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The Chicago Spire


Almost every person connected to this development project will tell you that there hasn't been this much publicity about a proposed building in years.  The location of the Spire is set to be on North Water Street and North Lake Shore Drive.  When completed, it will hold the record for being the tallest residential building in the United States.  An impressive 2,000 feet in height, 150 floors and an estimated 1,300 condo residences will make up the Spire.  Ground is scheduled to be broken on the project in mid 2007, with an estimated completion date of sometime in 2010.

The Fordham Company, with founder Christopher Carley, is the developer along with renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.  The Fordham Company is very well known across the Midwest for their luxury real estate developments.  The Fordham Pinnacle, which has a commanding view of the St. James Cathedral, is one of the company's most recent success stories and has fueled excitement about the Chicago Spire Project.  The company has said that as soon as development plans were announced, over eight hundred people contacted them about reserving a living space in this new building.  Numbers like that certainly show a great amount of trust in the capabilities of a builder. 

The Chicago Spire has undergone several drastic changes on the draft board since it was first proposed.  It was actually called the Fordham Spire when first proposed.  In the beginning, the project was going to consist of two towers.  The final design, one that is singular, tall and thin has drawn praise from an artistic and creative standpoint as well as by environmental groups, namely bird enthusiasts.  The thinner design creates much less of a potential flight barrier for migrating flocks.  In keeping with the concern for the surrounding natural landscape, the developers also intend to create a park from an abandoned lot located close to the project. 

As for the design of the building, Santiago Calatrava claims to have been inspired by the Native American history of Chicago.  The name Chicago itself has its origins in the Miami-Illinois Indian language and Calatrava says his design of the Spire resembles the twisting plume of smoke from an Indian campfire.  And the Spire will actually twist.  In an engineering work of art, developers say that every floor will rotate roughly two degrees from the one below it.  That constant rotation will enable the Spire to actually seem to "twist" as it rises into the Chicago skyline some two hundred and seventy degrees.  Nothing quite like it has ever been built before, and even if similar buildings come into existence in the future, the Chicago Spire will always hold the honor of being the first of its kind.

The total available living space planned in the Spire is three million square feet.  The condo units are designed to appeal to both single persons, couples and families.  There will be a variety of floor plans for any living arrangement.  The condos will be outfitted with the luxury furnishings and details you would expect from such a building.  There will also be complete five star quality luxury services and amenities for residents of the Spire.  As much attention to detail is being paid to the interior of the building as is being lavished on the outside.  In addition, the Spire will have a vast amount of parking spaces available with seven stories of underground parking being built.  There are also plans for a cable bridge that will connect the Spire with a bike path that is close to the building.  Four different groups of elevators will be located in the building to provide quick transport to the four different levels among the one hundred and fifty floors. 

With so much excitement already surrounding the Chicago Spire when it only exists on draft paper, it’s difficult to imagine how much will follow when the building actually starts to take form.  One of the catch phrases associated with this project is that "Chicago will never be the same."  And it most likely won’t.  The Chicago Spire will likely change the way people view high rise condos and certainly raise expectations architecturally.  Just like the building itself, there’s no place to go except up.