Chicago Approves Plan for United States' Tallest Tower

The Chicago Planning Commission has unanimously approved the construction of a new high-rise that will be the tallest building in the United States.

Developers plan to build the Fordham Spire, a 124-story residential and hotel tower designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, at North Water Street and Lakeshore Drive, where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan.

Before construction can begin, though, the proposal must be reviewed by the Chicago City Council's Zoning Committee, which meets March 23, and then be considered by the City Council at its next meeting, scheduled for March 29.

Given the glowing reception the proposal received at the Planning Commission meeting, it is expected to receive approval from both the Zoning Committee and City Council. The plan also was endorsed by the neighborhood group that represents the area where it will be built.

The proposed building will be a great addition to the city, said Alderman Burton Natarus at the Planning Commission meeting.

"This is a very unique, historic moment for our city," he said. "The Fordham Spire is a profound project, one with great sensitivity to Chicago's great architecture, and I am proud and pleased to support it."

"This is an important day for us. With this approval, we're on our way to adding another architectural treasure to this great city," said Christopher T. Carley, chairman and CEO of Fordham Co., which is developing the Spire. "We know the Spire will be a beautiful icon of the city's skyline. It will contain 300 of Chicago's finest homes and a five-star hotel."

The 124-story Fordham Spire will measure 2,000 feet to the top of its spire and 1,600 feet to its roof.

Carley has been working to bring one of Calatrava's designs to Chicago for more than three years. Calatrava, a world-renowned architect, artist and engineer, is the recipient of numerous international design awards. His work was the subject of a recent exhibition, "Santiago Calatrava: Sculpture into Architecture," at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

"I am very happy that people have understood our desire to develop this design beyond the ideas we first presented," Calatrava said. "Now, we have taken everything a step further, in order to connect this building to the city around it."

If it receives all the approvals, the tower could be completed in 2010.

ABC News affiliate WLS-TV in Chicago contributed to this report.

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