Calatrava leads tour of Chicago Spire Sales Center

Thursday, September 27, 2007
By Kelly Matlock

Chicago, IL (NCS) - The sales center for the highly anticipated Chicago Spire was unveiled to an exclusive media audience on Wednesday, with a tour given by famed architect Santiago Calatrava in the presence of developer Garrett Kelleher of Shelbourne Development Ltd. and the sales team for the Spire.
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View of the Cocoon bed and its  sliding glass doors
(The Gallery, Caltrava's signature unit)
Calatrava designed everything from the tower itself to the fixtures in the units.  He conceived the design as an aesthetic whole, overseeing the development of all apartment floor plans and creating new designs and artwork for the interiors.

Everything homeowners see or experience when entering their residences will be the result of Calatrava’s artistic attention.  He wanted to create something very special and unique for each person who lives there, which is why he personally designed each unit, making sure no two homes are alike.
The sales center, which is on the 18th floor of NBC Tower, overlooks the 2.2 acre site of the Spire that is bounded by Lake Shore Drive, Ogden Slip, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago River.

The 19,815-square-foot sales center, which will open to the public on January 14, 2008, features a fully furnished and decorated two-bedroom unit along with a model of Calatrava’s 1,000-square-foot signature unit, The Gallery.

Unique to The Gallery is a custom-made “cocoon bed” or a bed enclosed with sliding glass doors to provide a very private and separate sleeping area.  Wood wall panels cover sections of the ceiling.

All units will feature 10-foot-high ceilings and floor-o-ceiling windows with dramatic views as well as top-of-the-line materials and appliances.  Materials for the units have been chosen from a natural palette and include wide-plank herringbone hardwood floors, elegant granite, marble, and onyx stone, crafted European cabinetry, integrated American and European appliances and European plumbing fixtures.

Of the 1,193 residences in the Spire, a collection of suites (studios), and one to four bedroom units will be available in addition to The Gallery units and a duplex penthouse.

Units, which will be on floors nine through 142, will range in size from 534 square feet to 10,293 square feet and will be priced from $750,000 to $40 million USD.  While it’s a large range, the sales team confirmed that on average units will be less than $2,000 per square foot.

“We think we’ll be delighting the market,” said Dominic Grace, head of Savills Residential Development and leader of the global sales and marketing campaign.  “There’s been speculation, and that’s great because it’s an expectation!”

The sales team also emphasized that homebuyers at the Spire will be getting a lot of product that’s impressively affordable, considering the iconic nature of the building, the enviable location, and the exquisite detail to design of both the exterior and the interior.

In the sales center, Calatrava’s sketches and watercolors that led to the design of the Spire are displayed next to models of his other work.  A set of door handles he designed for the building’s main lobby he describes as male and female heads.
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Architect Santiago Calatrava describing the artistic elements of the tower
But it’s not like Calatrava designs things just to make them look aesthetically pleasing.  He is quick to point out that the building is not just beautiful, but is functional, and is designed with humans in mind.

“You have to think of the every day needs of a person like washing your hands, going to sleep,” Calatrava says, explaining that he designs buildings with that functionality in mind and with humans in mind.  “It’s very important that you get the feeling that ‘this is my home.’”

In order to really make residents feel at home in the Chicago Spire, exclusive amenities are located on floors five through seven and encompass 45,603 total square feet.  The space will include full concierge services, a ring-shaped recreational and lap pool, cigar room and personal humidors, residents’ library, private movie screening theater, business center and conference room, private dining room and a game room for children and teens.

“The amenities are the focal point for residents,” said Grace.  “There is even a lounge for teenage kids, which is usually somewhat forgotten in projects like this.” 

A 53-foot high, 15,220-square-foot transparent lobby will greet residents each time they pass through, featuring Calatrava’s sinusoidal motioned maple ceiling.

Certainly, Calatrava has put his efforts into making the Chicago Spire a true home for those who live there, but the building will also be an architectural and engineering marvel to everyone in Chicago and around the world.

Each floor of the seven-sided building rotates on average 2.44 degrees between floor plates, giving the Spire its distinctive, fluid appearance until it has turned a total of 360 degrees at the top.

The 2,000-foot-tall building will become the tallest exclusively residential building in the world and the tallest building in the western world.  It will be the most slender building in the world and will have the longest elevator run, which is 1,864 feet.

On top of the architectural and engineering feats, the Chicago Spire will incorporate world-class sustainable engineering practices to meet Gold standard of LEED certification.

Sustainable features include recycled rainwater, river water used for cooling, ornithologically-sensitive glass to protect migratory birds, intelligent building and management systems, waste storage and recycling management, monitored outdoor air delivery, and 15 percent more efficient than energy regulations.
The project includes a six-acre site plan that incorporates DuSable Park, a public park owned by the Chicago Park District in honor of Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, the first non-Native American settler of Chicago.  A one-acre landscape plaza along the river will be open to the public for residents and non-residents to enjoy.

Currently, the 34 caissons are being drilled 110 feet into bedrock and work on the ramp access from lower Lake Shore Drive will begin in late 2007.  The building is now scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Once the global sales campaign is launched in Chicago in January, the sales team will host a 14-city world tour visiting key cities in south and southeast Asia, Europe, and South Africa.

For more information, visit www.chicagospire.com or contact the Sales Center at 312-516-4800 to make an appointment.

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View of the construction site from the 18th floor of the NBC Tower