Related Midwest Secures Chicago Spire Lot

by Peter Thomas Ricci

One of Chicago’s most storied lots finally has a future.


Photo credit: Dschwen on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chicago_Spire_pit.jpg

After years of litigation and delays, the lot for the infamous Chicago Spire has finally changed hands, likely putting the ultimate nail in the coffin for the doomed project.

Related Companies, the holder of the Chicago Spire’s debt, has confirmed with Chicago Agent that Spire developers Garrett Kelleher and Atlas Apartment Holdings failed to pay the required $22 million to Related Companies by the Oct. 31 deadline, thereby forfeiting the lot and its future to Related.

It was the final chapter in one of the nation’s most storied lots. Way back in 2008, Irish businessman Kelleher announced the Spire, a Santiago Calatrava-designed, 2,000-foot-tall condominium for Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood; featuring a spiraling design and breathtaking views, the building was poised to be the next dramatic addition to Chicago’s skyline.

But then the recession hit in 2008, stalling the project and leaving a 76-by-100 foot crater in the ground (pictured above); since then, Kelleher has tried without success to resuscitate the project, while Related acquired the project’s debt for a relative pittance from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency and placed the project on a reorganization plan (which the Oct. 31 deadline was a part of).

“We are pleased to have resolution on 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, the site of the former Chicago Spire project,” Curt Bailey, the president of Related Midwest, said. “We recognize the importance of this site to the City of Chicago and look forward to creating an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location. We are proud to have a long track-record of developing landmark buildings with world-class architects like 840 N. Lake Shore Drive, 500 N. Lake Shore Drive, Park Tower, 340 on the Park and most recently, 111 W. Wacker Drive. We look forward to continuing that legacy on this marquee site.”

It remains to be seen what Related will do with the 2.2-acre site at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, but given Related’s aggressiveness in recent years, it will surely be interesting seeing what direction they take.

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