The Oval on the Expressway, 727 West Madison, is rounding into form

727 West Madison

That’s 727 West Madison over there, across the Kennedy X-Way, looking all curvy and rounded.

There are lots of curve puns, oval jokes, and round remarks to be made about 727 West Madison, the 44-story apartment tower from Fifield Companies and F&F Realty. And that’s a good thing; it means the unique shape of this 492-unit apartment tower along the Kennedy Expressway in the Greektown section of the West Loop is coming into clear view. The ellipse eclipses all those squares and rectangles out there. We need some of this variety in our new architecture.

We’re counting Lendlease’s progress at about 15 stories to date. A little simple math tells you that puts them about one-third of the way to the top of the FitzGerald-designed building. And the thought of stacking two more of what’s already built gives you an idea of just how tall 727 West Madison will really be.

 

So this is what One South Halsted looks like from the ground

727 West Madison

727 West Madison, seen here from a *bit* of elevation, is starting to grow in the West Loop.

There are two things we need to get used to about One South Halsted around the B.U.C. South Loop Bureau. First, we no longer have our stellar overhead perspective of the 44-story apartment tower from Fifield Companies and F&F Realty. And second, it looks like we’ll need to stop using One South Halsted as a moniker, as it appears 727 West Madison is not only the address, but the name, of the project. No one asked us, but the extra syllables from that pair of 7s just don’t flow well as when you have a one-word number in the there. “One” plays. “One” works. Oh well. We’ll adjust.

727 West Madison

A June view of 727 West Madison from the original B.U.C. HQ. #neverforget

We took a walk around One Sou— ugh, See? There I go again — 727 West Madison last week to check on Lendlease’s progress, and the curvyness of the tower’s elliptical shape is coming into view. The tower itself is heading toward the sixth floor, while the podium is up and off the ground as well.

If you’ve gotten the feeling that curved shape is becoming a trend along the West Loop section of the Kennedy Expressway, you’re on to something. 727 West Madison joins The Parker Fulton Market in adding some rounded lines to all the right angles in the neighborhood. A brief conversation with Steve McFadden at design firm FitzGerald reveals he went with the elliptical shape to allow extra interior space within the units along those long east and west facings. Little known fact: There was to be a circular ramp leading in and out of the parking podium in the original plans (one of which went to City Council way back in October of 2012; 727 West Madison has been in the works for quite some time!) but that was rejected in favor of an easier-to-maneuver straight ramp.

The long-awaited One South Halsted tower crane is up

727 West Madison tower crane

There it is, finally! One South Halsted put up a tower crane for me.

727 West Madison tower crane

Old Glory, and a Glorious Golden Tower Crane.

The shiny yellow tower crane stub that tantalized us for so long at One South Halsted has finally blossomed into a full-blown Liebherr 316-EC-H 12 crane, spreading joy and heavy materials throughout the Greektown neighborhood of the West Loop.

Twitter user @iYarn let us know last week while we were enjoying the Tower Cranes of London that assembly had started, and the tower crane was completed and operational upon our return. Sorry to have missed it, but the hours of entertainment it’ll provide will more than make up for that disappointment.

One South Halsted builds a tower crane

Many thanks to Adebayo Onigbanjo (Twitter user @iyarn) for keeping me up to speed on the tower crane at One South Halsted. These photos are from Thursday; alas, the excitement of London got the better of my attention span, so by now, I presume the crane is fully assembled and lifting the heavy stuff.

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.

One South Halsted tower crane stub from the ground, just because

You’ve seen the overhead shots. Now, the view from street level.

One South Halsted and its shiny yellow tower crane (stub).

 

One South Halsted is planting a beautiful yellow tower crane, and all is right with the world

Guess what we’re getting, West Loop! A shiny yellow Liebherr 316-EC-H 12 tower crane (stub), courtesy of One South Halsted.