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The Chicago Spire

Part I | Part II

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News Update: February 14th, 2008

Here's what a Chicago Real Estate Agent recently said about her visit to the Chicago Spire:

In terms of the visit to Spire itself, I felt that the staff was very professional and thorough in their presentation. The sequence of the tour is as follows:

  • 5 minute video of the building concept as well as interviews from Shelbourne and Santiago himself.
  • An explanation of how Santiago came to design the structure and water colors displayed on the wall.
  • A model of the building, water, surrounding streets and Lake Shore Drive is presented to give potential clients a sense of the boundaries as well as security in and out of the building. It is always explained how owners are to access the building from the expressways as well as the city streets. In addition, the developer will create a beautiful space where DuSable park currently sits, which is only accessed by bike or on foot east of the building. In addition, all the amenities on the lower floors and the tranquility space on the top 2 floors are described.
  • Mini sculptures that are likely to appear in the lobby of the building are displayed upon entrance to the models.
  • A walk thru of a 3 bedroom model as well as the "bubble room" model. The one bedroom is teasingly referred to as the "bubble room" because the bedroom is circular. There were 28 units released and only 4 remaining. It was not made clear whether all 24 were actually sold or simply reserved for foreign prospects to consider.
  • The software for price discussions is very well designed. The client determines view, floor, price and number of bedrooms using pinwheel displays on the desktop. Then, a floor plan displays showing the options defined by the pinwheels. Costs are shared verbally and prices are good for 72 hours only.
  • To purchase, one must put 20% total in earnest money. Twenty five grand is requested with contract. After Attorney review (4 weeks) the balance is brought up to 10%, then, after 18 months the remaining 10% is due. If the client is a Chicago resident the remaining 10% may be in the form of a promissory note.
  • The final discussion is low pressure. The 72 hour window and mention of the upcoming European tour is as aggressive as they get.

…The Spire is not releasing a price range sheet. Here is all I have on pricing, despite the specific floor plans with the pricing that was offered during each individual appointment. This is from the Spire general email they sent me:

"The starting price of our homes has just been made available. Each of our 1193 units is unique with the specific pricing valued on size, view and floor. The below pricing structure provides some insight as to the unit style breakdown and their price points.

Suites from $750,000
1 bedrooms from $1.35 million
2 bedrooms from $1.65 million
3 bedrooms from $4.3 million
4 bedrooms from $5.8 million
Penthouse homes priced upon request

The sq. ft. information currently available is 550 to 10,000 sq. ft.

Shortly after our opening in Chicago we will begin our world tour visiting 13 countries. As a result, the holding or reservation of units will not be allowed. Should your buyer proceed to contract a $25,000 initial check must be provided upon written contract and the balance of the earnest money due upon the completion of the attorney review. Please contact me to further discuss…"

News Update: October 1st, 2007

Architectural design isn't the only thing spiraling at developer Garrett Kelleher's monumental high-rise. A kick off promotional media event for the Spire was held September 26th in Millennium Park. Both Kelleher and architect Santiago Calatrava spoke about their project, sharing their visions for making the Spire dream a reality, complete with unparalleled features and also unheard of prices in this market.

Chicago Spire
The Spire will be the world's tallest residential structure

When built, the future tower will be the world's tallest residential building and also set a new record for pricing in Chicago. The low end of the scale would start at $750,000 for a 534 square foot studio, which are dubbed suites at the Spire, on up to the eye popping $40 million dollar 10,293 square foot penthouse. That breaks down to roughly $4,000 per square foot of living space, a definite increase from the current prices of many other luxury Chicago Condos. To date, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the highest price paid for a penthouse on Michigan Avenue was $8.27 million back in November. If the Spire's two story, private elevator penthouse sells it will set an all time high and perhaps cement sales for the rest of the units. Kelleher claims that around 200 units are priced below $1,000 per square foot and the majority of the others between $1,000 and $2,000, adding up to price tags of less than $2 million for a number of condos in the Spire.

What justification does Kelleher give for these numbers? One word; branding. With Calatrava's imprint on everything to do with the Spire, from building design down to his literal impression on the door handles cast from clay molds, the sales team is marketing what they believe is a unique work of art, not just real estate. The twisting, 150 story tower is estimated to come at a cost of 1.5 billion and the 1,193 condos will all have a different shape thanks to the rotation of the seven sided building.

The promotional event on 9/26 also showcased an almost 20,000 square foot sales center at the NBC Tower, which has an excellent view of the Spire site on 400 N Lake Shore Drive. Actual sales for the Spire won't begin until January 14, a delay attributed to necessary paperwork yet to be filed. That same date an international marketing drive will take off for locations in target cities in Europe, Africa and Asia. Savills Residential Development of London is handling that end of the sales. Right now, no sales have been made and Kelleher seems to be in no hurry to seek financing until then. If everything falls into place and enough people buy into the Spire brand, the tower's completion date is estimated for sometime in the fourth quarter of 2011.




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