Mildred Thompson lives in Holley Court Terrace, the residential retirement building directly east of the ongoing Whiteco construction. Her 12th-floor, southwest-corner perch has given her a ringside (and bird’s eye) view of the progress.

“My apartment has given me a wonderful vantage point to see the Whiteco project take shape,” Mildred wrote when she sent us the following photos back in June.

“It has been fascinating to watch the construction as it occurred, from the pouring of the foundation to the building taking shape, one floor at a time. It was particularly interesting to watch the construction during the cold, snowy winter. When it snowed, before the work could continue, the workers had to shovel the snow off the floor they were working on. I was worried they might slip off the edge until I realized they had many safety precautions in place.

“The precision of putting the sides and floors together was amazing, each piece fitting like it was part of a large jigsaw puzzle. When the crane lifted the pieces high in the air to place it where it belonged, it was a beautiful sight. I never tired of watching the latest development and now look forward to its completion.”

Since June, Mildred says, the workers have been “busy, busy, busy. I’m anxious to see how it will all turn out.” The cranes have been lifting wallboard for the apartments in the taller building. A lot of work is now happening inside. There’s a paved street level parking lot behind the Trader Joe’s space, and she can see some work down below on the townhomes along Ontario.

She admits she’s looking forward to visiting Trader Joe’s. Holley Court currently offers a regular bus trip to the LaGrange location, but that won’t be necessary once this location opens, whenever that is. She says they were originally told Sept. 15, but that obviously isn’t going to happen.

“They don’t consult me,” she observed, chuckling.

Mildred and her husband, Rupert, originally lived on the sixth floor, facing north and east. When her husband died three years ago, she moved to a smaller apartment on the 12th floor. When machines started pile-driving supports into the ground, she thought it would be interesting to keep a photographic record.

“There was so much talk at first,” she recalled, “most of it negative. But I have found it totally interesting. And it hasn’t killed my view.” She noted there is talk about putting a green roof on the smaller structure. “I wonder if it will be a garden or just a couple of pots?” she quipped.

“It’s been an education,” said Mildred who worked for J.C. Penney for 30 years in North Riverside and Cermak Plaza (her husband worked for International Harvester, where the Broadview Mall is now located). You’re never too old to learn and take enjoyment out of things. For all the talk about it, I think it’s been wonderful.”

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