...on the North American continent.http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/20/us/20skyscraper.html
<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.