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Springhill Suites Crane Installation

Summit Design + Build LLC is the Construction Manager Agent, overseeing the construction of a new 4-story steel structure that sits atop an existing 2-story cast-in-place concrete parking garage. Once completed, this will be the site of a new 146 guest room, 6-story Springhill Suites by Marriott located in the heart of Chicago’s China Town neighborhood at 2353 S Wentworth Avenue.

The Site Logistics Challenge

The primary site logistics challenge on this project is site access. Construction access is blocked to the North, East, and West due to neighboring buildings, existing tenants, and high voltage power lines. The only access for concrete trucks, cranes, or any deliveries is at the southern end of the building within the cul-de-sac of 24th Street. Unfortunately, due to the long skinny nature of the proposed construction (long in the North/South direction), the southern end was also the least desirable location to use for the steel crane.

The Solution

We identified this unique challenge early on and recognized the need to bring a steel and crane subcontractor on board early to work through a solution; Arcorp Structures and Nichols Crane rose to the occasion. They quickly developed a plan to utilize the largest crane in Nichols’ inventory – a 500-ton crane with a “luffing jib” extension – that would be able to reach the 400-foot length of the building while maintaining the required weight capacities to lift the associated steel loads.

Although this is an elegant solution, it created a rippling effect of other logistical challenges; because of the crane’s extreme reach radius, it is conversely limited by how close to the base of the crane it can pick from. Due to this restraint we are having to sequence the project in effectively two “towers”. The 500-ton crane erected the northern half of the building first and then was swapped out with a smaller crane to erect the southern half of the building.

Another challenge was what to do with the crane when it was not in use or during extreme weather events; the crane is too large to stay lifted overnight. We had to engineer and build the structure not only for it’s final use, but so it was capable of supporting the tip of the crane for a “laid down” condition at the end of each work day. Arcorp had to plan everyday to make sure at the end of that day, they were able to safely lay down the crane. This required great planning and also caused some inefficiencies in building the structure – they could not always choose the quickest methods to build.

Building and Dismantling the Crane

Lastly, we had to work with the city, neighbors, and all surrounding businesses to actually build and dismantle the crane. As featured in one of Summit’s videos, approximately 450’ of 24th Street and the crossing of Wentworth Ave needed to be closed in order to build and erect the crane. This took a substantial coordination effort to notify and get all parties bought in on the day, time frame, and impact of the surrounding community. Ultimately, it took a 12-hour Saturday work day each to erect and then to dismantle the crane.

As of May 1st, 2020, the project is now topped out with the steel structure and the crane has been removed from site. We are in the façade and interior rough in phase of the project and are working through the North tower while trying to catch up with the Southern tower. The anticipated completion and opening of the Springhill Suites by Marriott is quarter 1 of 2021.