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Skyscrapers plan for Chicago site once owned by Irish developer

A major US developer has unveiled an ambitious plan to build twin skyscrapers on the site of Irish property tycoon Garrett Kelleher's ill-fated Chicago Spire.

New York-headquartered Related Companies said its proposal for the site, which it now owns, would see the delivery of 850 luxury apartments and a 175-bedroom hotel at 400 Lake Shore Drive by its Chicago subsidiary, Related Midwest.

The scheme's apartments and hotel will be distributed across two towers, which will rise in height to 850 feet and 1,100 feet respectively. Garrett Kelleher's own plans were wrecked by the onset of the global financial crisis.

But he could have laid claim to having delivered the world's tallest residential building.

Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the proposed Chicago Spire was to have risen to 2,000 feet on what is the last major undeveloped site on Chicago's famed Lake Michigan shoreline.

Today, Mr Kelleher is pursuing a lawsuit seeking damages of $1.2bn against Nama, alleging that the agency destroyed his chances of building the Chicago Spire through a combination of "sheer spite" and "consistent incompetence" on the part of certain of its officials.

His company, Shelbourne North Water Street Corporation, blames Nama for the project's demise. He cited the agency's refusal to support his plans for the Spire after the crash and the collapse of the scheme's principal funder, Anglo Irish Bank.

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