Gensler’s “Gateway Tower” is a 2000-foot (610 meter) conceptual proposal for the Chicago Spire site. The project is the winning entry for a company-wide internal competition to generate a new megatall structure for the 2.2 acre plot at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive. The mixed-use proposal throws out the residential luxury model that drove Santiago Calatrava’s design, with a concept inspired by tourism and public engagement. Gateway Tower’s volume is still largely devoted to residential functions, but now condos and apartments are coupled with a hotel and public attractions that connect to the riverwalk, lakefront, and city. The building would include four unique experiences including riverfront public access at DuSable Park, a Funicular ride of pods ascending the building’s structural “leg” over Lake Shore Drive, a Skylobby with hotel and retail amenities, and a Skydeck with a restaurant and sky-garden at the building’s pinnacle.
With Santiago Calatrava’s unfulfilled Chicago Spire amounting to just a (costly) depression along the Chicago River, what was to be the second-tallest building in the world certainly has not established the legacy it intended. However, following the site’s relinquishment to local developers Related Midwest, it may yet have a meaningful impact on its community. Six Chicago-based firms of various disciplines have developed designs to make use of the "hole" by injecting a public program into the abandoned site.
Santiago Calatrava's much maligned design for the Chicago Spire has finally met its end, thanks to a lapsed payment deadline from the site's developer, Grant Kelleher. The project, which would have been the tallest building in the USA, began construction in 2007 but was halted at the onset of the global financial crisis, leaving nothing more than a large hole in the ground for over six years.
Despite numerous attempts to revive the Spire, Grant Kelleher's Shelbourne Development Group never overcame its financial troubles. Shelbourne Development Group and its partner Atlas Apartment Holdings received a court order to pay $22 million to one of their creditors, Related Midwest, who had bought $93 million worth of debt from the project. However, the Chicago Tribune reports that within minutes of the October 31st deadline lapsing with no sign of payment, Related Midwest filed papers in a Chicago court requiring that the deeds for the property be passed to them.
Cloaked in financial woes, what was intended to be the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere has remained a stagnate hole in the Chicago cityscape since the height of the crisis. However, the fate of the Santiago Calatrava-designed luxury condominium may be about to change, as developer Garrett Kelleher is actively seeking court approval to reinstate the project with a $135 million investment from Atlas Apartment Holdings LLC. More on Chicago's 2,000-foot “twisting" spire latest update here on the Chicago Tribune.