Thursday, February 5, 2009

Does the Chicago Spire depend on the Olympics?

Although we realize that the Spire isn't technically in Sloopin's jurisdiction, it's probably the best and highest profile gauge on Chicago's real estate market. Two years ago all systems were go. The largest propose building in North America was under construction, a new icon would be added to Chicago's legendary skyline, and surprisingly to some sales at the Spire seemed to be doing well.
However, times changed, the bubble burst and today we're left looking at a gigantic 7 story hole at one of Chicago's most high profile and important pieces of land (at the intersection of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan).

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Spire is on hold (which is obvious if you drive by the site). Most people probably read the writing between the lines an infer that this project is dead. However, according to Garret Kelleher (the developer) it's not over. At this juncture, Sloopin's going to take a cynical approach and hope we're proved wrong.

In the NYT article one of the most interesting quotes from Mr. Kelleher is his statement about the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid and it's impact on the Spire:
Specifically, Mr. Kelleher is waiting for next fall, when the city will learn whether it will be the site of the 2016 Olympics. “If Chicago lands the Olympics,it will certainly be a boost to the local economy,” Mr. Kelleher said.
Why is this interesting? It seems as if many people in the business world are on the edge of their seats to see what happens with the Olympic bid. As you know, we're all for the Olympics here at Sloopin, but it does raise a red flag when we hear talk like this. What happens if Chicago doesn't get the Olympic bid? Will this loss spell even more deflation in development and business in Chicago?

Conversely, winning the bid would probably help the local economy a lot (which is what Mr. Kelleher is saying). Obviously Chicago would get a lot of free international publicity which would help Mr. Kelleher sell units to across the globe.

So what do you think? Does the Spire need the Olympics to actually get built?

No comments: