Essex on the Park enters the Roaring Twenties

Essex on the Park February 2018

Floor markings on the skip show Essex on the Park progress has reached beyond the 20th floor.

Stories, that is. The 20s of the eventual 56 stories to which Essex on the Park will rise.

Power Construction has the new apartment tower at 808 South Michigan Avenue up to the 26th-or-so floor. We know this because level numbers can be seen on the “skip” hoist at the front of the site. That’s an ideal way for us looky-lous to track height progress. It also means Power is dangerously close to the half-way point of Hartshorne Plunkard Associates’ 56-story design.


Cranes Without Context: Oxford, England Edition

Thanks to Cranes Without Context, I can finally start doing something with hundreds of photos from our May visit to England. You’ve seen posts from London; we also stopped in Leeds and Oxford.

Sure, Oxford has all that Harry Potter stuff, if you’re into that sort of thing. I concentrated on the old architecture, and these few tower cranes. That’s right, you heard me: TOWER CRANES > HARRY POTTER.

Addition by subtraction at 168 North Michigan

Back in July, the Chicago Plan Commission approved plans to finally get the renovation of the former Atlantic Bank Building at 168 North Michigan Avenue restarted. The design to turn the building into a 210-room hotel, by Hirsch Associates Architects, calls for five additional floors to be added to the existing structure. But first, the 13th floor penthouse and everything occupying the roof has to be removed, and that work is taking place now on 168 North Michigan’s rooftop.

W.E. O’Neil is the general contractor (have you checked out the job they did at LondonHouse?!) on the renovations, having replaced the original contractor back in May.

168 North Michigan

The renovation permit, allowing for removal of the 13th floor penthouse.

168 North Michigan

This is what the rooftop looked like in July.

168 North Michigan

As of this week, there isn’t much left up there.

168 North Michigan

A look from street level.


Chicago Plan Commission Approves Improving 168 North Michigan

168 North Michigan

The former Atlantic Bank Building, at 168 North Michigan Avenue.

It was gonna be fixed up. Then it stopped. Now it’s on again. And then some.

168 North Michigan Avenue hasn’t been one of the more glamorous buildings along the Magnificent Mile’s southern counterpart. (Millennium Mile? Cultural Mile?) The former Atlantic Bank Building was sold to its current owner, Oxford Hotels & Resorts back in December. That transaction followed the planned renovation of the building that started, then stalled, after a permit was issued in May of 2014.

The City of Chicago filed two new permits in May of this year, reflecting the new ownership, and also changing the general contractor to W.E. O’Neil.

And then last week, the Chicago Plan Commission approved not only the continuation of the renovation project, but also the addition of five more floors atop the existing 12, turning 168 North Michigan into a 210-room hotel. Chicago’s Hirsch Associates Architects designed the new portion.

“We are excited about turning a building that has sat vacant and in a state of disrepair for many years into a vibrant and exciting addition to Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park,” Hirsch Associates president Howard Hirsch told me. “The yet un-named hotel will have 210 rooms and a 2-story restaurant facing Michigan Avenue with a fully operable facade. The original building was designed by Marshall and Fox, and the new design restores the existing Terra-Cotta facade while adding a modern five-story addition to the top, and weaving the modern glass element throughout. Demolition and facade restoration is in progress. Permit for addition and interior work has been submitted to the City. Working towards a Spring 2018 opening.”

Mr. Hirsch sent a few renderings to share with you of the project, which, as he said, is already being renovated.