Payment disputes plague Spire construction

Noted architect Santiago Calatrava is among the latest to file suit against the Chicago project’s developer for nonpayment.

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff October 30, 2008

According to a Chicago Tribune report , Santiago Calatrava, the architect behind the striking design for the Spire project in Chicago, has joined a long line of people unhappy with the developer and is suing for nonpayment.

Calatrava’s representatives claim their client has been shorted $11.3 million in fees by Shelbourne Development Group, Inc. Separately, architectural firm Perkins + Will filed a lien for $4.8 million. According to developer representatives, the actual amounts owed are in dispute, and because the project is slated to stretch out over four years, they still have several months to deliver the checks.

The Spire, a planned 150-story skyscraper sited near the shore of Lake Michigan, first broke ground in June 2007; if completed as planned, the structure would be the tallest skyscraper in the world. The developer reports about one third of the units already have been sold, including the penthouse, with a price tag said to be $40 million. In recent months, however, construction activity at the Spire site has all but stopped, leaving a 76-foot-deep hole surrounded by caissons, and nothing more.