Construction Update
Guess Who Is Chicago’s #1 Crane Fan

For years we’ve been telling you that the number of cranes swinging around a city’s skyline is a good indication of that town’s economic health.  It turns out we’re not the only ones who see it that way.

Rahm Emanuel at 500 North Lake Shore Drive

Left to right: Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest; Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Commissioner Judy Frydland, Department of Buildings; Don Biernacki, senior vice president of construction, Related Midwest; Trinidad Vega, Lend Lease.

Hizzoner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, held a news conference yesterday to boast about the number of cranes operating in the Chicago skies.  How many are there?  Including the newest crane, at 451 East Grand in Streeterville, a total of 33 tower cranes went up in Chicago so far this year.  If you want to include cranes that went up before this year, but operated into 2016, this year has seen 48 cranes in the Chicago sky.  That compares with 17 just five years ago.

“The tower cranes seen across Chicago’s skyline mean one thing – economic opportunities that reach neighborhoods across the city,” Mayor Emanuel said. “As Chicago’s economy continues to gain strength, City Hall will continue to partner with all businesses, big and small, to keep the progress going.”

Of the 48, 29 are still hard at work picking things up, putting things down, and generally behaving crane-like.

Mr. Emanuel evoked his love of cranes from the party deck at 500 Lake Shore Drive, overlooking the construction site for One Bennett Park, the new Gothamish condo/apartment sammitch designed by Robert A.M. Stern for Related Midwest.  When it finally reaches 836 feet tall, it will be the tallest all-residential building in the city.  First move-ins are expected in 2018.

Related Midwest released some new renderings of the project, which includes Bennett Park, a 1.7-acre privately-owned public park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh.  He’s another New Yorker, but he’s already put his stamp on Chicago through such projects as The 606, and Maggie Daley Park.

Location: 451 East Grand Avenue, Streeterville

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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