Blogging the Burbs: Optima Verdana in Wilmette

This blog has a Category and a Tag for every Chicago suburb we’ve visited to check out a tower crane. We don’t have that many. Adventures to the suburbs are fun, and we’d love to take more, so let us know if you’re working on, commuting past, or living near a construction site with a crane, and we’ll get to them as soon as we can. (Also let us know where to grab breakfast.)

I did that thing I sometimes do where I go to a suburb and seek out tower cranes. Except I knew about this one already, thanks to the fine folks at Central Contractors Service. They let me know a couple months back that they had erected tower crane in Wilmette. A quick UP-N Metra ride up there drops you off right in the middle of the construction site (don’t take me literally. Ever.) and I snapped a few shots.

Being built is Optima Verdana. I last checked out an Optima joint back in May of 2021, when Optima Lakeview was in progress. Optima Verdana is a 100-unit apartment building going up on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Green Bay Road. There will be about 200 parking spaces, with most of them dedicated to residents, and about 20% of them for the retail space (8,000sf) at street level. Remember, we’re in the burbs now, not Chicago, so different town, different rules.

As this is Wilmette, I don’t have access to the building permits (I mean, I *probably* do, I just don’t know where to look) but I suspect Optima Verdana is another keep-it-all-in-house special, where Optima serves as developer, design architect, and general contractor. Cut out those middlemen whenever you can, folks.

Anyway, here are a few photos of still-below-street-level progress:

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Construction Progress: Optima II surpasses Optima

Optima Center Chicago II

Optima Center Chicago II stands up on its heels, accentuating the height difference between it and Little Brother to its right.

It was never a matter of if Optima II would rise higher than its predecessor, Optima Chicago Center, but a matter of when. That’s because we knew from the get-go that Optima Chicago Center II, at 220 East Illinois Street in Streeterville, was expected to rise a full 12 floors higher than the first tower, at 200 East. And 54 stories opposed to 42 stories, when compared apples-to-apples (apartment tower-to-apartment tower, in this case) will always win the height battle.

All that math a side, it’s been several weeks since 220 caught and passed 200, on its way to the aforementioned 54 floors (and 381 apartments.) Optima Chicago Center II is a design, development, and construction project of the multi-talented Optima, Inc.

The Green Green Glass of Home: Optima Chicago Center II

Optima Chicago Center II

The greenish upper cladding of Optima Chicago Center II. Kinda looks like the Chicago River.

Located at 220 East Illinois Street in Streeterville, Optima Chicago Center II will be a 54-story, 381-unit apartment tower. It was designed by Optima, Inc., and is being developed and built by Optima. because why pay a bunch of other companies to do the things you can do yourself? Its red and green glass will fit wonderfully beside its blue and black glass neighbor and predecessor, Optima Chicago Center.

Optima Chicago Center II


More Photos Than I Know What To Do With: Optima II

Talk about multi-tasking.

This is Optima Chicago Center II. Designed by David Hovey of Optima. Optima is also the developer, and the general contractor. Keeping it in-house to the extreme.

Located at 220 East Illinois Street in Streeterville, Optima Chicago Center II will be a 54-story, 381-unit apartment tower. It sits next to Optima Chicago Center, next door at 200 East Illinois Street. The first Optima tower stands 42 stories tall, and is also a rental building, with 325 apartments. It opened to residents in 2013.