America’s housing market has come into sharper focus with the launch of the vast Chicago Spire — the world’s tallest residential tower. Chicago is the home of the original skyscraper but, rising 2,000ft (150 storeys), the Spire will loom over Lake Michigan and the city. By comparison, Canary Wharf tower, the UK’s tallest building, is a mere 771ft.
From January 2008, Britons will be able to buy into the scheme whose iconic status, plus the pound’s strength against the dollar, are cited as good incentives by Dublin-based developer Shellbourne.
The Spire’s slender barley-sugar form is the creation of celebrated Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. There will be 1,193 apartments, to be completed in 2011, from 534sq ft studios to a 10,293sq ft penthouse, from £370,000 to £19.7 million. This is expensive by Chicago’s standards, but Dominic Grace, of UK agent Savills, says the city is undervalued. “It has a dynamic economy, superb infrastructure and an incredibly vibrant lifestyle.”
Chicago, the US’s third city after New York and Los Angeles, is favourite to win the bid for the 2016 summer Olympics, which would trigger large-scale regeneration.
Early indications are that Spire values have been set at about £1,000 a square foot — a third of top central London developments. Buyers will have to pay a 20 per cent deposit and the balance on completion.
No two apartments will be the same because of the way the building is engineered. One Calatrava signature unit is the Gallery flat, which features a circular glass enclosure for a bedroom.
Minimalist interiors will have 10ft-high ceilings, marble and onyx bathrooms, hardwood floors, maple kitchens and walk-in dressing areas.
Sales begin in January 2008. Call Savills on 020 7409 9997, or visit www.thechicagospire.com.