Chicago Spire developer moves to settle bankruptcy, revive project

Development, Midwest, News
Friday, February 7, 2014
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spire

Chicago’s stalled supertall Spire could rise again, according to the Irish developer who went into foreclosure in 2010 after a protracted legal battle over the project.

Garrett Kelleher’s lawyers on Thursday filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking court approval to move ahead with the Chicago Spire, which remains a hole in the ground at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Kelleher said a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings would allow him to settle bankruptcy claims in full but, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, the court filings don’t say how much more money would be needed to fund the construction of the 2,000-foot-tall condo skyscraper.

The chicago spire towers over the Chicago Architecture Foundation's model of the city. (Chicago Architecture Foundation)

The chicago spire towers over the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s model of the city. (Chicago Architecture Foundation)

The twisting tower would have been the largest in the western hemisphere, but the project fell apart in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Skyward-looking Chicagoans, however, never went long without some speculation of the Spire’s resurrection. In June last year, Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the project’s debt. But an affiliate of Related later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees involved with the project.

According to the plan proposed Thursday, Kelleher’s firm Shelbourne North Water Street would put forward a reorganization plan by August 31 to bring the project out of bankruptcy, potentially transferring the property to Atlas.

“We have been working with Garrett Kelleher over the past several months and now share his belief and vision in the Chicago Spire,” said Steven Ivankovich, CEO of Northbrook-based Atlas, in a statement.

Kelleher seemed optimistic as ever about the project’s sky-high ambitions.

“Given the ongoing recovery in the Chicago property market, the timing is better now than when this project commenced,” Kelleher said in a statement. “I am delighted to have found a partner who believes in the project as passionately as I do.”

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