Alta Roosevelt Coming to Big South Loop Dirt Lot

Alta Roosevelt May 2014

The Alta Roosevelt lot in the background, way back in May of 2014. I took this from the ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. The construction equipment was from the early work on the British School.

They say a watched pot never boils.

Sadly, there is no other way to know when to put the pasta in the water.

But that’s a whole other issue. What’s important right now is that you know a watched lot of dust and dirt will one day be transformed. I know, because I’ve watched that lot. A lot.

At 801 South Financial Place in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, Alta Roosevelt has been given the all-clear to begin digging foundations for its future 496 apartments. As we’ve reported at Chicago Architecturethe 33-story tower will have studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, and a whopping 348 parking spaces to go along with them.

According to the Chicago architecture firm with the outstanding name that designed Alta Roosevelt, Pappageorge Haymes Partners, the tower will feature “resort-like amenities.” These types of highfalutin perks are becoming the norm for new-construction apartments, not just for condominiums. Developers are looking to provide renters with as many creature comforts as possible, making today’s apartment projects look much more like fancy condo buildings. (You can make the argument that high-end amenities will help developers turn those apartments into condos somewhere down the road, but I’m not going there.)

What is a tad unusual for a new Chicago development the size of  Alta Roosevelt is that early indications and renderings show no retail space at ground level. Nor any other level, for that matter.

Alta Roosevelt Soil sampler

A soil-sampling rig parked in the dirt back in August.

I can’t say for sure why I’ve been so anxious to see something happen at the 801 South Financial lot. I’ve visited often, mostly to watch progress on the new British School that was completed in the space just to the south. It was on one of those visits that I saw a soil-sampling rig parked in the dirt, a sure sign that development was imminent. But that was way back in August. It took seven months to finally see some action going on here.

Any construction project I can get to and photograph before any work actually starts becomes an instant favorite for me. It let’s me chronicle the entire process, from dirt to done, with pictures all along the way. That means lots of trips to the South Loop. Like I needed another reason to visit…


2515 South Wabash Loses a Water Tank

Chicago water tank 2515 South Wabash

This Chicago water tank sits, for now, atop 2515 South Wabash Avenue.

New today, on Tumblr:

On Tuesday the 15th, the City of Chicago issued a demolition permit for the water tank sitting atop 2515 South Wabash Avenue in the South Loop.

This one instantly became one of my favorites when I spotted it back in September because it’s a “character” tank. Not just one color, not just plain, but with distinct markings on it. In this case, it’s just a company name with some tagging. But that still distinguishes it from every other water tank in the city. Heck, from every other water in the world, for that matter.

2515 South Wabash Chicago Water Tank




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.

Riding the L: Let’s call it the Construction Line

Chicago construction from the Green Line train.

Chicago construction from the Green Line train.

Right now, Chicago Green-Line commuters have the best seats in the house (it’s a BIG house, too) for watching our many construction projects. Within 2 stops on either side of The Loop, riders can get up close and personal with five major building sites, and one L-station rehab:

150 North Riverside – South of the train on the west shore of the Chicago River

River Point – North of the train, on the west shore of the Chicago River (at 444 West Lake Street)

Wolf Point West – north of the train as you cross the river

171 North Halsted – Just west of the river on looking south from the train

1001 South State Street – in the South Loop on the west side of the train

Soon, you’ll be able to see a small portion of the Chicago Riverwalk construction as well, once it crawls toward Lake Street.