Spire could rise again in Chicago

Spire could rise again in Chicago

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The bankruptcy-sidelined Chicago Spire condo development may yet rise, the Sun-Times is reporting.

The developer of the project has an agreement from an investor to provide up to $135 million, allowing it to pay off claims and emerge from bankruptcy, if approved, according to court documents.

Shelbourne North Water Street L.P., controlled by real estate developer Garrett Kelleher, has secured a commitment from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC to provide the investment, according to the filing that was made Thursday.

The Shelbourne project aimed to build what was planned as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere on a 2.2 acre site at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, was crushed by the collapse of the real estate market and recession, which landed it in foreclosure and bankruptcy.

But plans call for moving full steam ahead with the 150-story development when the company emerges from bankruptcy, said Tom Murphy, an attorney for Shelbourne.

"Given the ongoing recovery in the Chicago property market, the timing is better now than when this project commenced," Kelleher said in a statement. "I am delighted to have found a partner who believes in the project as passionately as I do."

The Atlas investment "should be sufficient based on what we know of the claims that have been filed" to pay off creditors, Murphy said.

Atlas CEO Steven Ivankovich has been working with Kelleher over the past several months and shares "his belief and vision in the Chicago Spire," Ivankovich said in a statement. "This is a building that deserves to be built and built in Chicago. Atlas is committed to making this happen."

But funding to complete the project has not yet been secured by the parties.

"They're negotiating with their financial lenders to continue the project," Murphy said.

Construction on the project was halted after the vertical foundations of the tower and underground garage had been completed, along with ramps to lower Lake Shore Drive.

Resuming the project would provide more than 15,000 construction jobs, according to the Chicago Building Trades Council.

The planned swirling condo tower was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

The Associated Press reported Friday a Spanish court ordered Calatrava to pay $4 million in compensation to property development company Jovellanos XXI for what it called shortcomings in Calatrava's work on the city hall for the northern Spanish city of Oviedo. The building has an elaborate design featuring external flying buttress-like decorations.

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