<b>Development of Huge Tower Changes Hands</b>
By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO
Published: July 20, 2006
CHICAGO, July 19 — An Irish developer has acquired the lakefront site of the proposed twisting tower, to be designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, that would be the tallest building in North America.
The builder, Garrett Kelleher, executive chairman of Shelbourne Development Ltd., bought the 2.2-acre acre site, along the north bank of the Chicago River near Lake Shore Drive, for about $64 million on Wednesday from the LR Development Company, of Chicago.
The luxury hotel and condominium skyscraper to be built at the site was first proposed a year ago by the Chicago developer Christopher T. Carley, drawing on the work of Mr. Calatrava, who is famed for bold designs that resemble sculptures. But Mr. Carley struggled to finance the project and missed a deadline of this Monday to buy the land.
The 124-story tower, approved by Chicago’s planning commission in March, is to reach about 1,570 feet to the roof, and to about 2,000 feet to the top of its spire, surpassing the CN Tower in Toronto as the tallest building on the continent. The Burj Tower in Dubai, under construction, is said to be planned for 2,300 feet, which would make it the world’s tallest.
Mr. Kelleher plans to break ground next spring and complete the building by 2010. It will house a five-star hotel and 300 luxury condominiums ranging in price from $600,000 to $5 million. He has put the cost of the project at $1.2 billion, about twice what Mr. Carley estimated.
The new owner is mindful that the project will be a challenge. “He is walking into this with his eyes wide open, but he is very excited,” said Thomas J. Murphy, a Chicago lawyer representing him.
Mr. Kelleher’s company is based in Dublin. Raised in Ireland, he lived in Chicago for 10 years after college, working in the construction industry and eventually becoming a developer, before moving back to Ireland in 1996.
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i think he really got his inspiration watching that will smith movie 'i robot'
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Major redesign is latest twist in plan for spire
By Blair Kamin
Tribune architecture critic
Published December 7, 2006
The proposed "drill bit" skyscraper has lost its point but gained some heft.
The developer of the twisting spire, which would be the nation's tallest building, has overseen a top-to-bottom redesign that seeks to make the much-ballyhooed project financially feasible, and he will submit his revised plans to the city Friday, people close to the project told the Tribune.
Designed by renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava for Dublin-based developer Garrett Kelleher, the tower no longer has a 400-foot broadcast antenna at its top or a hotel at its base. It is now all condominiums, 1,300 of them. The portion that modern-day cliff dwellers would live in has grown taller and wider, doubling the amount of sellable space to about 1.8 million square feet, said people associated with the project.
"It's all in the service of getting it built," said Kelleher's spokesman, Chicago lawyer Thomas Murphy. "If you're not going to have the broadcast tower, what are you going to have up there?"
Murphy hinted last week that the broadcast tower would be eliminated, saying, "the decision was not to get into a business that we don't know anything about." The Irish-born Kelleher worked in the Chicago real estate market from 1986 to 1996 but has no experience in broadcast towers.
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