Video and pics: Helicopter Lift at Water Tower Place

A sky crane in action.Several streets in the Gold Coast were shut down this morning so that new HVAC units could be lifted to the roof of Water Tower Place (845 North Michigan Avenue).

The sky crane picked up the HVAC units one at a time from the ball field at nearby Lake Shore Park, ferried them down Chicago Avenue, and then up to the top of the skyscraper.  Getting them over that lip is quite a feat, as it is 1,059 feet high.

The original lift was scheduled for January 23, 2010 but had to be postponed a week because of bad weather.

Helicopter lifts are much like baseball games — simultaneously boring and fascinating.  I made a video of a portion of the lift to give you an idea what it looks like. I didn’t bother shooting the transport of all six giant silver boxes.

More pictures follow the video.  Click on them to enlarge.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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