The first of many North Union tower cranes is up at 920 North Wells

Not only is the tower crane up at 920 North Wells, but there’s construction fencing up in the next block south on Wells Street. Call it 868 North Wells or 210 West Chestnut, but you better call it soon, because that fence means demolition is imminent for the former Irwin A Moon building on the Moody Bible Institute campus. Demolishing it will make room for 878 North Wells, the 25-story, 428-unit second tower on JDL Development’s North Union agenda. All we need do now is watch for the demo permit.

Tower crane enthusiasts are salivating.

Today’s gallery is a two-fer. You get to see 920’s brand-spankin’-new tower crane, and you get a few shots thrown in of 868 before its demise. Sorry I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the sun to show up. Enjoy.


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Embry plants a tower crane at 21 North May

Embry, 21 North May, West Loop
The Embry tower crane stub. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.

The tower crane has been planted, and planted deep, at Embry in the West Loop. So deep, in fact, that I not been tipped off to the first segment being delivered (Thanks, @jrock1449!) I might have walked past the site without noticing it.

Okay, that’s ridiculous. I definitely would have still peered through the fence to see what was going on. But the crane really is planted deep in the ground, so the top base section sits below the height of the construction fence.

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732 West Randolph makes its tower crane official

Like an injured center, it was tall but unable to play. But this past weekend, the rest of the tower crane went up at 732 West Randolph. I included it in the June survey, since the tower had been erected.

Check out a few shots of people in high places who need not worry about me coming for their jobs:

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920 North Wells, in serious Not Messing Around mode, plants a tower crane

The way 920 North Wells keeps crashing through milestones, I’m worried if I blink, it’ll be done. It’s latest trick is planting the tower crane stub, which was permitted May 17. Keep an eye out, as it’s likely, the way things are going, for the tower crane to be completely erected by the end of this week.

In the meantime, have a whole mess o’ photos of a tower crane base at a construction site. (iPhones come in handy for peeking over fences)

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OOPS! I missed the lighted tower crane at Big Deahl

How cool is this crane at The Seng/Common Lincoln Park?!

I should have known this sooner so I could make a Big Deahl out of it.

This is my apology to Power Construction, Structured Development, GREC Architects, and everyone else affiliated with construction on The Seng and Common Lincoln Park. While I was bemoaning only having one lighted tower crane in Chicago, we actually had two of them. This one at 853 West Blackhawk being the second one.

I’ll get more photos of it ASAP, but in the meantime, I’m sorry, all. This sucker is cool, and I missed it. Once I’m forgiven, I’ll ask about lighting up the other Big Deahl crane at 1475 North Kingsbury… (too soon? pushing my luck?)

One of you up there in those existing towers should have turned me on to this. Shame. Shout-out to Jimmy Freer for clueing me in on Facebook.

Chicago opens June with 19 tower cranes in the air

The first two of three tower cranes at the Obama Presidential Center.

Chicago has 19 active tower cranes in the sky to begin the month of June, 2022, as of the end of Memorial Day weekend. The variable here is 513 South Damen. The crane was still up Sunday, but the tower has been topped out, and it’s *slightly* possible it has started its descent before June 1. But it’s being included in the count as “active.”


Okay, *two* variables. 732 West Randolph wasn’t completely erected as of Sunday, but we’re counting that one as a June crane.

Where are the cranes?

West Loop – 6
South Loop – 3
Near North – 3
Woodlawn – 2
Five “neighborhoods” have one crane each: Illinois Medical District (513 South Damen); Fulton River District (354 North Union); Lake View (3501 North Halsted); River North (HUGO); Irving Park (4445 W Irving Park)

What are they building?

Residential – 14(wow)
Medical – 2
Cultural Institutions – 2
Office – 1 (732 West Randolph)

How many cranes are lit up at night?

Just one: 354 North Union

This month, we’re starting up north and heading south:

4445 West Irving Park
3501 North Halsted
1475 North Kingsbury and 853 West Blackhawk (Big Deahl)
808 North Cleveland
751 North Hudson (HUGO)
354 North Union
166 North Aberdeen
164 North Peoria (900 Randolph)
160 North Elizabeth
160 North Morgan
732 West Randolph
1044 West Van Buren
513 South Damen
234 West Polk (The Reed at Southbank)
1000 South Michigan (1000M)
1400 South Wabash
6001 South Stony Island (The Obama Presidential Center)

As always, the Building Up Chicago Tower Crane Survey is not a scientific poll. If I’ve missed any, hit me up. And if you know of a tower crane out in the ‘burbs, let me know about those too. I hope to get to the outskirts some time soon.

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The second tower crane is up at Big Deahl

Power Construction and Central Contractors Service were out in the elements (it was a beautiful day) Thursday erecting the second tower crane at the Big Deahl development. While the first crane builds The Seng and Common Lincoln Park, this second rig will handle the taller task of 1475 North Kingsbury.

Dedicated crane chaser that I am, I stopped by here twice on Thursday to supervise things. As an added bonus, I have a few progress shots of The Seng and Common Lincoln Park too.


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160 North Morgan builds itself a tower crane

Chicago saw three tower cranes erected last week as the city continues to overcome that five-count from a few months back.

One of the new ones is a shiny yellow Liebherr number at Sterling Bay’s 160 North Morgan. I dropped by twice on Thursday to check it out. I would have stayed all day, but tower cranes take a looooong time to go up safely, and there are a lot of lulls in the action. Unless, of course, you’re part of the crews from Walsh Construction and LaGrange Crane. For them, assembly action never slows down.

Bet you’ve never seen this many photos of a tower crane that wasn’t even half built yet. Unless it was another post on this blog… but tower crane builds deserve this much attention.


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1044 West Van Buren erects the first of the week’s three tower cranes

Tandem and Adjustable Concrete Construction got the tower crane in the air at 1044 West Van Buren early last week. It would kick off a very busy few days, crane-wise. And it means this 18-story apartment tower by Antunovich Associates can start going vertical. And we’re all about the verticality.

I got my first look at the new rig Thursday.

732 West Randolph plants yet another tower crane along Randolph Street

The base section of a tower crane was set in pace Thursday at 732 West Randolph.

What an embarrassment of tower-crane riches we’ve along Randolph Street in the West Loop. Even though recent rigs at 609, 1371, 1400 and 1454 are gone, we have cranes operating at the corners of Randolph and Peoria (900 Randolph), Randolph and Aberdeen (166 North Aberdeen), and Randolph and Elizabeth (160 North Elizabeth.)

And now, 732 West Randolph has entered the chat. Thursday, general contractor Maris Construction and concrete contractor Pepper Construction planted the base for a tower crane that will build an eight-story (plus basement) office building. Designed by Hirsch MPG, 732 will connect on its first six floors with 730 West Randolph next door, and will include a rooftop deck and basement fitness center.

732 West Randolph got its first construction permit way back on March 03, 2020, as a renovation/alteration permit to add the eight-story building to the aforementioned six-story building at 730 West. A revised New Construction permit was issued September 23 of 2022. Both of those permits were reinstated in August of last year, and the tower crane was permitted February 1 of this year.

As you can see, work is in progress. All that rebar around the base of the crane will be smothered in concrete for the crane foundation on Monday.

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