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Chicago: A Growing Mecca of Residential High-Rises

The Chicago housing landscape is expanding, and residential high rises are a key component of it.  The city ranks third in the nation for the number of residential high rises and second for skyscrapers with 40 plus floors.  However, this is a relatively new trend for Chicago.  During the 1990s only 24 percent of the city’s residential buildings were classified as high-rises. This growing trend has been made possible by many members of the Northern Illinois Concrete Contractors.

The Rise of the High-Rise

Building of high-rises has taken off during the 21st century.  This trend is due to many different drivers.  Below are just a few contributors:


  • Currently, the largest generation, millennials, prefer living in cities, such as Chicago.  Metropolitan areas provide them easy access to cultural amenities and mass transit as well as offer a vibrant social life. Millennials prefer a walkable environment, which includes their place of employment being near their homes, which is often a high-rise.
  • In metropolises like Chicago, land prices have increased, leading to the construction of taller buildings.  Many cities are seeking to re-populate their urban centers with tall residential high-rises.  


    • High-rises are particularly attractive to wealthy international investors who purchase residential units to live in or to rent.  They prefer investing in stable economies, such as the U.S, versus their volatile home countries.  


  • Architectural and technological companies have lobbied for high-rises.


Concrete:  A Key Material in High-Rises

Concrete, along with steel, are the two main materials used to construct high-rises.  Many different parties, from owners to contractors, experience the diverse set of benefits that concrete provides.  

Owners like concrete buildings because they offer a quieter environment by reducing external noise as well as internal noise from adjoining units.  Concrete provides peace of mind to high-rise occupants because the material’s mass and stiffness reduce sway from forceful winds. It also offers increased fire resistance between units. Finally, concrete’s greater mass enables structures to retain heat and cold better, resulting in lower utility bills.  

For those parties involved in the construction of high-rises, concrete is faster to install than other material options.  Furthermore, high-performance, high-strength concrete enables taller and lighter high-rises, leading to cost-efficiency.  

Residential High-Rise Adorns South Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue is known for its high-end shops and top-rated restaurants, but it also offers exceptional high-rise residences.  A member of the Northern Illinois Concrete Contractors was a key in the development of a high-rise on South Michigan Avenue.   The high-rise offers six levels of above-ground parking, 25 levels of residential units and three levels of amenities.  Plus, it is adorned with an architectural roof feature.  This entire building was constructed with cast-in-place concrete.  The member of the Northern Illinois Concrete Contractors completed 15,000 square foot floors comprising this 420-foot tower on an accelerated four-day cycle.  And, we are pleased to report that this high-rise was completed nine days ahead of schedule. 

 High-Rise Comes to Streeterville

Streeterville, a neighborhood on the near north side of Chicago, is home to many hotels, restaurants, professional office centers, universities, medical facilities, cultural venues, and residential properties.  Since the early 21st century, this area has converted numerous empty lots into commercial developments and residential high-rises.  A member of the Northern Illinois Concrete Contractors was instrumental in the construction of a 48-story high-rise in the heart of Streeterville.  This building offers 444 rental units along with many amenities, such as a fifth-floor outdoor pool and open sky deck on the 37th floor.  To help alleviate residents’ concern over building sway, the building even includes a tuned sloshing damper, a water-filled massive concrete tank.  It is hidden behind the high-rise’s steel-clad crown adoring its top. This building came with PT cable installation challenges because of its complex oval-shaped building edges.  Despite these challenges, our member’s crew achieved a four-day cycle on the first 38 floors of the tower and a three-day cycle on the remaining 10 floors.

No Project is Too Large for Our Contractors

Members of the Northern Illinois Concrete Contractors are up for any size project, including residential high-rises and skyscrapers, which have become popular in major cities, such as Chicago. Our experienced members are always available to answer any of your questions before kicking off a project.  Visit our online directory today if a residential high-rise is in your future plans.

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