Chicago boasted the most tower cranes in use on residential projects among 12 major U.S. cities as of November 2016, according to the Chicago Business Journal, citing the twice-yearly Crane Index kept by Rider Levett Bucknall North America.
Chicago had the second-highest number of cranes in use on all project types, with Seattle topping the list with 62. Of the Windy City's 56 cranes, 31 were being used for residential projects.
Seattle and Denver posted the second- and third-highest number of residential cranes at 23 and 10, respectively. According to the index, about one-third of cranes across the cities tracked were for residential construction.
The prevalence of residential cranes across the skylines of major U.S. cities supports other data indicating activity in the urban multifamily sector, though some industry observers say it may be slowing soon. More than 378,000 new apartment units across the U.S. are slated for completion this year, 35% ahead of the 20-year average.
Chicago, alone, is expected to open more than 6,500 new apartment units across 33 buildings in 2017, according to the Business Journal.
With companies like Caterpillar, McDonald's and Kraft Heinz relocating their corporate offices to the area, Chicago is experiencing its own residential boom, as strong job prospects draw new, high-earning residents and, with them, demand for housing in the city's downtown.
Earlier this month, the architects responsible for the city's Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, announced plans for a 60-story, mixed-use building in the city's River North neighborhood that will include 246 high-end condominium units. The Skidmore Owings & Merrill project will also feature a hotel, retail and a parking garage.
Meanwhile, work has begun on the 98-story, $1 billion Vista Tower, which will include more than 400 luxury condo units and will be the third-tallest building in the city upon completion. In the South Loop, a $1.5 billion Lendlease-led joint venture will add 3,600 residential units.
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