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Kelleher's Spire back on the horizon

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An artist’s impression of how the Spire would look

An artist’s impression of how the Spire would look

The construction site in 2008.

The construction site in 2008.

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An artist’s impression of how the Spire would look

GARRETT Kelleher's dream to build the western world's tallest building is back on track.

The Chicago Spire, the building dreamed up by Irish developer Kelleher and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava near the delta of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, has secured €135m of funding with a US company which should enable work to recommence.

If completed, the 2,000 foot residential building will be the tallest in North America.

Its foundations have laid untouched for several years, after work ground to a halt when Kelleher's company Shelbourne defaulted on a large loan from Anglo Irish Bank in 2009. The site, which looks like a deep hole in the earth, is known by locals as "The Bathtub".

Shelbourne's loans were eventually acquired by NAMA and later sold to RMW Acquisition, an affiliate of billionaire Stephen Ross's real estate development business, Related Companies. Kelleher's company, Shelbourne, retained an interest in the project.

Now the Irish developer has found an investor willing to kick-start the project. In partnership with Chicago-based Atlas Apartment Holdings it has secured €135m for the project, which Shelbourne said will allow it to pay its creditors in full.

The proposals must still be approved by a US bankruptcy court. If successful, the project could generate as many as 15,000 US construction jobs.

"Given the ongoing recovery in the Chicago property market, the timing is better now than when this project commenced. I am delighted to have found a partner who believes in the project as passionately as I do," said Kelleher.

Irish Independent