Shelbourne Development Group

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Shelbourne Development Group
Industry Land Development
Founded 1987
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Key people
Garrett Kelleher
Website Shelbourne Development

Shelbourne Development Group, LLC is a residential and commercial development company founded in 1987 by Garrett Kelleher. Shelbourne Development has projects in Ireland, continental Europe, and the United States. The majority of the projects are in Ireland although the company is based in Chicago. Shelbourne develops office space, residential and retail, commercial, and mixed use properties. Shelbourne Development Group was involved in the Chicago Spire project which was intended to be the tallest skyscraper in North American until funding collapsed during construction.


Garrett Kelleher is the founder and executive chairman of the Shelbourne Development Group.[1] Kelleher has worked in property development for over 20 years in both the United States and Ireland. Kelleher started the Shelbourne Development Group in 1987 focusing on renovating lofts in downtown Chicago, Illinois. He has grown the company considerably and completed development projects around the globe.

Tom Hamilton joined Shelbourne Development Group in 2001.[1] He is a chartered surveyor in Ireland. His current position is Director of Shelbourne Development Group. Hamilton is involved in all areas of property acquisition and management. He mainly works with the UK Valuation Office and financial valuation firms such as Nelson Bakewell and Christie & Co.

Peter Smolenski's works in financial structuring, sourcing and executing real estate development deals in the United States and leads the Chicago team, founding the Chicago Shelbourne office which opened shortly after Kelleher acquired the land for the Chicago Spire.[1]

Niall Collins is the Project Director of Shelbourne's Chicago office and responsible for the sourcing and acquisition of property developments and investments. His experience in the global property market includes the assessment and evaluation of feasibility, planning, design and project management.[1]

Jim Osborne has been responsible for the delivery of a number of high-profile commercial developments. Osborne has worked for over 20 years developing large-scale projects in North America, Europe, and Asia.[1]

Chicago Spire[edit]

The Chicago Spire was to be a keystone project for the Shelbourne Development Group. The Spire would have been a 2,000-foot (610 m) tall skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois.


The Chicago Spire was originally to be known as the Fordham Spire. The initial design was unveiled to the public in July 2005. The innovative and beautiful building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava received almost unanimous support from the public and Chicago city officials.The original design called for a twisting glass structure that would be one of the most unique new buildings in the world.However, financial trouble for Fordham Company cast doubts on whether the building would continue as planned. The developer was unable to get full financing for the project. Shelbourne Development, led by Irish developer Garrett Kelleher, came on the scene to save the planned building.Shelbourne Development changed the original design of the tower from a mix of hotel and condominium units to a full residential building. The new plans also changed the tower width, proposed height and floor plans for the top floors.[2]


The biggest obstacle to completing this building was zoning. The parcel of land selected was only zoned for as 540-foot (160 m) tall building and a 350-foot (110 m) tall building. However, Shelbourne managed to assuage the city, neighborhood groups, and local open space activists by developing a riverfront plaza with six stories of parking underneath. Shelbourne Development was also going to put up $9 million to help create DuSable Park. The City of Chicago had wanted to create that park on a neighboring piece of disused industrial land for decades, but could never come up with the money. Shelbourne would use the future parkland during construction, and then afterward turn it over to the city with the cash that will help it become public space.[3]

Crain's Chicago Business reported that the first contract for caisson work was awarded to Case Foundation Company. This put hope into backers of the project, and quieted some of its critics who didn't believe it would happen. The Crain's article states that Case will build 34 caissons 120 feet (37 m) deep by the first quarter of 2008. Construction of the Spire began in July 2007. There was no formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, just the arrival of crews and machinery on the site. The estimated completion date was 2012. In September 2008 the Chicago Sun-Times reported that construction work on the Spire was expected to slow down, but still continue, because of the economic turmoil in the American and global credit markets.[3]

Financial Crisis[edit]

In the fall of 2007, construction slowed down due to a slow economy. After a four-month delay, Shelbourne Development tried to start selling the 1,194 units it planned to build in the Spire. In January 2008, Shelbourne launched its sales effort outside the U.S., where it expected to sell about half the units.[4] Sales went well overseas but Shelbourne was facing a tough domestic market.[5] Shelbourne had trouble getting funding for construction and by the summer of 2009, construction came to a halt.[6] The only thing that had been completed was the foundation of the building.


The construction site has been dormant since late 2008.

In the late summer of 2009, Bank of America sued the Shelbourne Development Group for 3.44 million euros in relation to the Chicago Spire.[7] Bank of America is alleging that Shelbourne defaulted on a loan and is seeking money for the principal, interest, and associated fees from Shelbourne. At the time, Shelbourne was seeking funding from other financial institutions to resume construction. In late October 2008 Shelbourne countersued Bank of America Corp., claiming the lender committed fraud and deception in arranging a loan used to start the now-stalled Spire.[8] It was also rumored that the AFL-CIO was interested in funding the Chicago Spire project. In early December 2009, Kelleher had a meeting with leaders of AFL-CIO pension investment trusts in what were characterized as "advanced" talks regarding the planned skyscraper's funding. The loan from the AFL-CIO was rumored to be in the $170 million range. In addition to paying off the loan with the now-nationalized Anglo Irish Bank, estimated at $64 million, the funds would be used to satisfy liens totaling almost $19.6 million from firms that have worked on the project, including Spire architect Santiago Calatrava, who had said he was owed $11.3 million. Remaining funds would've been used for such infrastructure improvements as bringing water and electricity to the site. An AFL-CIO investment would have required Shelbourne to make the project a 100 percent union job, creating an estimated 7.5 million man hours of work for local unions.[9] Due to major setbacks the Chicago Spire was later cancelled in early 2010.[10]

Other Properties[edit]


The majority of Shelbourne's developments are in Ireland. In Ireland, they are mostly in Dublin County, Dublin and Limerick.The company has completed more than 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of development in Ireland alone, and has several projects underway. Belgard Square, Airton Road, Leixlip, and Ranelagh are all major developments in Dublin County owned by Shelbourne Development.[2] Notable developments in Dublin include Aston Quay, Burgh Quay, and Eden House. In Limerick, Shelbourne developed Cratloe Wood, the largest privately owned student accommodation complex in Ireland.[1]


Shelbourne Development has several developments in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and France. The company has developed a building on Cannon Street in the United Kingdom and in 2004 came close to purchasing the iconic Lloyd's of London Building for £236 million before the discovery of Alkali–silica reactions in the concrete.[2] In Belgium, Shelbourne has developed Bell'Art, Cortenbergh 71, and Science 14.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Shelbourne Development Group. "Shelbourne Development Group". Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Best Chicago Condos. "Best Chicago Condos Company Profile". Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  3. ^ a b Chicago Architecture. "Chicago Architecture Profile of Chicago Spire". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  4. ^ Chicago Tribune (2008-01-14). "Chicago Tribune Article on Economy". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  5. ^ Chicago Tribune (2008-05-24). "Chicago Tribune Article on International Sales". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  6. ^ Chicago Tribune (2009-08-14). "Chicago Tribune Article on Construction". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  7. ^ Business Week. "Business Week Company Profile". Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  8. ^ Chicago Tribune (2009-11-12). "Tribune Article on Countersuit". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  9. ^ Chicago Tribune (2009-11-30). "Tribune Article on AFL-CIO". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  10. ^

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