A December update at Vista Tower

Wanda Vista Tower at night

Night time is the right time to see Vista Tower.

This thing is gonna be HUGE.

Vista Tower continues its climb along East Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. And the more it grows, the more it’s visible from new vantage points. For instance, you can now stand on the Chicago Riverwalk and look straight up and see construction. It may be a little too cold to stand there for long, though.

With all three Hiltons topped out, the tower crane comes down at 123 East Cermak

Triple-branded Hilton tower crane removal

A tower crane below the roof line is doomed. Such is the circle of life at the triple-branded Hilton Hotels at McCormick Place.

All by its lonesome, McHugh Construction’s shiny yellow Liebherr tower crane built a Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick CenterHampton Inn by Hilton Chicago McCormick Center, and Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago McCormick Center in the Prairie District of the South Loop. And now, that crane’s work is complete, and it’s on the way to the ground.

We walked around the site at 123 East Cermak Road to pay our last respects as the crane started coming down. But fear not; Chicago’s construction boom has slowed just yet, so expect that same crane to be back on the build again very soon.

Getting to know Chicago Tower Crane #60

Renelle on the River

McHugh Construction’s tower crane at Renelle on the River, from East Upper Wacker Drive.

We’d only gone by the new tower crane at Renelle on the River once since McHugh Construction erected it back in the second week of November. It famously became Chicago’s 60th tower crane in the air for this calendar year. The Mayor was there. It was a big deal. It was also dark, so I didn’t get a great look at it

Of course, Tuesday was kind of a dud as far as weather goes, but that didn’t stop us from getting a few more angles on the shiny yellow Liebherr 200 HC model. Aside from standing in the plaza just outside Trump Tower, where you can look straight up at the beast, we suggest East Wacker Drive and the Michigan Avenue Bridge as the best crane-gawking spots.

The second tower crane is coming down at McDonald’s HQ

McDonald's West Crane removal

Piece by piece, the West Crane at McDonald’s new HQ is coming down.

West Crane at the new McDonald’s Headquarters in the West Loop was the first one to work, and now it’s the last one to go home. Of the two tower cranes, that is.

The two cranes were erected about a week apart back in February, did what McHugh Construction needed them to do, and East Crane came down back in September. West Crane stuck around to get the last of the heavy lifting accomplished, but this week sees it leaving the site as well. Trucks and personnel from Central Contractors Service were out there Thursday disassembling the second Peiner SK415 and lowering it to the ground.

With a stub in the ground at Hayden West Loop but no crane assembled there yet, the West Loop tower crane count drops to 7, tying it with the South Loop for the neighborhood lead. It’ll get it back soon though.

Renelle on the River erects Chicago’s 60th tower crane of 2017

Renelle on the River tower crane

Chicago’s 60th tower crane of 2017 is up and lifting at Renelle on the River.

The Big 6-0 is on the board, as Chicago’s 60th tower crane takes to the skies at Renelle on the River, at 403 North Wabash in River North. If you want to count backwards, Home2 Suites, also in River North at 110 West Huron, was #59. The Van Buren, at 808 West Van Buren in the West Loop, came in at #58 last month. And 210 North Carpenter, another West Loop project, was Chicago’s 57th crane of the year when it went up.

*60 cranes. That’s a big year for tower cranes. And with the stub Hayden West Loop planted in the ground at 1109 West Washington, #61 will be added to the count very soon. Two other cranes have permits: 3833 North Broadway, where we expect a stub to be planted around Thanksgiving; and The Bentham, at 146 West Erie, which doesn’t have a construction permit yet.

*I am not counting the derrick crane at Simpson Querrey.

Triple-Branded Hilton McCormick Place missed milestones: Topping out, glassing up

Triple branded Hilton McCormick Place

McHugh Constructions Hilton, Hilton & Hilton has grown to 22 stories at 123 East Cermak Road.

It’s been longer than I realized since we’ve walked around the Triple-Branded Hilton Hotels that McHugh Construction and UJAMAA is building at McCormick Place. Not only are there seven floors all glassed in, but the tower appears to have reached the 22nd floor. And it looks topped out. The permit called for 22 stories, but other specifications show 21 and 23 floors. Guess what? If this is a future 22-story hotel, and construction has indeed reached the 22nd floor, then by golly, she’s topped out.

Triple branded Hilton Hotels

Expect a skybridge to shoot out of here soon.

One thing not added is the skybridge over Indiana Avenue that will connect the hotel to McCormick Place, but you can see where it will attach on the south corner of the east elevation.

Antunovich Associates designed the 466-room hotel, situated on Cermak between Michigan and Indiana Avenues. It is expected to open late in 2018.

Renelle on the River plants a tower crane on North Wabash

Renelle on the River tower crane stub

A tower crane stub has been planted at Renelle on the River.

One of the city’s tightest construction spaces has planted a shiny yellow tower crane stub. Renelle on the River is the 18-story, bKL Architecture-designed condo tower Belgravia Group is sliding atop the underground parking garage at 403 North Wabash in River North. And a walk-by yesterday reveals McHugh Construction working around the new crane.

Renelle on the River tower crane stub

Rendering of Renelle on the River from bKL Architecture.

Renelle on the River is a curious project. Not only is it the aforementioned tight squeeze where a small plaza once stood, but it will also be angled in such a way as to give all residents a view of the Chicago River. And then there’s the foundation. No caissons were drilled for this one (the building permit went straight to full-build, with no foundation permit), leaving one to assume the existing parking structure was built to support much more weight than a few cars. And that tower crane’s foundation? It appears to be suspended in mid-air, even while being rooted in a huge block of concrete. It’s a mesmerizing set-up, to be sure.

Renelle on the River will bring 50 three- and four-bedroom condominiums to the neighborhood. There’s a sales office right next to the site, if you want to stop in and check them out. We highly suggest taking their virtual tour.