W.E. O’Neil raises the tower crane at 1371 West Randolph

Chicago made it back to double digits Thursday, as W.E. O’Neil finished erecting the city’s 10th active tower crane at 1371 West Randolph Street in the West Loop. That crane will build the seven-story parking garage for the Plumbers Local 130, on what used to be a portion of their surface parking lot.

I would once again like to point out that those guys up there, especially out on the jib, are in no danger of losing their jobs to me.

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Onni Group plants a tower crane at 354 North Union

Tuesday, right here in this very space, I pointed out the verticality Onni Group was achieving at 354 North Union despite not having the tower crane in place yet. Perhaps I could have waited two more days . . .

This will be the 11th tower crane in Chicago if it’s fully erected before any of the topped-out projects (Parq Fulton, Evo Union Park, One Chicago, UI Health) take theirs down.

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W.E. O’Neil plants a tower crane stub at 1371 West Randolph

This week-old stub at 1371 West Randolph will build a parking garage.

As one Randolph Street tower crane goes, so comes another.

The Plumbers Union 130 parking garage has a tower crane stub in the ground as of last Monday, according to the kind folks on site from W.E. O’Neil. The rest of the crane should be up by the end of this week, allowing Chicago to crawl back into double digits.

Not sure why double digits is such a big deal to me, other than indicating some sort of threshold for where we “should” or “shouldn’t” be, tower-cranewise. It means nothing substantial, really. However, I scored in double digits exactly once in my high school basketball career, and that IS important.

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Chicago’s July 2021 Tower Crane Survey clings desperately to double digits

We are down to 10 active tower cranes in Chicago. Not saying sound the alarm, but I’d know where the panic button is, just in case.

Paying close attention to Randolph Street. 609 West Randolph has been topped out for awhile, so that crane could come down by the time I type this sentence. Especially the way I type. 1400 West Randolph (Parq Fulton) and 1454 West Randolph (Evo Union Park) both celebrated topping out last week, so the days for those two cranes are numbered. There’s still no sign of 178 West Randolph getting started, despite its tower crane permit from March 2020. The good news is, the Plumbers Union parking garage at 1371 should get a crane this month.

We could also get a new crane at 354 North Union during July. It was permitted in May. Plus, a full building permit was issued in June for 345 North Morgan, so the tower crane permit issued for that in March 2020 (as was the foundation permit) will soon be put to use. Before July ends though? We’ll have to wait and see.

Two tower cranes, at 1043 Fulton and 320 South Canal, have been taken down since the June survey.

Where are the tower cranes?

  • West Loop – 2 (609 W Randolph and Parq Fulton)
  • River North – 2 (Salesforce Tower and One Chicago)
  • Illinois Medical District – 2 (UI Health and gateway Apartments)
  • West Town – 1 (Evo Union Park)
  • Gold Coast – 1 (Gild Chicago)
  • The Loop – 1 (300 North Michigan)
  • Portage Park – 1 (Clarendale Six Corners)

What are they building?

  • Residential – 6.5
  • Office – 2
  • Medical – 1 (UI Health)
  • Hotel – .5 (300 North Michigan Hotel/Residential)

Who has tower cranes?

  • Power Construction – 4
  • Skender Construction – 1 (609 West Randolph)
  • Ryan Companies – 1 (Clarendale Portage Park)
  • Global Builders – 1 (Gateway Apartments)
  • Pepper Construction – 1 (UI Health)
  • Walsh Construction – 1 (Salesforce Tower)
  • Linn-Mathes – 1 (300 North Michigan)

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A tower crane, by many other names, comes down from Fulton Market.

See over there? That used to be a tower crane.

Remove 1043 Fulton form Chicago’s active tower crane list. You can also remove 1025 West Fulton, 237 North Aberdeen, 1045 West Fulton, and 1045 On Fulton, since all those monikers have been used for this property. (Not this property, though.)

No matter the name, Power Construction topped out the 12-story building in May, and now the tower crane is being disassembled and removed from the site. Still waiting on the first signs of curtain-wall glass.

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Chicago’s June 2021 Tower Crane Count goes all the way past 11. To 12.

Don’t know why the Spinal Tap joke didn’t occur to me last month, when we had 11 tower cranes. My bad. I’ve let you all down.

We lost none of our cranes since last month, and added one, at The Gateway Apartments (2050 West Ogden) in the Illinois Medical District. We also picked up two new permits: 354 North Union and 1371 West Randolph. And we’re holding out hope that 1000M gets going again soon. As for the other outstanding permits (345 North Morgan, 178 West Randolph, and 320 South Clinton)? Your guess is as good as mine.

Where are the tower cranes?

  • West Loop – 4
  • Illinois Medical District – 2
  • River North – 2
  • One each – The Loop (300 North Michigan); West Town (1454 West Randolph); Portage Park (Clarendale Six Corners); Gold Coast (Gild Chicago)

What are they building?

  • Residential – 6.5 (300 North Michigan is half res/half hotel)
  • Hotel – .5 (300 North Michigan)
  • Office – 4
  • Medical – 1 (UI Health)

Who has them?

  • Power Construction – 5
  • One each – Linn-Mathes (300 North Michigan); Clark Construction (320 South Canal); Skender (609 West Randolph); Ryan Companies (Clarendale Six Corners); Walsh Construction (Salesforce Tower); Global Builders (2050 West Ogden); Pepper Construction (UI Health)

Here’s a 12-pack for ya:

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Tower Crane Drone Video from Global Builders

Drones are cool. Tower cranes are cool. Combine the two, and it’s cool squared, times two, to the third power. That’s how math works.

Global Builders put together a drone video of their tower crane going up at 2050 West Ogden in the Illinois Medical District.

Check it out. (I need to get me one of those. A drone, not a tower crane. Although . . .)

A Sears Tower Tower Crane Survey

Visits to Skydeck aren’t quite back to pre-pandemic normal. I usually go up there and spend a couple hours taking pictures of everything I see. Three times. Can’t do that anymore. So I got what I could remember I wanted to get.

Like tower cranes. Some of them, anyway.

One of the secrets to taking photos from Skydeck is avoiding the bad windows. Much of what looks like smooth, clear glass will distort your pictures. Short on time, I failed to be selective. I also failed to be prepared.

You’ll see what I mean.

Clarendale Six Corners is missing; it’s too far away. I also tried to see the tower crane in Oak Park, but had no luck. Oh for a tripod, more time, and something ridiculous like a 1000mm zoom lens.

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Make it 12: The stub at 2050 West Ogden has sprouted a tower crane

The wait is over.

May’s 12th tower crane is up and ready for a workout at The Gateway Apartments. Now Global Builders can begin verticality on the 11-story, 161-unit building.

Got there a little late Friday, as only the finishing touches remained. No matter. I still took too many pics.



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