It’s a tower-crane wash, as Chicago puts one up (Nobu Hotel) and takes one down (Solstice On The Park)

Nobu Hotel Chicago tower crane

Say hello to the tower crane at the Nobu Hotel Chicago…

For a brief moment, while it was still dark Monday morning, Chicago had 31 tower cranes in operation across the city.

Centaur Construction completed assembly of their tower crane at the Nobu Hotel Chicago site over the weekend. But word came from a Little Birdie Friend last week that today would be the beginning of the end for the tower crane at Solstice On The Park, as Linn-Mathes and Adjustable Forms begin taking theirs down from the Hyde Park skyline.

So if you’re doing the math at home, this equation’s pretty simple: 30 + 1 – 1 = 30.

Solstice On The Park tower crane

…And say goodbye to the tower crane at Solstice On The Park, as it comes down this week.


Centaur Construction joins Chicago’s Tower Crane Party

Centaur Construction is entering the tower crane count this weekend with their assembly of the crane at the Nobu Hotel Chicago site, and they’re relishing the moment.

Christina Pascente at Centaur took a bunch of great high-res images of the tower crane going up on Friday and sent them to us. So of course, we’re sharing them. Enjoy!

It’s tower crane time at Nobu Hotel

Everybody’s talking about the new crane in town. Even purveyors of fine sandwiches.

As you read these words, Central Contractors Service and Centaur Construction are on the Nobu Hotel Chicago site in the West Loop, assembling the tower crane that will send the 11-story boutique hotel vertical. It’s also the reason you can’t drive on Peoria Street between Randolph and Lake. We’ve waited a long time for this one, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts. If it lasts. Now that Nobu will start going vertical, it won’t take long to stack its 11 floors on top of each other.

*** Centaur CEO Spiro Tsaparas called the B.U.C. to let me know a correction is in order on the Nobu project. I’ve reported that Walsh Construction was assigned the task of concrete work. That information, listed in Nobu’s building permits, is incorrect. Pepper Construction is, in fact, the masonry contractor for the Nobu Hotel.***


West Loop’s Nobu Hotel (finally) plants a tower crane

Nobu Hotel tower crane

THERE IT IS! The Nobu Hotel has a tower-crane stub.

The biggest day in the history of the northeast corner of the intersection of Randolph and Peoria Streets on Restaurant Row in the West Loop has finally arrived.

13 months after breaking ground, nine months after receiving a tower-crane permit from the City of Chicago, one month after having that permit revised, and two weeks after having that revised permit revised yet again to relocate the tower-crane pad and caissons, the Nobu Hotel Chicago at long last has planted a tower crane.

And while there’s still a substantial amount of foundation digging to be done, the arrival of the tower crane signals a major step upward for the boutique hotel. With all the development ongoing in this part of the city, overnight accommodations had been sorely lacking, and Nobu’s 11-story, 119-room hotel will help fill that void. But first, it will have to fill the void left by all that foundation digging. Slow as it’s been getting started, Nobu still plans to have its first Chicago hotel open in 2018. Centaur Construction will do their best to reach that goal. (Nobu marks Centaur’s first tower crane on the official tower-crane count.)

Caisson work is underway at Nobu Hotel. For real this time

Nobu Hotel caissons

You can’t tell me that ain’t a big ole caisson rig, and it’s hard at work at the Nobu Hotel.

This time I’m certain. A caisson rig used for drilling caissons is drilling caissons at the Nobu Hotel site in the West Loop. It’s not a “quad sheet press,” like the one I misidentified back in March. Nope, this is for real. There’s a big red Revcon rig, digging holes. Plus, there are all those augers and, you know, caisson equipment.

The Nobu Hotel is coming to the Fulton Market neighborhood courtesy of Nobu Hospitality. The 11-story, 119-room hotel features designs by Modif Architecture and Studio K. Centaur Construction of West Lake Street is the general contractor. (The Big Green W will be here doing masonry work.)


Updating the tower crane updates

Wicker Park Connection tower crane

The brand new crane at the Wicker Park Connection Monday evening.

Turns out, tracking tower cranes in Chicago can be exhausting.

Optima II tower crane

Tuesday, the crane was coming down from Optima II.

We were at 31 Sunday with the loss of 1001 West Chicago’s crane, but then 1101 South Wabash had its crane in the air, but under (my) radar, and the Wicker Park Connection, which had planted a stub, finished its crane. That made 33. For, like, an hour. Because yesterday I noticed the luffing crane coming down from atop Optima II in Streeterville. (That crane seemed to be there for about 9 years, didn’t it?)

Long story longer, I believe there are now 32 active tower cranes in Chicago. *This is an unscientific poll.

Remember, there are stubs planted at One South Halsted and the Cook County Central Campus Health Center that should be up and running soon. Essex On The Park, Aloft Chicago Mag Mile, and Nobu have been issued crane permits. But 3Eleven, the Landmark West Loop, and (I think?) 171 Aberdeen have topped out, so we could lose those cranes any day now.

Maybe in the next few days, we can speculate about which just-underway or soon-to-be-started projects will require tower cranes. You know, McDonald’s “vendor village”, Hoxton Hotel, 808 West Van Buren, and the like. What about 508 West Diversey? That’s 12 stories. Yeah, this seems like a conversation for another day.

Anyone else ready for Nobu caissons? (corrected)

Nobu Hotel Chicago caissons

Yes, let’s get that thing put together and rip up some earth!


Too late? Twitter user and follower @Rjoyce21informs me that I’m not looking at the assembly of a caisson rig, but rather a “quad sheet press.” So, still a step toward foundation progress, but no caissons. Bummer.

Thank you, Ryan. ***

Because I sure am.

Construction of the Nobu Chicago Hotel at 854 West Randolph Street in the West Loop has been a roller coaster ride at best, a roller coaster ride where you stood in line for two hours and then they closed the ride for repairs just as you got to the front of the line at worst.

All exaggeration, of course. But it’s been interesting. Ground was broken in June. Soil was sampled in July. Then additional height was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission in September, and caisson material was delivered to the site. Then, those materials were gone. Then everything was gone. A foundation permit was issued December 1st, but still no action.

Finally, earlier this month, a crew from Taylor Excavating showed up and started digging. And now yesterday, folks from Hayward Baker were on site setting up a caisson rig. So it looks like the 11-story, 119-room hotel is really happening.