Embry plants a tower crane at 21 North May

Embry, 21 North May, West Loop
The Embry tower crane stub. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.

The tower crane has been planted, and planted deep, at Embry in the West Loop. So deep, in fact, that I not been tipped off to the first segment being delivered (Thanks, @jrock1449!) I might have walked past the site without noticing it.

Okay, that’s ridiculous. I definitely would have still peered through the fence to see what was going on. But the crane really is planted deep in the ground, so the top base section sits below the height of the construction fence.

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There are piles of piles to drive at Embry

Piles o’ plies at Embry

Caissons are done, but foundation work continues for Embry at 21 North May in the West Loop. A 270-degree tour around the site last week shows piles have been driven into the ground, and a bunch more sat at the ready for their turn in the soil. That’s the firm of McHugh & McHugh (Construction & Concrete) on the job out there, getting this 16-story, 58-unit condo building from Sulo Development ready to go vertical. And remember, they’ll be getting a shiny yellow Liebherr tower crane soon, too.

Proof of caisson work abounds at Embry

Sure, if you’re a neighbor along the first block of North May Street, you can feel the progress (to which one friend has attested.) For the rest of us, the best way to find out if caisson work on Embry (21 N May St) has begun in the West Loop is to go take a look. We went. We saw. We photographed.

McHugh Construction and McHugh Concrete, general and concrete contractors, respectively, got the full permit to build on April 5. A demolition permit to get 25 North May out of the way was issued January 28. We’re hoping to see a tower crane permit any day now.

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Embry begins construction in the West Loop

A sea of rebar waits to be sunk into the earth at Embry.

I could tell the start of Embry was imminent over at 21 North May Street in the West Loop when I walked by Sunday. All the equipment was on hand for caissons, and rebar cages were made. Seemed to me all that was needed was a foundation permit.

Well, a little birdie tells me caissons are a-drillin’ as of this morning. That same birdie also says an entirely separate birdie says the permit was issued this morning. It all adds up. Embry is here.

Embry is being built by Sulo Development, which delivered Hayden West Loop just around the corner. As mentioned, I haven’t seen the foundation permit yet, but it doesn’t take a genius to see McHugh Construction banners on site; they must be the general contractor. My guess is their concrete division is also handling the concrete chores, but I shouldn’t assume. Lamar Johnson Collaborative is the design architect. Their website says to expect 16 stories and 58 luxury condos, which Sulo plans on delivering in 2023.

Congrats, Embry team. Let’s go.

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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Get ready for Embry in the West Loop

This lot in the first block of North May Street could soon be replaced by Embry. That building is already demolished. (2016 photo)

Around the corner from their Hayden West Loop condo building, Sulo Development is looking to begin the next iteration for the same West Loop block.

Embry will be a 58-unit condominium development, about 16 stories tall, designed by Lamar Johnson Collaborative. You can use this link to see the Linkedin introduction they posted.

Not many details yet, but renderings are available on its website, and it’s replacing a really ugly lot, so yay on all fronts so far. Plus, the website attributes James McHugh Construction as the general contractor, and we *really* need to see them with a tower crane in the air again.

Video screengrab showing the Embry model.


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Darn Near Done: 448 North LaSalle

Click on this link for 448 North LaSalle and enjoy the drone footage.

Midwest Property Group’s 12-story, 175,00-square-foot office building should start welcoming tenants in the fall. In the meantime, the exterior of the Lamar Johnson Collaborative-designed tower looks complete. Lendlease is the general contractor.

Took me long enough to realize Triangle Square is a big deal

Coming soon: Condos and apartments at Triangle Square.

I used to take a semi-weekly walk from Wilson & Ashland in Uptown down to Grand & Ashland. I walked past construction behind the Mariano’s at Webster Ave. all the time, but never ventured the extra block west to check out Triangle Square. “No tower crane? Can’t be much to see” I thought.

Dang, this is a big development. Condos on one side (1701 West Webster), apartments on the other (2155 North Elston.) Plus retail space. And lots of developers, architects, and general contractors.

Triangle Square is a joint development from Belgravia Group (condos) and Lennar Multifamily (apartments.) Design architects are Lamar Johnson Collaborative (apartments) and Sullivan, Goulette & Wilson.

Power Construction (apartments) and Maris Construction (condos) are on the builds.

Yeah, I’m confused too. Remember, I walked past this site without looking for more than a year, So for a professional breakdown of what’s what, I put you in the fine hands of Urbanize Chicago. And then, photos.

448 North LaSalle hangs a tower crane

448 North LaSalle got its tower crane on the March 2020 Chicago Tower Crane Survey just under the wire, getting it the air the 29th of February. Maybe it didn’t lift anything that day, or Sunday, or even Monday, which is Casimir Pulaski Day around these parts. But it still counts, because 18 is a relatively low number for cranes in Chicago, and we need to count as many as we can get.

So how about a few photos of a freshly-planted golden tower crane:

448 North LaSalle got its tower crane stub, and it doesn’t disappoint

You can’t hide from me.

Looks like the crew from Pepper Construction, the concrete contractor at 448 North LaSalle, was busy this past week. Just as we hoped, they’ve got a tower crane stub in the ground to get Midwest Property Group’s 13-story office building going vertical.

Lendlease is the general contractor on 448 North LaSalle. Generally, we only shout-out the GC for tower crane cred here. But since tower cranes are what we care most about, aside from a nice hot breakfast, it’s been decided the concrete crews should get a lil more love, too.

Back to stubs. This ain’t no ordinary stub. In fact, in my short construction-obsessed existence, I don’t remember seeing a tower crane planted with more that one section of tower before. Comparatively, this one’s huge. And yellow. She’s gonna be a pretty one when she grows up.

iPhone only for this visit. That fencing is high and tight. (That means I couldn’t get the real camera over or through.)

With caisson work complete, 448 North LaSalle goes on tower crane watch

Rendering of 448 North LaSalle from its website.

Did you blink? Then you might have missed caisson work at 448 North LaSalle. Revcon got out there, got at it, and got out already, leaving a clean site on which to start construction for Midwest Property Group’s 12-story, 175,00 sf office building. Now Lendlease can get to work on going vertical.

When this lot first starting showing signs of action, workers from Pepper Construction were on scene starting site prep. Pepper is also listed in the foundation permit as the masonry contractor. I think, in this case, that means they’re handling concrete duties.

According to 448’s brand-spankin’ new website, MPG plans to have offices open to tenants before 2020 is over.

So how about an eclectic collection of site photos from the month of February, right up through Sunday’s snow-covered, waiting-for-a-tower-crane empty lot: