Mary Ellen Podmolik reports that the developer of the Chicago Spire has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to resume the project.
The Spire site, 2.2 acres at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, was intended to be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, a twisting, 2,000-foot condo tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Beanie Babies creator and billionaire Ty Warner, recently sentenced to probation for tax evasion, became the highest profile buyer in the project, signing a contract in 2008 for a penthouse unit that was listed for $40 million.
The Spire represented, for me at any rate, the excesses of the '00s real estate boom. The project has died and been revived a couple of times already, and its developer has never been flush with cash. If the project's fate wasn't in the hands of a bankruptcy judge one might take its revival as a sign that the real estate market has recovered. In any case, the best thing about the tower is what it revealed about Santiago Calatava's working processes.