Is Calatrava’s Spire Expiring?

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Chicago Spire (proposed), Santiago Calatrava, 2007/Image: Shelboune Development

It looks like the real estate slowdown is creating problems for the Chicago Spire, the super-sized condo tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Planned to top out at around 115 stories, it will be the tallest building in America — if it gets built. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that both Calatrava and a local Chicago firm have filed liens against the developer, Shelbourne Development Group. Calatrava alone is seeking more than $11.3 million for work already done. According to the Trib, visible activity at the construction site — which consists right now of a 110-ft. wide hole in the ground surrounded by caissons — has come to a halt.

If the Spire doesn’t go forward it will be the second Calatrava condo project in the U.S. to fizzle. His really audacious proposal for a stack of “townhouses” in lower Manhattan would have been a pretty smashing addition to the skyline.

80 South Street (proposed), Santiago Calatrava, 2003

But at $30 million a pop and more the apartments didn’t pre-sell and earlier this year the developer gave up. Could this be the beginning of the end (for a while) of the phenomenon of the high-profile designer condo tower?