High Flying

Chicago tops pre-recession tower crane count

Development Midwest
Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Bennett Park in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. (Courtesy Related Midwest)
Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Bennett Park in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. (Courtesy Related Midwest)

With the installation of a tower crane at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Bennett Park, Chicago has set a post-recession record for the number of tower cranes in the city. With the 29 tower cranes currently operating in Chicago, with seven more approved and pending installation, One Bennett Park’s crane is the 48th tower crane to operate in the city in 2016. That is a full 31 more than were used in 2011.

Along with the tower cranes going up, the Department of Buildings has issued 39,815 building permits in 2016, a five-year record. To do so the city has had to hire eight new inspectors and two new structural engineers thus far, with 11 more inspectors expected to be hired by the end of the year. Part of the increase in issued permits has to do with recent reforms by the building department to speed up the process. These reforms include the issuance of Code Memorandums in order to deal with new technologies and modernizations yet to be addressed in the building code, expansion of certified corrections and self-certification, and the in-house review of all foundation permits. The time it takes to be issued a building permit has been cut down by as much as eight weeks in some cases.

The 67-story One Bennett Park, being developed by Related Midwest, will be the tallest completely residential tower in Chicago at 836 feet tall. Located near East of Michigan Avenue in the affluent Streeterville neighborhood, the tower will include a 1.7-acre public park designed by famed landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.

“The tower cranes seen across Chicago’s skyline mean one thing—economic opportunities that reach neighborhoods across the city,” Chicago Mayor Emanuel said at a site visit to One Bennet Park earlier this week. “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.”

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