Reporting David Roe
CHICAGO (CBS) – Some consider the site of what was supposed to be the Chicago Spire an eyesore, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
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Shelbourne Development Group Inc. planned to have a soaring 2,000-foot residential tower constructed t 400 N. Lake Shore Dr., just north of the Chicago River. But the project never amounted to more than a broad, round hole that was dug for the foundation, and now, Shelbourne no longer owns the hole.
The developer lost control of the site, and it is now in receivership.
Shelbourne and its chairman, Garrett Kelleher, planned for the Spire to be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Ground was broken for the building in 2007, but construction was stopped the following year.
After a $77 million foreclosure lawsuit against Shelbourne by Anglo Irish Bank Corp., the plans for the Spire were all but declared dead. The lawsuit claimed that loans made for the project matured a year earlier and were in default.
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.
Last month, Shelbounre moved out of its Chicago offices at 111 S. Wacker Dr., after an eviction complaint was filed against the firm for $27,600 in back rent.
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 have been open only to residents, and that group would have been a select few. The condos in the building were priced from $750,000 to $15 million each.