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Irish builder has cash for Chicago Spire

Friday, February 07 15:02:39

The Irish developer behind the Chicago Spire said it has found an investor to pay its creditors, allowing it to emerge from bankruptcy and possibly restart work on the long-stalled residential project, the Chicago Tribune reported today.

In papers filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court Thursday, Shelbourne North Water Street LP, the firm headed by Irish developer Garrett Kelleher, is seeking court approval to move forward with an investment of up to $135 million from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC. Shelbourne said the amount would fully fund its reorganization, enabling it to move forward with the project.

While Shelbourne said the investment will allow it to pay bona fide bankruptcy claims in full, there is no detail in the documents about the additional funds that would be needed to fund construction of the skyscraper, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Spire site, 2.2 acres at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, was intended to be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, a twisting, 2,000-foot condo tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Beanie Babies creator and billionaire Ty Warner, recently sentenced to probation for tax evasion, became the highest profile buyer in the project, signing a contract in 2008 for a penthouse unit that was listed for $40 million.

But work at the site stopped that same year as the project was caught up in the financial and housing markets' meltdown. The project went into foreclosure in 2010 and a protracted legal battle began in several courts. It remains a hole in the ground.