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Monday, 10 February 2014 13:18cat

Developer Wants to Resume Chicago Spire Project

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The Chicago Spire will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere once completed The Chicago Spire will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere once completed

Irish Developer Garrett Kelleher announced on Thursday that he has found an investor willing to pay his company’s creditors.  He hopes that this news will allow construction to resume in the near future on the Chicago Spire. The Chicago Spire project began in 2005, and the tower’s design would make it the largest building in the western hemisphere once completed. The 2,000-foot, 150-floor skyscraper was planned to include 1,193 luxury condominiums. The building was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and was developed by Garrett Kelleher’s company Shelbourne Development Group, Inc. The project’s primary lender faced financial problems in 2008 caused by the United State’s recession and housing market meltdown, and construction was suspended on the site. Since 2008, Shelbourne Development has continued to try to find financing for the project, but legal actions taken by Anglo Irish Bank caused the Spire project to be handed over to a receiver. The 76-foot by 110-foot hole in the ground along Lake Michigan where the Spire was supposed to be built has not been touched in the last six years.

Garrett Kelleher is seeking court approval to move ahead with a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holding LLC to pay off Shelbourne's creditors and fully fund its reorganization. The investment would allow Shelbourne Development Group to pay its bankruptcy claims in full.  It is unclear if Atlas will invest more money to cover the construction costs associated with building the Spire. If the court approves the investment, Atlas would become a majority partner in the joint venture. The court must approve the reorganization plan by August 31. In addition to the bankruptcy battle Kelleher is fighting with the courts, his company is also being sued by luxury real estate company Related Midwest. The company filed a lawsuit seeking more than $95 million in guarantees Keller made as part of the Spire project. Before the project went bankrupt, nearly one-third of the building's units were pre-sold. Related Midwest bought $93 million of delinquent debt and penalties tied with project from National Asset Management Agency in Ireland.

The Chicago Spire design was influenced by themes in nature including a smoke spiral coming from a campfire. Lead architect Santiago Calatrava designed the building so that each of the tower’s 150 floors is rotated by 2.4 degrees from the floor below. The skyscraper will have one 360-degree rotation from the ground to roof. A tapered concrete core and twelve shear walls will be used to withstand wind loads. The building’s curved design will also help minimize the wind loads compared to a traditional rectangular building. It will achieve LEED Gold certification once finished. The condominium units were sold for $750,000 to $40 million when they were pre-sold in 2008. There will be an observation deck for residents on the top floor that will offer views of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. If the Shelbourne Development receives court approval to proceed with the project, it is not certain when construction will resume on the $1.5 billion Chicago Spire.

Sources: Chicago TribuneCBS Local

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