Fordham’s new twist nation’s tallest proposal

A developer’s latest proposal could make Chicago the site of the nation’s two tallest buildings.

The $500 million Fordham Spire, a twisted, 115-story building that would be 2,000-feet high, could be built by 2009, according to Fordham Co. chief executive Christopher Carley, who unveiled his plans July 27. The structure would be built along the city’s lakefront near Navy Pier, northeast of the loop.

Santiago Calavatra, the architect and engineer known for his design of the Athens Olympics Sports Complex, designed the hotel and condo building to resemble a drill in order to deflect wind. The design calls for concrete to be the primary building material.

According to Chicago Architecture, an information website for projects in the city, the skyscraper’s main obstacle will be zoning. The land selected is zoned for a 540-foot-tall building and 350-foot building.

Carley said construction would start when there were sales agreements for at least 40 percent of the skyscraper’s units. No financing has been arranged yet.

Donald Trump, who is constructing a 92-floor, 1,360-foot skyscraper in Chicago for luxury condominium buyers, told reporters Carley’s proposed building would not be economically viable in the post-September 11 climate. Trump’s building would be a little less than 200 feet shorter than the Fordham Spire.

Connie Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, said the city has not received any formal plan from Carley yet. “When we receive the plans, we’ll move forward,” she said.

The Fordham Spire would be eight feet taller than the 110-floor Sears Tower, currently the tallest building in the country. If completed, the skyscraper’s height would also top that of New York’s planned Freedom Tower, which would be 1,362 feet tall, plus a spire to stretch it to 1,776 feet. The Freedom Tower’s expected completion date is in 2010.

You can reach Ebony Horton at ehorton@randallpub.com