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Keeping track of construction cranes in Chicago

Construction watchers count 32 construction cranes in Chicago at this moment

Flickr Creative Commons/Richard Wasserman

A lot’s been made of Chicago’s growing number of active construction cranes over the past year or so. From Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Wall Street Journal, folks are taking notice of the Windy City’s primarily apartment-fueled high-rise boom. Though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all the projects, the folks behind Building Up Chicago are really on top of things and count 32 such construction cranes currently gracing the sky of our fair city.

Taking full advantage of the clear weather, the construction-oriented blog just published a photo survey of active cranes from the top of Chicago’s tallest building. From the vantage point of the Willis (Sears) Tower’s 103rd-floor Skydeck, no less than 21 construction projects were visible today. The pictures not only illustrate the sheer number of cranes in operation, but just how far one can see from the observatory.

The northernmost project captured by the telephoto lens is the 27-story Eight Eleven Uptown project rising at the former site of the old Cuneo Hospital. To the south, the Studio Gang-designed Solstice on the Park can be seen rising at the northern edge of Jackson Park. The two construction sites are separated by roughly twenty miles.

Interestingly, not every project spotted is a high-rise. The cloud-top perch even managed to afford the slightest glimpse of the city’s shortest tower crane at Pioneer Court. Rising just above street level, the piece of equipment is putting the finishing touches on the low-slung riverfront Apple Store at Pioneer Court designed by Foster + Partners.

While the number of cranes ebbs and flows as new projects get started and others finish, several high-profile towers still need to climb higher before they will be visible from the observatory. Major skyscrapers such as Vista Tower, One Grant Park, and Essex on the Park are all obscured—for now—by their immediate neighbors.