Irish developer loses control of Chicago Spire site

An illustration of how the Chicago Spire would have looked

Read more: Chicago Spire, world’s tallest building, in foreclosure

Irish developer Garrett Kelleher is no longer in charge of the downtown 2,000-foot Chicago Spire which at one point was set to be the tallest building in the western world.

Instead there is now a massive hole in the ground as Kelleher has fallen victim to Ireland’s property bust. He was financed by rogue bank Anglo Irish who are now trying to reclaim losses.They had loaned him $77.3 million.

The spire with its luxury apartment set to sell for up to $12 million each will now not be built and the hole in the ground where it was set to stand will Anglo Irish Bank Corporation, who issued Kelleher's Shelbourne North the loan requested the appointment of a receiver to the site and on Thursday, a Cook County judge appointed the receiver, Stephen Bell of CB Richard Ellis, to the site which was to become a twisting skyscraper.

In the meantime, two local firms have purchased the property taxes on the development at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, allowing the bank and others to redeem the appropriate taxes.

There has been no work done on the downtown Chicago site for over two years now, despite continued claims by Kelleher that he had the funding to finish the site which was due to rise 2,000 feet on North Shore Drive.

Documents filed by the bank show that Kelleher has made no repayments in over a year and there is now a suspicion that he is bankrupt.

He is known to have invested $194 million of his own money into the Spire project which he took over from another developer who ran out of funds. The foundations of the building were being constructed when work stopped.

An attempt to do a deal with Chicago area building unions also failed when union leaders, anxious to find construction jobs for their members briefly considered lending the money from their pension funds. However that idea fell through.

Contractors' liens have been building against Shelbourne over the last two years and in September concrete company, Lorig Construction Co., filed a foreclosure suit against Shelbourne for $512,000 owed to them.

Following this, Anglo Irish, owed $77.3 million, filed a foreclosure lawsuit on 1st October and requested the site be held under receivership until the sale.

Shelbourne claimed that they only owed Anglo $69.5 million and requested that they be allowed to maintain and sell the site themselves.

Garrett Kelleher is a deeply conservative Catholic  who is on the board of regents of  Ava Maria University in Florida . He was chairman of St.Patrick’s Athletic soccer club in Dublin and said he would turn them into a European footballing power which never happened.

Read more: Chicago Spire, world’s tallest building, in foreclosure

COMMENTS