LINCOLN PARK — With its second construction crane at its north tower, the Lincoln Common development set up the 53rd crane in the city this year, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted that as a record when he returned to the site Tuesday.
Calling it "a milestone for the City of Chicago," Emanuel said a 54th crane had just gone up at 1200 S. Indiana Ave., "so we've already beat the record we set here."
According to the Emanuel administration, the 53rd crane topped a record set last year, and represented a sustained construction boom after the city bottomed out with just a dozen cranes in all of 2010 in the midst of the Great Recession.
"Chicago's in the midst of an undeniable building boom," said Buildings Commissioner Judith Frydland in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon on the roof of the Lincoln garage overlooking the Lincoln Common construction site.
Emanuel also joined in the ceremonial groundbreaking for Lincoln Common in May. According to his administration, "The transit-oriented development features 94,000 square feet of retail space, 538 apartments, 40 luxury condominiums, a 47,000-square-foot boutique office building, a parking garage with 850 spaces, a 149-room senior living facility and more than an acre of open space."
Construction cranes are set up at both of the towers to be built on the triangular lot at 2345 N. Lincoln Ave. formerly occupied by Children's Memorial Hospital. The project is expected to be completed in two years.
Emanuel said that estimates are that each crane represents 800-1,200 construction jobs. His administration estimated that the citywide boom this year reflected $4 billion in development and thousands of jobs.
Frydland also took the opportunity to tout how the city had cut the average wait time on building permits for single-family-home renovations to under 30 days, and that, in part as a consequence, applications were up from 169 a month last year to more than 200 a month this year.
"The Department of Buildings is committed to being a partner, not an obstacle, for building projects,” she said. “We have laid the groundwork in the last two years with reforms that make it more cost-effective to build and easier to obtain building permits."
Emanuel added, "Building it should be the challenge, not jabbing at the city to give you a permit."