Chicago Tribune, Kevin Nance in Chicago Sun-Times and Alexi Barrionuevo in the New York Times both reported this morning on the unveiling of a design by architect Santiago Calatrava for a proposed 115-story, 2,000 foot high residential tower to built along the Chicago river just off of Lake Michigan. Additional commentary can also be found on today's archidose. The tower, rising from a stepped plateau base like a braided, tapering stick of white licorice, would be called the Fordham Spire, named after the development company of the same name.
Christopher T. Carley, may be seeking to move beyond the often mediocre quality of design found in the recent upper-end projects put up by the Fordham Company. of which he is president. These include the Fordham, the Pinnacle, and the 65 E. Goethe, all of which had a propensity for backward-looking styling, complete with mansard roofs.
The project, with a price tag of at least a half a billion dollars and, given the experience of the massive cost overruns at Calatrava's soaring Milwaukee Art Museum, perhaps a good deal more, may be a tough sell in a market already saturated with ultra luxury housing. Trump Tower Chicago, already rising along the river, across the street from Mies van der Rohe's iconic IBM tower, on the site of the former Chicago Sun-Times Building , has 472 "super-luxury" condos, as well 286 condo hotel rooms. The same mixed used concept is being proposed for the Fordham Spire, but it would have only 200 condo hotel rooms and no more than 250 condo's, and contain less than a million square feet, versus Trump's 2,600,000.
Farley has experienced slow sales and problems with lenders in some of his recent projects, but if the Calatrava tower is built, it will mark a major step in the revival of Chicago's skyline, plagued over the last decade with a succession of numbingly ugly 40, 50 and 60 story condo towers.
Note: links to the Chicago Tribune and New York Times stories will expire into their respective archives after seven days.