111 West Wacker Gets Its Crane On [updated]

111 West Wacker

111 West Wacker

We’ve been wondering lately when a crane will rise alongside 111 West Wacker to help finally complete that building.

As hinted at by signs on the property reading “At Long Last,” 111 is long overdue. It rose to 26 stories years ago before being abandoned as a skeleton hunched along the Chicago River.  In the summer of 2012 Related Midwest bought the dead project and started breathing life into it again, as a smaller, more realistic skyscraper.

Since then, workers have been hammering away at the concrete skeleton so it can support a new apartment tower configuration on top.  When it’s done, it will be 59 stories instead of 92.

Last week we noted that the city recently issued permits for a tower crane to be erected on the site — a sure sign of impending vertical progress.  And yesterday, wandering past the site on Wacker Drive, we saw that the pedestrian barrier has been moved outward, and a stub of a crane is starting to grow.

Good news for skyscraper nerds, architecture enthusiasts, and any Chicagoan who was embarrassed overhearing tour guides explaining the dead half-tower to tourists on river cruises.

Updated: February 14, 2013 @ 2:00pm

We have confirmed that the tower crane will be fully installed over this weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday.


Author: Editor

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

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  1. Interesting that the crane isn’t going where the old one was within the building.

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    • Editor

      My guess is that with the old design, the crane had to be placed near the back because it would have been secured to the tower, which was set back from the river. On the new design, the residential component takes up the entire building footprint, so the crane could go more places.

      Why on the drive is better than the other location — I’m not sure. The first thing that leaps to mind is that it’s easier to get material off of trucks, but then again — it’s a crane. It can reach the whole site anyway.

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      • What’s wild about the crane is that it does not sit on a regular concrete pad – it is on two big concrete pillars that are angled out over a part of Wacker Drive. I have never seen a crane placed this way. It is worth a photo if anyone is nearby.

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        • Editor

          That does sound cool. Is it visible from Upper Wacker, or do we have to descend into the bowels of the Drive to see it?

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