It looks like the Chicago Spire is going from vision to reality after dodging a few bullets late last year. The sales center for the highly anticipated 1,193-unit condo tower opened in mid-January with 600 pre-scheduled appointments, while construction of the building's core is well underway. That alone should be proof to some vocal skeptics, who don't believe that the project will get built, says Kim Metcalfe, a spokesperson for Dublin, Ireland-based Shelbourne Development Group, which is developing the project.

The 150-unit spiraling skyscraper, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is expected to be the world's tallest residential building when it opens in early 2011. A project of this magnitude is bound to have its fair share of construction complications, and the Spire is no exception. The developer had to push back sales from September '07 to January '08 due to a delay in HUD-required regulatory paperwork. On top of that, late last year, the condominium association at the River View condo complex next to the Spire site filed a lawsuit alleging the developer misrepresented the scope of the project during negotiations to build under land between the two projects. The lawsuit, however, was later dropped since neither Shelbourne nor the condo association owned the strip of land. (The original developer of the River View, now defunct, never transferred land ownership to the condo association.)

Now, the project is on track, Metcalfe says. “I have total faith that this project will be built,” adds Butler V. Adams, a Chicago architecture enthusiast. “This project will totally transform the skyline as the Sears Tower and John Hancock Center did a generation ago.”