Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 7, 2006 -- Mixed Reviews on Amended Spire Plan

December 7, 2006 – “It’s financial suicide,” says Donald Trump of the updated design for Santiago Calatrava’s 2,500-unit Spire in Lakeshore East on this date.  Responding to the criticism, James Loewenberg of Magellan Development LLC says, “It’s a great project if they can pull off the numbers.” [Chicago Tribune, Decmber 8, 2006]  One of Magellan’s own buildings near Millennium Park has units selling for $350 to $650 a square foot.  The Spire at this point has sold 1,300 units for at least $1,000 a square foot.  The new design for the Spire will maintain the 2,000-foot height, but it will take the building to 160 stories rather than the 115 originally projected with seven levels of underground parking.  Gail Lissner, vice-president of Appraisal Research Counselors, loks at the project’s future by saying, “This could be a very long sellout unless they find other buyers nationally and internationally.  Clearly, the Chicago market would have a great deal of difficulty absorbing them.”  With a half-dozen high-end condominium projects currently under construction, the road will be a difficult one for the tall tower at the river’s mouth.  Loewenberg says, “It will be a struggle, and only those with the best location and product will survive.”  The Spire had a great location and an exceptional product, but really bad timing.  As the real estate market collapsed in 2007, the project died as the economy cratered.

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