Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicago Spire: Still Dead

. . . but the site is so clean! (Photograph courtesy Bob Johnson.)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the project "dead" or still "on hold"? There is a big difference you know. Stating that it is "dead" would require further explanation and I don't see any. I personally would like this project continue and reading that it is "dead" is very disconserning and not helpful.

Lynn Becker said...

"on hold" is a euphemism for "gee, there's got to be SOMEBODY to give a billion plus dollars for this thing.". The latest reported touches/prospects were the construction unions, who are obviously eager to find work for their members, but so far, they're not biting. Condo sales are currently in negative numbers, meaning the number of contract cancellations exceed the meager number of units actually being sold. So while everyone (almost) would like to see this spectacular vision made flesh, the reality is it's a corpse until such time as a re-animator appears.

Spudart said...

The Chicago Spire site is one big Zen garden.

erik said...

What can we fill those giant Spire holes with? I suggest we don't fill them. It'd be kinda hard to the stuff out if construction every resumes. How about a tent covering the holes that's shaped and colored like a giant red crayon?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Becker...how do you know there have been cancellations? Over one third of the units are sold, and since buyers would lose their deposit there is no reason to cancel at this point. All the deposits are in a Bank of America escrow account earning interest. By the way, what is your architectural background other than some cute words and criticism for the project?

Lynn Becker said...

What world do you live in? Do you read the news? Security deposit or no, cancellation of contracts - security deposit be damned - has become pandemic. The last quarter 2008 report of negative sales numbers comes from Appraisal Research, and the push to negative came from a glut of cancellations meeting a paucity of sales. It isn't showing much better for the 1st quarter of this year, with a net total of 55 sales out of an available stock of 4,000 or so units.

As to background, the opening sentence of my official biography is "Lynn Becker has no professional or academic credentials of any kind." What's your background? You wouldn't be in the employ or a contractor of Shelbourne by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Becker...I live in a world where people are walking away from deposits before closing, not 4-5 years before the building is complete. The deposits are in an escrow account and the purchase agreements have a drop dead date for completion after which the deposits are returned. Why would someone call Shelbourne and say "hey, I want out so just keep my deposit and have a party"? If the project does not get built, all deposits will be returned including interest. And no, I am not in the employ or a contractor of Shelbourne.

Lynn Becker said...

Well, thank God for that.

Why would people want to pull their deposit when its earning interest in escrow? Well, let's see. Could it be that the economy has tanked so badly, that even many of the wealthy no longer have the luxury of keeping funds tied up for an open-ended period of years in escrow when they need cash now, or that the Irish economy whose banks Kelleher was counting on for financing has collapsed, or that an increasing number of people have doubts when - if ever - this billion dollar project will become viable. Don't get me wrong, I would like to see the Spire built, but I don't confuse wishes for reality.

Anonymous said...

OK, now I see where you are confused and/or misinformed. Buyers at The Spire cannot request their deposits back prior to the drop dead date in the purchase agreement which is approximately five years from now. If the project is officially abandoned, the deposits will be refunded at that time. Basically, the money is stuck in an escrow limbo which is to the developers benefit as they continue in their attempts to secure financing.

Lynn Becker said...

If that's true, I bet most of those people are kicking themselves by now. And unless there's some sign of movement in the not too distant future, I would expect some of these buyers will be going to court to challenge the terms of agreement, which is also becoming fairly common with buyers of units in projects that seem to be going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

It is true for sure...I should know because I have a deposit on a unit at The Spire. I am also sure you are right about a potential lawsuit if something does not materialize in the near future. Actually for me, 5-7 years out fit's very nicely into my plans. I live in Michigan and have a great condo in the GC that my two daughters live in. I need some time to get them out and for values to get back to a reasonable point so I can sell it. If the Spire never happens, I'll remodel and stay there. For now, the deposits are frozen in an escrow account at that loser Bank of America. By the way, I like ArchitectureChicago PLUS and your posts...I'm an architect.

Shawn said...

I'll bet if the economy didn't tank, the sales would probably be at 2/3 and it would be 30-40 stories up by now. There was a lot of new money buyers before the "crash". Hopefully they will wait a little longer so this beautiful building gets completed.