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High Rises, Low Blows

Donald Trump lands the first punch in the battle of the Big Towers and Big Egos

Move over, Rosie. The Donald’s got a new punching bag: Chicago Spire developer Garrett Kelleher. The braggadocian real-estate mogul came to Chicago recently to pump up sagging sales of his $850-million Chicago tower. While in town, he made sure to throw a few verbal jabs at Kelleher’s proposed condominium project, the 2,000-foot-tall twisting spire on the lakefront designed by starchitect Santiago Calatrava. As proposed, it would be the country’s tallest building, and it has grabbed much of the spotlight from Trump’s skyscraper: thus, the turf war. “It’s not a good-looking building,” says Trump, of the Spire. “It looks like a large, slightly deformed penis.” As for Kelleher, a developer based in Dublin, Trump adds: “He’s not big enough, strong enough, or wealthy enough to build this building.” Could it be that Trump’s got size envy? Though he once boasted that his Chicago tower would be the world’s tallest, Trump says no: “I can do a taller building, if I wanted to–but I don’t.” He claims that his buyers didn’t want the building to be a terrorism target. Yet, for a project in Toronto, Trump added two stories and a large antenna to a planned residential skyscraper to give his building the “tallest” honors over a rival developer’s tower. Kelleher, who rarely grants interviews, declined comment. Thomas Murphy, a spokesman for Kelleher’s firm, also pulled punches. “We don’t comment on other developers’ projects or their comments on our project,” he says.


 

ILLUSTRATIONS (Trump Tower) Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; (Chicago Spire) COURTESY OF SHELBOURNE DEVELOPMENT (Trump) AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast; (Kelleher) John Delano

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