Chicago Spire's Foreclosure Marks the End of an Era

October 20, 2010

By Tudor Van Hampton

Chicago Spire
Image courtesy Shelbourne Development
Chicago Spire’s foreclosure lawsuits heat up as condo market remains frozen.
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Foreclosure lawsuits mounting atop the $2-billion Chicago Spire project come at a time when the Windy City’s glut of condominium inventory has forced developers to make other deals.

In the near term, “I think any high-rise residential developments will be rentals,” says Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, Chicago. A dozen rental high-rises are planned downtown, she says, including a 49-story tower that is being floated by luxury apartment developer AMLI Residential, Chicago.

As for condos, such as the 2,000-ft-tall Spire—which so far has produced only a spiraling design by famed architect-engineer Santiago Calatrava and a $38.6-million foundation that was installed in 2009—“there is no pipeline anymore,” says Lissner. “We’ve got about 2,400 units unsold. … It’s going to take another two to three years to absorb all this.”

The top five creditors suing the Irish developer of the Spire, Shelbourne North Water Street L.P., in Cook County court claim more than $118 million. Anglo Irish Bank Corp. holds the largest claim, $77.3 million, for a mortgage racking up $7,800 per day in interest charges.

Other creditors include Shelbourne’s in-house construction manager, Chicago Spire LLC, claiming $15 million; Calatrava’s Festina Lente (IL) Ltd., $11.3 million; Case Foundation Co., $10.4 million; and Perkins + Will, $4.8 million. Lorig Construction Co., Des Plaines, Ill., built ramps linking the Spire to Lake Shore Drive. It filed an initial foreclosure suit in July, claiming it is owed $512,386.

As-Spiring Bill Collectors: Who Are Spire’s Top Creditors?
1. Anglo Irish Bank Corp.
Mortgage lender
Contract Value: $69.5 million plus interest
Claim: $77.3 million
2. Chicago Spire LLC
Owner’s agency construction management
Contract Value: $15 million
Claim: $15 million
3. Festina Lente (IL) Ltd.
Santiago Calatrava’s design team
Contract Value: Unknown
Claim: $11.3 million
4. Case Foundation Co.
Foundation and seawall installer
Contract Value: $37 million
Claim: $10.4 million
5. Perkins + Will Inc.
Architect of record
Contract Value: Unknown
Claim: $4.8 million
6. Shelbourne Lakeshore Ltd.
Spire's in-house design manager
Contract Value: $5.7 million
Claim: $2.5 million
7. Thornton Tomasetti Inc.
Structural engineer
Contract Value: Unknown
Claim: $1.3 million
8. Cosentini Associates Inc.
Mechanical engineer
Contract Value: Unknown
Contract Value: $3.5 million
9. Lorig Construction Co.
Site access builder
Contract Value: $3.5 million
Claim: $512,386
10. Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.
Wind engineer
Contract Value: Unknown
Claim: $396,750
11. AECOM USA Inc.
Geotechnical engineer
Contract Value: Unknown
Claim: $191,194
12. PLCS Corp.
Land surveyor
Contract Value: $174,634
Claim: $165,746
Source: Court filings

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