The Van Buren is halfway to homes

The Van Buren, bKL Architecture’s 12-story, 148-unit residential building for Loukas Development the in the West Loop, has risen past the halfway point. Foundation work started in August of last year on the 185,000-square-foot apartment building, a tower crane arrived in the fall, and Lendlease has stacking floors skyward ever since. 

Rod Laver Arena gets an updating in Melbourne

Rod Laver Arena October 2017

Lendlease is currently constructing improvements to Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Timing has never really been my thing. So in honor of the Australian Open (that ended 4 weeks ago), and our visit to Melbourne (that’s been over for 4 months), here are some photos of the ongoing construction at Rod Laver Arena, originally designed by Cox Architecture, at Melbourne Park. Lendlease is doing the honors.

You can learn more about the planned improvements from the arena’s website below:


Beginning in February 2016, and staged over four years, the Stage 2 redevelopment will breathe new life into Rod Laver Arena delivering:
• a new three-level, eastern-facing main public entrance and new annexes on the northern and southern sides of the building
• improved amenities, including more food and beverage outlets and toilets
• accessible entrances to the seating bowl and expanded public concourse spaces, making it easier to move around the building.


Extensive back-of-house improvements will ensure that performers and players enjoy the best possible amenities and staging facilities, including
• improved rigging capacity, enabling the venue to host bigger productions
• a bigger loading dock to manage faster turnaround of events
• refurbishment of the area underneath the arena, providing year-round services for artists, production crews and players during the Australian Open.

And now, for the pics. And remember, these are four months old.

Eight Eleven Uptown nears the top

Eight Eleven Uptown February 2018

Eight Eleven Uptown is very close to topping out, as seen from North Broadway and looking straight up North Clarendon.

First of all, let me thank the Thursday-morning skies for clearing up just enough to get some sunlight and breaking clouds for these shots of Eight Eleven Uptown. It looked magnificent.

Also, thanks to Lendlease for labeling floor numbers on the hoist so theycan be seen from the street. Using the last-marked floor, 22, and counting upward, it looks like construction crews are working on the 26th level, while the core has reached 27. This being a 27-story tower, Eight Eleven Uptown is very close to topping out. That’s just math.

Designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, and co-developed by JDL Development and Harlem Irving Companies, the tower at 811 West Agatite in the Uptown neighborhood will deliver 381 apartments and 36,000 square feet of retail space upon completion, including a Treasure Island grocery store.

Progress Update: The Hilton Hotel combo rises in the South Loop

1101 South Wabash

Lendlease continues upward on the Hilton Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn in the South Loop.

That’s not just a hotel Lendlease is building at 1101 South Wabash Avenue in the South Loop; it’s two hotels. The combination Hilton Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn got started last winter, and is at, or near, the half-way point of its 30-story goal. Two architecture firms,  Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture and Pappageorge Haymes Partners, were involved in the design, one for each hotel segment.

Bidding a foggy adieu to the Ancora tower crane at Riverline

Ancora at Riverline

The tower crane servicing Ancora at Riverline was at half-mast last week.

The skies over Chicago weren’t very cooperative last Thursday, as we made the pilgrimage down to Riverline to bid a fond farewell to the tower crane that has topped out Ancora, the 29-story apartment tower representing Phase One of CMK Companies’ and Lendlease’s South Loop community. We shouldn’t have to wait too long for another crane to show up on site; there’s already quite a bit of earth moving to prep the site for more development, which may or may not be a tower named “Current.”

The tower cranes, they are a-falling

A quick L ride to the South Loop and back revealed a couple new developments (no pun intended) in Chicago’s tower crane landscape on Tuesday. The crane building No. 508 (508 West Diversey) in Lake View was being taken down, and the crane at Ancora at Riverline (720 South Wells) in the South Loop has also begun its final descent.

Sorry I have no photos of the dis-assemblage for now. My phone was ready at Diversey as our train stopped at the platform, but a perfectly-timed northbound Brown Line train blocked my view. As for Ancora, that one surprised me as we went around the bend off Wells Street onto Van Buren. The least I can do is remind you what those two tower  cranes looked like when they were still in service.

No. 508

No. 508 back in August. Macon Construction still has one tower crane in Chicago, at Hayden West Loop.

Ancora at Riverline

Ancora at Riverline in December. Lendlease has plenty more around town.

Stay glassy, West Loop: 727 West Madison rises and shines in Greektown

727 West Madison February 2018

Old Glory waves triumphantly at the foot of 727 West Madison in the West Loop.

It’s only reached about half of its eventual height, and already 727 West Madison is cutting quite a figure along the Kennedy Expressway in Greektown. The FitzGerald-designed apartment tower, like most under-construction skyscrapers, is best seen on a sunny day, and that was the case on Tuesday when we strolled over to the West Loop for a peek.