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Santiago Calatrava’s Chicago Spire Officially Dead

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Following bad news from nearly the very beginning of its construction, it appears that Santiago Calatrava‘s Chicago Spire, which was set to be North America’s new largest skyscraper, is officially dead. Crain’s Chicago Business broke the story this week that one of the banks behind the project has filed a $77 million foreclosure suit against its development company, Shelbourne Development Ltd. The writing had been on the wall since almost immediately after ground was broken back in 2008, with the economy wreaking havoc on its pre-build sales, then suits against developer Garrett Kelleher‘s company for defaulting on a loan, and Calatrava waiting to be paid the more than $11 million they owed him for his services. Despite some movement by the AFL-CIO to possibly revive the project to benefit construction workers, once the building’s sales office closed earlier this year, most everyone knew that it was just a matter of time before it was made official. Though while the Spire design will now only exist in renderings and a big empty hole in the ground where it was to stand, there still might wind up being some construction there. The Chicago Tribune reports that Kelleher is still in talks with Calatrava, with the idea that he might build for them “a two-building project” that “might include a hotel as well as condos” but will “almost surely be well short of 2,000 feet.” Elsewhere in the paper, its resident architecture critic, Blair Kamin, has a bit more info on the foreclosure lawsuit and the possible new development, as well as his plea that, no matter what happens, the site should be used wisely.

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