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Foreclosure Suit Ends Dream Of Spire

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The worksite for the Chicago Spire skyscraper sits abandoned (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The worksite for the Chicago Spire skyscraper sits abandoned (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

kridel250 Kris Kridel
Kris Kridel is midday co-anchor and co-host of WBBM’s Noon Business...
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CHICAGO (CBS/AP) – The dream of a developer to build the Western Hemisphere’s tallest skyscraper in Chicago may have been extinguished by a foreclosure lawsuit filed by a lender.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Kris Kridel Reports


Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting Anglo Irish Bank Corp. filed the $77 million lawsuit against Irish real estate developer Garrett Kelleher earlier this month. The lawsuit alleges loans made to matured a year ago and are in default.

Anglo Irish is likely to take possession of a 2.2-acre site overlooking Lake Michigan.

A telephone call for comment Monday to a spokeswoman for Kelleher’s company, Shelbourne Development Ltd., was not immediately returned.

Ground was broken in 2007 for the planned 2,000-foot Chicago Spire designed by celebrated architect Santiago Calatrava. The site has been dormant since 2008.

The giant residential tower at 400 N. Lake Shore Dr. would have surpassed 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 project has never amounted to more for a broad, round hole that was dug for the foundation. The plan began to unwind after 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.

There had been talk last year of the AFL-CIO loaning Shelbourne the developer some $170 million in pension funds to restart the project, and create union construction jobs. But investment funds affiliated with organized labor said they weren’t interested in the project.

Plans for the Spire were first announced with much fanfare in 2005, and the soaring spiral design won many fans. Calatrava in published reports 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 did not include any 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 were priced from $750,000 to $15 million each.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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