Interest in the Spire is sky-high

The outlook for Chicago's office and retail markets may get hazy, but so far the future of the city's newest landmark – the world's largest residential tower – appears crystal clear.

The Chicago Spire will tower over the Sears Tower by about 500 feet and claim the title of North America's tallest building. The project is slated for completion in early 2012.

Interest in the Spire, being developed by Irish company Shelbourne Development Group, is robust, said spokeswoman Kim Metcalfe. In June, Shelbourne said it had sold 30 percent of the 1,194 units, and sales are now “well north of that number,” Metcalfe said.

She claims the project has avoided financing snafus that have plagued other developments amid the credit crunch mostly because the developer's executive chairman, multimillionaire Garrett Kelleher, is putting 20 percent equity into the $1.5 billion project.

Condos there start at $750,000 and the main penthouse is listed at $40 million.