The 130-foot-tall tower crane above the future RiverWest apartments was disassembled earlier this month, removing what had long been the tallest structure in the skyline at the Vancouver waterfront. But a new crane is already rising nearby to claim the mantle, barely a week later.
On Thursday, crews from Cascade Tower and Rigging embarked on the first half of a two-day operation to assemble a 190-foot-tall tower crane at the site of the future Hotel Indigo and Kirkland Tower. It’s expected to be operational on Saturday, and will be the tallest structure at the waterfront for most of this year.
The crane’s concrete base was poured a few weeks ago, but Kirkland Construction Group chief operation officer Nick Lilly said the Federal Aviation Administration asked the company to wait to put up the rest of the crane until after the end of the holiday season (the FAA controls the airspace above downtown Vancouver due to the proximity of Pearson Field).
The main tower was assembled Thursday, using a mobile crane set up on Columbia Way to hoist the segments into place while a second smaller mobile crane unloaded additional parts from a series of delivery trucks.
Pieces of the jib — the industry term for the crane’s horizontal arm and counterweights — were unloaded and laid out along Columbia Way and the adjacent parking lot, complete with a large “Hotel Indigo” sign on one of the arm pieces. The final assembly of the arm was scheduled for Friday.
The crane will initially be built to a height of 190 feet, but will eventually need to be raised in order to build the top of the 12-story Kirkland Tower. So in May or June it will be partially disassembled and rebuilt to 250 feet.
The FAA height restrictions are a bit more forgiving during the summer months due to better visibility and different prevailing wind patterns, but the crane will need to be brought back down in October. And at that point the building will be too tall for a 190-foot crane to be of any more use, so Lilly says the plan is to remove it entirely and finish the job using a mobile crane.
When completed, the Hotel Indigo will be an eight-story building with 138 suites, and the next-door Kirkland Tower will include 40 residential units. The two buildings will share a two-level underground parking garage, and the ground floor will include more than 12,000 square feet of space for restaurants and retail tenants. The buildings are scheduled to open in 2020.