The Chicago Spire is One Big Ol’ Water-Logged Bucket Of Foreclosure

Development, Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

The Chicago Spire today only exists as a hole in the ground. (Marcin Wichary / Flickr)

Social media was abuzz recently over the reports by eavesdrop, the WSJ, and other major papers about the biggest recession scab over Chicago: the failed Spire designed by Santiago Calatrava. That Irish pie in the sky developer apparently found someone to bail the project out of its foreclosure. Everyone was all, “It’s back on!” Dear readers, until they start pumping the water out of the big hole in the ground, Eavesdrop is betting against this one.

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.

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“City Works” envisions Chicago’s “dreams and nightmares”

Midwest
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

From the abandoned foundations of the ill-fated Chicago Spire to the ghosts of would-be Tribune Towers galore, Chicago’s unbuilt legacy could rival the iconic skyline it actually achieved. An exhibition on display downtown, dubbed City Works: Provocations for Chicago’s Urban Future, confronts the city with its alternative skyline in the form of a panoramic wall design and a “Phantom Chicago” iPhone app. The overall effect evokes “a dream but also a nightmare,” in the words of curator Alexander Eisenschmidt. Read More

Related Eyes Chicago Spire Debt as Speculation On New Life Swirls

Midwest
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
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The Chicago Spire site, currently the city’s most-watched hole in the ground, has had false starts before. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the stalled project’s debt, raising suspicions that development might proceed on the riverfront site.

Santiago Calatrava’s twisting tower design was to stand 2,000 feet high and house condos, but the $64 million land bordering Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville sat idle after the recession hit in 2008. The troubled project has been tangled up in litigation ever since.

Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency put the project’s $93 million in debt on the market earlier this year. While Irish developer Garett Kelleher’s firm still holds title to the parcel, and Related’s reported deal remains up in the air, speculation swirls around the site which not long ago was prepared to house the nation’s tallest building.

Inside the Spire's Demise

Midwest
Monday, October 18, 2010
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(courtesy Business Week)

The Chicago skyline is one of the most impressive in the country. Those who dreamed of a twisting new tower at its pinnacle, however, will have to turn to new skyscraping schemes. The Anglo Irish Bank is seizing control of the stalled Chicago Spire’s site from Shelbourne Development. This detailed feature on the rise and fall of Santiago Calatrava’s unbuilt tower in the Irish Independent calls the project’s developer, Garrett Kelleher, emblematic of the jet-setting “Irish Tiger.” In today’s real estate environment, that label sounds more like slur than a compliment.

Spire Sputters Again

Midwest
Monday, December 21, 2009
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According to Crain’s Chicago Business, major construction unions will not be loaning funds to restart the Chicago Spire, as many had speculated. The union pension funds are feeling cautious, much like other lenders, so the Spire, which was always an ambitious project, remains a high risk bet. Who will the developers turn to next?

Spire Revival

Midwest
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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(image courtesy Shelbourne Development)

First reported in the Chicago Tribune, and today in the Wall Street Journal, officials at a group of union pension funds are vetting a plan to lend $170 million to restart construction on the stalled Chicago Spire. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the 150 story residential tower would be the tallest building in the US. The Journal piece points out that with a drastic drop off in condo construction downtown predicted for 2010 and 2011, the completion of the Spire could actually come at a time when there is pent up demand for housing. Blair Kamin previously pointed out that unions have made similar loans in previous downturns, notably providing loans for the construction of Marina City.

According to the Journal, Chicago’s failure to win the 2016 Olympics may have been the key to giving the Spire new life. The pensions had previously been looking to lend funds for the construction of the planned Olympic Village.

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