The Chicago Spire: Is It Back On?! Survey Says...

The Chicago Spire: Is It Back On?!  Survey Says...
Photo by Erik Unger

Today is St Patricks Day and developer Garrett Kelleher seems to have the luck of the Irish.  For months years we’ve been speculating about the future of this sexy supertall. Unfortunately, in recent years, there’s been little to say about Streeterville’s deepest swimming hole.

Just last summer, Curt Bailey and Related Midwest seemed poised to put the nail in the coffin when purchasing the debt on the Chicago Spire.  Over the past few years, Related has been making a splash in the Chicago development world with their acquisition of 3 of Enterprise’s Museum Park buildings, now called Related’s   South Loop Luxury collection.   The recently completed luxury rentals at 500 Lake Shore have been well received and Related is at the helm of the under-construction luxury rentals at 11 N Wacker, the former Waterview Tower.

Kelleher surprised many with a plan to put  the 1100+ unit building back on track by bringing in Northbrook-based Atlas Apartment holdings to pay off those pesky creditors.  The Tribune’s Mary Ellen Podmolik penned an  article that gave some history, but more importantly, outlines the future for this development:

Kelleher and company will have until August 31st to have a  reorganization plan for confirmed by the courts and if they fail, Atlas is entitled to a hefty 4 Million dollar hit plus penalties.  How’s that for some motivation?

Atlas CEO Steven Ivankovich told Crain’s that they plan to use Calatrava’s original corkscrew design.  In his words:

“[That’s] the only reason we’re interested in this piece of dirt… We’re eager to stop paying lawyers and start paying architects.”

What Do We Make of This?

Needless to say, we are a long way from seeing if this plan comes to fruition but is an 1100+ unit apartment building what Chicago really needs? Is it cost-effective to build it as Calatrava’s grand vision or would it be wisest to scale to something more manageable?

This Kelleher and Atlas venture may be able to revive this project but with questions like these, we’re going out on a limb with some speculation:

Amidst today’s supreme glut of apartment building development,  condo financing is still hard to come by.   If these guys are as smart as we think they are, these apartments will be built “condo-quality” so that all they need to do is flip a switch and some (or all) can be sold as condo. What do you think?

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