150 North Riverside. November Update

150 N Riverside

River Point and 150 North Riverside continue to grow up together, like your new neighbors’ kids.

A minor setback has done little to slow down progress at 150 North Riverside. The first Monday of November shows 14 (and a half?) floors have been added atop the upside-down-pyramid-shaped base. I left the house for work without my camera, but seeing the way the sun was hitting the tower, I whipped out the ever-present iPhone and snapped a few shots on the way to the brown line.

Did you need an update? Probably not. Can I walk by on a morning this beautiful without taking pictures? Absolutely not. So here you go…

I don’t want you to like it. I want you to read it.

I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again.

Having a camera doesn’t make me a “photographer.”

Having a bat doesn’t make me a “baseball player.”

Having a blog doesn’t make me a “writer.”

Occasionally, I have a thought I wish someone else would hear. But since I don’t think out loud, I write things down. And if I like what I’ve written, I put it into blog form.

If I want more people to see that blog post, I share it on various platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, all that.

I need to stop posting them on Facebook. I hate Facebook more and more each day. For the usual reasons. Too many food pictures, too many cat updates, too many political opinions. Also, no one pays attention to Facebook.

Let me explain.

I post something from my blog on Facebook. 8 people click the “LIKE” button. That’s cool. 8 people like my post. Now, I’ve gotten over the numbers, so as not to feel self-conscious that less than 6% of my Facebook friends liked my post. No, that doesn’t bother me.

Here’s what bothers me: my blogging platform let’s me track metrics. And it tells me that ONE view on my blog has come through Facebook. ONE. That likely means, of the 8 people who clicked “LIKE” on my post, only ONE of them actually clicked the link to my blog. Never mind how many actually read the post; only one person clicked the link.

The blog post I linked to on Facebook is content. It isn’t a selfie. It isn’t a status update. It isn’t a joke. It’s content. I didn’t post it so you would click “LIKE.” I posted it because I want you to read it. Granted, I want you to read it *and* like it, but reading it is the most important thing. If you don’t like it, that’s something I can live with.

Stop doing that. Seeing that you liked my post without reading it doesn’t do anything for me. It does nothing for anyone. (I have to assume that if you do that with my posts, you’re doing it for others’ posts as well.) Save your likes for recipes and your grandma’s health updates. Those deserve likes. Content deserves to be read, or ignored. One or the other. I’d rather you ignore my post, than “LIKE” it without reading it.


Bird-Watching Above Chicago

150 N Riverside Plaza

150 North Riverside.

They seem to have no migration habits. In the cold, the heat, the sun, wind, and snow, they’re out there, braving the elements. Certainly, they’re more easily spotted in daylight, but you can find them at night, if you know where to look. Some are visible for miles; others are lost in the canyons of the big city. Thousands of us walk, run, ride, and drive past them every day, not noticing their presence. But if you look towards the sky, away from your phones, away from the traffic, you’re sure to see them.

The Crane. The Official State Bird of Progress. Whether it’s a tower you aspire to create, or roadway, even a walkway, you’ll need them. They’ll flock to your site by truck, some even by barge. But make no mistake: If you want to build it, you’ll need them to come.

They work quietly, above the fray, above the noise emanating from the streets and lots below. Lifting, twisting, placing, like giant storks delivering precious babies into the waiting arms of construction crews eager to finish another story. Yet each having a story all their own.

Optima II

A tower crane takes root and begins sprouting at Optima II, 220 East Illinois.

Make no mistake, their visits here are cyclical. In good times, as we’re seeing in recent months, they pop up all over town, leaving some to wonder if the city, even this mighty city, is capable of supporting such numbers. Yet when hard times fall on us, we think we’ll never see them in such quantity again.

How long can Chicago sustain the current feeding frenzy these cranes are enjoying? This flock may only hang around — and over — Chicago as long as the housing market continues to scream “BUILD” at local developers. Get out your binoculars and zoom lenses, and let’s enjoy them while they’re here.

150 North Riverside Crew Demonstrates Why I’m Not in Construction


150 North Riverside lead photo

No. Just…no.


Kudos to the crews from Clark Construction here at 150 North Riverside, and everyone else in the construction industry, willing to climb to such heights so we all have places to live, work, and play.

Now, enjoy some photos.


1000 South Clark Street – From Dirt to Done

1000 South Clark 8-14

1000 South Clark Street in August of 2014, as the first crews and equipment got to work.

Dirt to done. Start to finish. Rendering to dwelling. That’s what I’ve been trying to capture over the past 15 or so months. Get to a proposed construction site while there are still cars parked in the lot, or when it’s mostly dirt, or even when the old buildings are still standing. Then watch things progress. Watch the caissons being drilled, see the foundations dug and poured, catch the first steel beams and glass windows. Watch the tower crane go up, then watch it come down.

1000 South Clark Street is among the projects I got to fairly early in the construction process. So early, in fact, that I thought the trucks parked in the dirt had no significance. Just parked there from other sites? (I had a lot to learn.)

1000 South Clark 12-14

1000 South Clark in early December, 2014. The entire construction site now fully involved.

When the tower cranes show up, then it’s a party. Glass is a big deal. As the outer shell rises, and windows are installed on the lower floors, working upwards.

1000 South Clark 6-15

Late June, 2015. Still lifting materials to height.

A building tops out, while glass installation continues. Once the exterior is completed, the focus moves to getting the interior ready for tenants or residents. Not as much fun to watch from the outside world, but a sure sign your building in grown up.

1000 South Clark has topped out, and the tower crane has moved on.

September 2015. 1000 South Clark has topped out, and the tower crane has moved on.

What’s left to be done? Perhaps landscaping, parking areas. There’s still plenty to see, you just won’t see it by looking up.

1000 South Clark ground level

From street level, there’s clearly much to be done even though 1000 South Clark has topped out.

1000 South Clark is on target for completion in February 2016. I’ll be back to get pictures of the fully-finished tower. Perhaps even from the inside. Looks like the kind of place where you’d enjoy living? Check out their website here.

150 North Riverside, Cont’d

150 North Riverside as of Monday, September 21.

150 North Riverside as of Monday, September 21.

You didn’t ask me for more pictures of 150 North Riverside, but they’re still building, so…

Checking up on the Riverbend Three

The Riverbend Three

The Riverbend Three

I wasn’t away for long, but I was away. And in the construction trade, a week out of The Loop (no pun intended) means things will look very different the next time you drop by.

I may not share pictures on a daily basis from 150 N. Riverside, et al, but rest assured, I take ’em daily. So missing a week’s worth of progress on The Riverbend Three was quite noticeable. Not just at 150, but at the now-topped-out Wolf Point West, and the tower at River Point as well. So let’s get you caught up.

150 N Riverside

150 N Riverside, starting to head straight skyward.

That sweet tapering steel work at 150 North Riverside we’ve all been gawking at for the past several weeks has stopped flaring outward and is going vertical. Remember, this will grow to 54 stories when all is said and done, some time in early 2017.

150 N Riverside

On the last day of August, before that first layer of vertical steel.

That means we still have a lot of time to watch the core grow, followed by additional iron work as this glorious office tower continues to sprout skyward.

River Point, 444 West Lake Street

River Point, at 444 W Lake Street, has started adding glass.

River Point, 444 West Lake Street, at night

River Point at night.

The excitement at River Point (444 West Lake Street) not only involves the continuing challenge to gravity, but also the replacement of its shroud of secrecy with gleaming glass. That’s especially fun to watch on a building that curves the way River Point curves. If you look to the right end of said glass, there appears to be the beginnings of an archway similar to that facing the Chicago River. I can root against the Cardinals while still liking those archways, right? It’s not like I prefer St Louis-style ribs to Chicago pizza.

And while I wish I could see what’s going on within the structure work during the day, the view of River Point at night makes all the extra clothing seem worth it. It looks like a giant luminary floating down the Chicago River.

Wolf Point West

The 48-story Wolf Point West

Expected to open this Fall, there remains a considerable amount of work to be done on Wolf Point West, but the 48-story rental tower topped out back in July, and the tower crane came down just a couple weeks ago. Those are nice balconies, but with two more towers coming in the Wolf Point project, will there be views left to enjoy?

There was a “hard-hat tour” of Wolf Point West back in August, and I missed it. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat put the event together in conjunction with the builder, McHugh Construction. Invitees got to put on hard hats and goggles and take photos, not only of the tower and its interior, but also of the views looking out across Chicago and the Chicago River. I’m still bummed I couldn’t be there.

The uppermost floors of Wolf Point West await glass.

The uppermost floors of Wolf Point West await glass.

Remember, with 150 North Riverside expected to be complete in 2017, and two more towers still to come at Wolf Point, the river bend will be an active construction site for years to come. Stay tuned.