City of Chicago finalizes plans for Spire, set to become tallest residential building in the world...

City panel endorses Spire's latest twist | Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Plan Commission has given its final endorsement to the latest design for the long anticipated Spire, designed by Zurich-based Santiago Calatrava, and if it stays true to this design it will be 150-stories, making it the tallest residential skyscraper in the world. As a resident of Chicago, I welcome the awe inspiring design as the new centerpiece of the most beautiful skyline in the world. Such an addition to the awe inspiring Lake front should be an exclamation point on the city's already promising bid to host the 2016 Olympics, and coming on the heels of Donald Trump's first namesake in the Second City it adds to the increasingly modern and sophisticated fabric of America's only major city with unlimited potential for growth.

I am somewhat surprised by the initial complaints of some about the tower's aggressively futuristic aesthetic, though I am entirely sympathetic with those who are voicing concerns about the impact of the building's design on the gridlock that plague's the Loop during the morning and afternoon commutes. According to the City Planners, Calatrava has adjusted his original sketches, which called for a massive parking structure to wrap around the base of the tower, to instead take the private garage beneath ground, using the freed-up space as a river front park. The decision to make all parking private was also applauded generally amongst the public, since that drastically reduces the possibility that the tower could fall victim to a terrorist attack like that suffered in the parking structure of the World Trade Center in 1992.

The city also assigned a developer, Dublin-based Garrett Kelleher, which leaves the only unanswered question, who is going to finance everything? When Trump broke ground at his site just up the river, the cost of construction was already collected an earning interest because he was able to sell-out the entire structure well in advance. Though the cost of development, as well as the cost of individual condos has not yet been revealed, Calatrava insisted during the press conference following the unveiling of the latest design adjustments that demand is already high, and he is confident that this time he has struck the perfect balance between form and finance.

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