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Report: Spire Developer’s Gold Coast House In Foreclosure

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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)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The developer of the defunct Chicago Spire condo tower is now the subject of a foreclosure lawsuit on his Gold Coast home.

Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily reports that Bank of America N.A. has filed a $12.02 million foreclosure lawsuit on the residence at 1416 N. Astor St., which is owned by a corporate entity controlled by developer Garrett Kelleher.

The house was built in 1917 for investment banker William McCormick Blair, and was later purchased by Jack Gray, who operated the Hart, Schaffer & Marx men’s clothing company, Chicago Magazine reported earlier this year. Kelleher bought the house from Gray in 2006 for $8.5 million, upon coming to Chicago from Ireland to build the Spire, the magazine reported.

The magazine says Kelleher pumped millions of dollars into renovating the house, in what Michigan Avenue Magazine called a “conscientious and classy renovation” by Gensler’s architect Carlos Martinez.

Michigan Avenue Magazine reported that Kelleher returned to Ireland with his family once the Chicago Spire project failed. Chicago Magazine reported in January that the Georgian mansion was on the market for $16 million.

But now Crain’s says it is unclear whether the mansion is worth the $12 million Kelleher owes on it.

Kelleher’s Shelbourne Development Group Inc. had planned to construct the2,000-foot Spire at 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.

Kelleher had 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 essentially declared dead.

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 both would have been 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.

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