joy, as Lendlease engineered a spectacular steel frame over the Randolph Street sidewalk, in effect floating the tower crane above pedestrians’ heads.  A luffer rather than a fighter, it made the Best Of 2016 list, served its purpose, and now moves on. Chances are good we see that same crane pop up downtown soon, on another site.

The topped-out 151 North Franklin drops the tower crane

CNA Center

Those skies on Saturday! You almost don’t notice the tower crane has sunk below the top of 151 North Franklin.

You knew 151 North Franklin had topped out; The John Buck Company told us when they tweeted from the ceremony a month ago. And now comes the next sign that the future CNA Center is getting closer to completion: the tower crane started coming down this past weekend.

Luckily, a tower crane permit was issued yesterday for Eight Eleven Uptown, so things will even out soon. We’ve also got cranes on the way for One Grant Park (planted), 1101 South Wabash, and One South Halsted.

A roof-top crane means 3Eleven nears topping out

3Eleven rooftop crane

This permit, issued Tuesday, allows Power Construction to put a crane on the roof of 3Eleven.

A permit issued last week for a “TEMPORARY TIMBERLAND ASD 35-100 DERRICK CRANE ON ROOF LEVEL” means the John Buck Company’s 3Eleven must be getting close to topping out. I mean, no one puts stuff up on a roof if they don’t anticipate having a roof in the near future, right?

Sure enough, Power Construction says they’ll top out the 25-story apartment tower near the end of the month. Just the 23rd floor, the penthouse-level 24th floor, and mechanical 25th floor remain to be added until it’s roof time.

3Eleven rooftop crane

Rendering of 3Eleven from FitzGerald Associates Architects.

3Eleven rooftop crane

Working in the shadows.

The John Buck Company’s 151 North Franklin tops out

And there it goes. Thanks to The John Buck Company for sharing news that 151 North Franklin topped out, and for capturing the moment the final beam rose skyward in photos. I stopped by Randolph and Franklin later in the afternoon to find Lendlease celebrating the event by hanging more glass.

You can see more photos from TJBC’s on its Facebook page here.

3Eleven gets a webpage, signage

And with that tweet, The John Buck Company announced that 3Eleven now has its own website. So in addition to looking fantastic in the sunlight, you can now find 3Eleven on the interwebs.