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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Urban Land Institute’s 2014 outlook: ‘recovering from the recovery’

Midwest, National
Friday, November 8, 2013
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ULI

At its annual fall meeting (this year in Chicago), the real estate research non-profit Urban Land Institute released its 2014 trends report Thursday. The verdict of the 1,000 professionals surveyed? Next year we will continue “recovering from the recovery,” in the words of one respondent, following the depths of the 2008 recession.

Continue reading after the jump.

Artist Brightens Boarded Windows On Flagging Blocks

Midwest
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Toepfer's boarded windows on the left. (Video still / Courtesy Medill Reports)

Toepfer’s boarded windows on the left. (Video still / Courtesy Medill Reports)

 

Vacant buildings can drag down whole blocks, depressing property values, encouraging crime and accelerating a spiral of poverty that afflicts many Chicago neighborhoods. Even the boards that cover the windows on abandoned homes can convey a sense that nobody’s in charge, or that an area can’t be salvaged to save it from demolition.

That’s the point of intervention for artist Chris Toepfer, who since 1995 has visited thousands of vacant buildings in 17 U.S. cities. Toepfer paints the boards that clad abanonded homes and businesses, working with Chicago nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Service to slow the cycle of decline in neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis. Dave Hoekstra profiled their work for the Sun-Times. Also, here’s a 2010 video with Toepfer from Medill Reports.

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.

Flint, Michigan Flat Lot Winners Announced, Floating House Arrives in June

Midwest
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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"Mark's House," by Two Islands, won the inaugural Flat Lot design-build competition in Flint, Mich. (Courtesy Flint Public Art Project and Two Islands)

“Mark’s House,” by Two Islands, won the inaugural Flat Lot design-build competition in Flint, Mich. (Courtesy Flint Public Art Project and Two Islands)

In June a full-block surface parking lot in downtown Flint, Mich. will house a ghostly, floating home — a monument to the ravages of the foreclosure crisis and a nod to the revitalization public art projects like this one hope to further in the one-time home of General Motors.

London-based Two Islands took first place in the inaugural Flat Lot Competition, which comes with a $25,000 prize, for their design, Mark’s House. The story of an imagined Flint resident named Mark Hamilton, whose family loses their home to foreclosure, Mark’s House takes the form of a Tudor-style house clad in reflective panels and set atop a mirrored pedestal. The structure can hold 1,500 gallons of water to be used for cooling mists for visitors to the structure’s canopy and event stage on hot summer days.

Continue reading after the jump.

Detroit’s Lafayette Towers Skirt Auction Block, For Now

Midwest
Friday, July 27, 2012
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Detroit stalled HUD's planned auction of the Mies towers. (COURTESY GEHAD HADIDI VIA FLICKR.)

Detroit stalled HUD’s planned auction of the Mies towers. (Courtesy GEHAD HADIDI/FLICKR.)

It looks like Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Towers in Detroit may avoid the auction block a little longer. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosed on the high-rise apartment buildings in February, and HUD had planned to put them up for auction this month (albeit with a litany of multi-million-dollar renovations required of the lucky winner).

Detroit exercised its first right of refusal on that course of action, wary of the iconic towers falling into the wrong hands. New York-based Northern Group bought the buildings in 2008 for $16 million in cash, but stopped making payments on its loans by 2010. The towers were transferred to HUD soon after. Now the city’s group for planning and facilities is seeking a private owner to bring the buildings back from disrepair.

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