For the past year, if you wanted to be someplace in downtown Chicago that simply tingled with promise, progress, and prosperity, that place was the confluence of the Main and North Branches of the Chicago River. Simultaneously, bKL’s Wolf Point West was going up, CDOT’s Riverwalk was being expanded, Pickard Chilton’s River Point stretched upward, and Goettsch’s 150 North Riverside started its impossible pirouette between the train tracks. Sure, it was loud. But it was a good kind of loud. The kind of loud that rings in your ears after a Springsteen concert and you have to shout your order to the waitress at the diner on the way home.
Things are getting quieter in Confluenceville these days. The pounding of jack and jillhammers of Wolf Point West has given way to the grunting of furniture movers. And things are less swinging over at River Point, too. As West Loop Spy Kurt shows us in the photos he dropped into our tip line — The crane has come down from 444 West Lake.
According to the hardhats gathered in neighborhood bars, this is the most dangerous part of the process. Or so they told the pretty barkeep they may have been trying to impress. Either way, it’s a great event for the development of downtown Chicago, where a patch of riparian gravel has been transformed into a riverside park and office tower.
In a matter of months, the same thing will happen next door at 150 North Riverside, and the Riverwalk construction will wrap up. By this time next year, this corner will once again thrum to the sound of taxi horns and tour boats, and the area will look like it’s always been this way.