Will Construction Resume On The Chicago Spire?
It could be said that the stalled construction of the Chicago Spire could be a symbol of what has happened in real estate construction in general over the past year or so--an ambitious project full of promise and hope, left lingering in a state of undoneness due to the economic shift. Construction on what would be North America's tallest building has been delayed since last fall when the architect, Santiago Calatrava, filed a lien against Shelbourne Development Group Inc,. the Irish developer of the 2,000-foot condominium tower, for $11.3 million. Perkins+Will, the Spire's architect of record and firm Thornton Tomasetti also filed liens. Now a group of union pension funds are in talks to loan $170 million to Shelbourne to get the project going again.
The loan would pay off the estimated $64 million loan made by Anglo Irish Bank and satisfy the various leans so that the project could be completed. The construction would provide jobs for many union workers but would also represent a bet that the Spire, when completed, will find buyers for its nearly 1,200 condos. Last I heard around 30 percent of the condos were spoken for but condos in general have been a hard sell in the current economic climate. The project would not be complete for several more years but the condos are some of the priciest the city has ever seen, most cost more than a million dollars. The penthouse, which was once priced at $40 million, was bought by Ty Warner, a man who has been facing his own economic woes recently.