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Irish Developer Will Build North America's Tallest Building in the Windy City

By Matthew Marin, Associate Editor

JULY 20, 2006 -- Chicago -- A company from Ireland has acquired land north of the Chicago River for the development of a 124-story residential and hotel tower that will become the tallest skyscraper in North America and Europe.

Garrett Kelleher, executive chairman of Shelbourne Development Ltd & the Shelbourne Group, made the announcement today and revealed that construction on 400 North Lake Shore Drive will begin in 2007, with completion expected late 2010. The site, which has been granted zoning approval by the city, is formerly known as the Fordham Spire.

The $1.2-billion development would include 300 luxury condominium residences, ranging from $600,000 to $5 million, and a five-star hotel. Approximately 50,000 square feet of retail and support space is planned for the floors overlooking the river and Lake Michigan.

“Kelleher believes he can market this building internationally,” Tom Murphy of Thomas J. Murphy, P.C., general counsel for Kelleher, told MHN. “He’s very passionate about this development and excited to have this opportunity here in the U.S., especially in Chicago, which he thinks is a global community.”

Kelleher has an extensive interest in property developments in London, Paris, Brussels and the Bordeaux region of France. In 1986, he arrived to Chicago, where he worked as a subcontractor, contractor then developer before leaving in 1996 to return to Ireland with his family.

Kelleher, who was unavailable for comment, said in a statement, “I love the city of Chicago. It has a special place in my heart. Two of my six children were born here and it will always be my second home. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the Chicago skyline and look forward to developing a property that the city and the Mayor can be proud of.”

Architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava designed the plan of development for the site, situated at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River. “This is going to be an iconic building, located at the gateway of the city,” Murphy said.

The development plan calls for a building measuring approximately 2,000 feet, to the top of the tower including spires/antennae and 1,570 feet to the roof, making it the tallest free-standing structure in North America and Europe, surpassing Chicago’s Sears Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower. The building will comprise of 920,000 square feet.

Shelbourne Development, headquartered in Dublin, is a property development company. Anglo Irish Bank is providing the financing for the site acquisition.


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