Towering above the tower: crane in place at Orrington Plaza.

Davis Street between Chicago Avenue and Orrington Avenue was down to one lane on Tuesday as a giant orange crane was positioned to hoist cell phone equipment to the top of the Orrington Plaze office tower.

At 277 feet, Orrington Plaza is the tallest building in Evanston. Work was expected to last all day.

While some passersby might have thought the crane was there to put “UL” signs on the sides of the high rise, that was not the case … at least not yet.

Two divisions of UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories) will be moving to Orrington Plaza from Northbrook, bringing 200 much-needed employees to downtown … and a couple of large-and-lit-up “UL” signs near the top of the north and south sides of the structure.

The signs would not be illuminated in the overnight hours, after 11 p.m.

Rendering showing the proposed sign on the south façade during the day and at night.

Building managers told city officials last fall that the Orrington Plaza had only a 6% vacancy before the COVID pandemic, but the rate is 33% now, before UL moves in.

Update 4:30 p.m. Tuesday: The crane on Davis Street is still in place, so it appears the work will continue on Wednesday.

Update 10:45 a.m. Wednesday: The crane crew is back at work — lifting cell phone equipment to the roof of the Orrington Plaza.

And another view …

(Photo by Fred Tanenbaum)

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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