The Lazy Photographer’s Guide to West Loop Construction

West Loop pan

A dreary-day panorama of the West Loop.

If there’s one thing you know about me, it’s probably my name. If there’s a second thing, it’s how much I love walking around Chicago snapping photos. But if there’s one thing you know about Chicago, it’s likely to be that not every day is conducive to long walks, where cold and wind can make it downright impossible to hold a camera steady.

As it turns out, construction workers are a much heartier lot, and they’re tasks continue despite conditions. Lucky for me, I have my perch atop the Chicago Architecture West Loop Bureau from which to keep tabs on a whole bunch of projects and developments around the West Loop neighborhood.

The Parker Fulton Market.

The Parker Fulton Market

The Parker Fulton Market, more than half-glassed, at 171 North Halsted Street.

The Parker Fulton Market is the most noticeable construction site from our windows, standing just to the north along the Kennedy Expressway. It’s a project of Shapack Partners, a West Loop-based development company doing wonderful work to transform the Fulton Market District from a meat-packing mecca into a lively urban neighborhood. Topped out in December, the 29-story tower brings 227 new apartments to the West Loop, and will include 9,000 square feet of retail space. Residents should start moving into the new digs in June.

Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn Bowl

Somewhere back there is Brooklyn Bowl, a new bowling alley/entertainment space at 832 West Fulton Market

Brooklyn Bowl finally got the ball rolling last year after an eternity in the planning stages. Besides a huge, fancy new bowling alley, the space will also include dining, retail, and even a live-music venue. Designed by OKW Architects, a West Loop-based firm, a key feature is the facade along Fulton Market and Morgan being preserved from the original warehouse. You can see a photo of it in the gallery below.

The Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel

The Ace Hotel, mostly hidden by a giant condo tower blocking my view. #NIMBY

The Ace Hotel will be a seven-story, 159-room hotel directly across North Morgan Street from the new Google building. It was designed by Chicago firm Grec Architects, and should be open sometime in 2017. Not that I’ll be able to tell; Skybridge blocks my view.

One South Halsted

One South Halsted

See the soil sampling rig at bottom left? That means construction on One South Halsted is imminent.

It’s not a construction site yet, but the soil-sampling rig you see in the photo above is a positive sign. It means the project known as One South Halsted has a very bright future. Finally. The 50-story tower was approved for the site, now a parking lot for the Crowne Plaza Hotel, three years ago. Designed by FitzGerald Associates Architects — yep, a West Loop firm! — One South Halsted will have about 500 apartment units. It will also include banquet halls, a business center, a pool, and a health club, all to be shared with Crowne Plaza guests.

Jane Byrne Interchange Flyover

Byrne Interchange

The Jane Byrne Interchange Flyover is a multi-stage construction project to restructure what Chicago sued to call the Circle Interchange. When finished, it will include a new ramp from the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway (pictured above) as well as a new ramp from the Dan Ryan onto Congress parkway into The Loop. Also included in the project is a brand new Halsted Street bridge, pictured below.

Halsted Bridge and Bryne interchange

On the right, work continues on the Halsted Street bridge. At center of frame, you can see how far the Ryan-to-Eisenhower ramp has progressed.

The United Center

United Center

The United Center is adding a 6-story office building next door.

Saying it’s in the West Loop is a bit of a stretch, but the United Center is adding a 6-story office building in the lot just to its east. In addition to housing employees of the U.C, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago Blackhawks, the structure will include a 10,000-square-foot retail store selling merchandise from both teams, and a large atrium open to the public. It’s expected to be open in time for the 2016-2017 NHL and NBA seasons.

Coming Attractions