Is End Near for Calatrava’s Chicago Spire?

Well hello there, strangers. You might have noticed that this writer took a little bit of a hiatus there for a few days, which is ordinarily unforgivable, we know but there were good reasons. During this time, he was married, honeymooned in the Caribbean, and survived a visit by Hurricane Omar, each of which seem like valid excuses. But that is neither here nor there, as we’re back in full force and have design things to talk about. First up, in case you missed it, the big news locally is that Santiago Calatrava‘s massive Chicago Spire might now wind up remaining what it is today: an empty lot. Why? Because the developer has yet to pay the starchitect the $11.34 million dollars they owe him for his work on the project. They’ve also failed to pay the millions owed to the local firm hired to oversee the project. And even when times are tough, gigantic, twisty buildings don’t get built on trust, so everything has ground of a halt, with everyone in town eager to see what happens. Here’s a bit:

The spire’s developer, Shelbourne Development Ltd., has begun underground construction of the building at 400 N. Lake Shore. But it has acknowledged slowing the pace of the work because turmoil in financial markets has limited access to credit.

The liens reflect a contract dispute and do not indicate the project is in financial trouble, said Kim Metcalfe, a spokeswoman for Shelbourne.

As for Calatrava, whose reputation is a primary marketing tool for the building, Metcalfe said, “We’ve paid him a significant amount of money, and this is a four-year project. We are working proactively with him to resolve this.”