Sunday, June 21, 2009


So what could find itself in the Nama pot?

Windy City SPIRE

Almost three years ago, Shelbourne Developments struck a deal to build one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Chicago Spire. Construction of the $1.2bn (€950m) tower -- expected to reach 610 metres -- began in summer 2007.

When the ambitious plans were announced in 2006, the company said the tower would be "the tallest free-standing structure in North America and Europe, surpassing the Sears Tower in Chicago and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada". However, the credit crunch has stopped the tower in its tracks. Construction of the tower, which was initially due to be finished by late 2010, has been on hold since late last year "until the market improves", according to a spokeswoman for Shelbourne. The spokeswoman said the tower is still going ahead and that 40 per cent of the apartments have been sold.

However, the latest pictures -- which show that the tower is currently little more than a hole in the ground -- are unlikely to be much comfort to Anglo Irish Bank, the key backers of the project. Shelbourne paid about $64m (€51m) for the Spire site about three years ago -- and this paper understands that most of this money came from Anglo. Neither Anglo nor Shelbourne would say whether Shelbourne has paid Anglo back its loans for the Chicago Spire. As this project is only a couple of years old, chances are Anglo hasn't got its money back -- and that the Spire could make it into the mix of properties that loans heading Nama's way are secured on.


1 comment:

thing fish said...

I was in Chicago last week, Shelbourne developments owe a lot of businesses there a lot of money.

The whole celtic tiger model, get credit from your suppliers then hope you can flog the finished article for ten times what it cost to build.