Chicago Spire finally resuscitated?

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on March 25, 2009

New Life May Be Breathed Into Chicago Spire

Construction Of Soaring Apartment Tower Has Been Delayed

CHICAGO (CBS) ― The ill-fated Chicago Spire could rise from the dust, after being only an enormous hole in the ground for the past several months.

A major union says its pension fund could help pay for construction of the building.

There were big plans for the giant residential tower at 400 N. Lake Shore Dr. It would have surpassed the Sears Tower – soon to be renamed the Willis Tower – as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and was supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in the world.

But the site has been empty for months, except for a broad, round hole that was dug for the foundation. The plan began to unwind after celebrity architect Santiago Calatrava filed a lien on the project, claiming the developer hadn’t paid him $11.34 million he was owed for his work.

Also, the Chicago architectural firm Perkins & Will, hired as a local overseer of the design, filed its own lien, claiming it is owed $4.85 million.

Meanwhile, the spire’s developer, Shelbourne Development Ltd., acknowledged slowing the pace of the work last fall because turmoil in financial markets limited access to credit.

But now, the Chicago Tribune reports on its Web site that the AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trusts are meeting with Shelbourne on Tuesday for preliminary discussions. It could be a win-win for both sides, with the developer getting the building, and the union securing jobs. 

Plans for the Spire were first announced in 2005.  The soaring spiral design of the building by the celebrity architect has won fans. Calatrava in published reports has compared the structure to a smoke spiral rising from a campfire along the Chicago River.

But unlike the John Hancock Center and Sears Tower, which would both be dwarfed by the building, the Chicago Spire does not have plans for any public restaurants or observatories. The building would be open only to residents, and that group is a select few.  The condos in the building are priced from $750,000 to $15 million each.

– A big thank you to CBS2 Chicago for the most recent article on reviving the Chicago Spire.  Click here if you want to read the actual article.  Hopefully this raises more confidence to get some sales going.  When last reported, Shelbourne Development stated that over 30% of the Spire’s homes were sold after only four months.  This is no small feat because 30% means over 350 homes.  Now this was reported in April, 2008 so I’m curious to hear how many have sold since then. –


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