Promotions from the past: The Spire

Chicago Spire press kit

We’ve cultivated quite the collection of promotional materials from sales centers, ranging from a handful of Xeroxed floor plans stapled to hand-written sales sheets to elaborate coffee-table tomes decorated with gold leaf. Project cancellations, budget cuts, and a desire to shift promotions online all mean one thing: It could be years before we see anything as ostentatious as the Lincoln Park 2520‘s velvet-covered package or Walton on the Park‘s bound hardcover book.

Over the next few months I’ll showcase some of the more interesting finds from our archives, starting with this one: the press kit from The Chicago Spire.

I assume this is a press kit due to the inclusion of several news releases (including a one-page biography of developer Garrett Kelleher, described here as “an intensely private family man”), so it may not be quite as fancy as the package potential buyers receive. Still, it’s a surprisingly simple affair for such a huge undertaking. A cream-colored card-stock folder bearing an embossed pattern of Santiago Calatrava‘s Spire logo (at top) opens to reveal two full-color books, nine 8.5″ x 11″ renderings (four featured at the bottom of this post), a few hand-folded floor plans, and a corner-stapled “fact sheet” handout.

Cover of Chicago Spire promotional bookletNot surprisingly, the two books are the package’s two most interesting materials. One is a portfolio juxtaposing Calatrava’s sketches with photographs of the Milwaukee Art Museum (below) and L’Hemisfèric in Valencia, Spain. The other collects new and vintage photos of downtown high-rises like the Willis Tower, the Hancock Center (at right), and the Marina City towers, and public art like the Picasso and the Cloud Gate (the implication being, of course, that the Spire is a natural heir to these landmarks from both an architectural and an artistic standpoint).

Chicago Spire press kit

These September 2007 materials show their age most in the back third of this second booklet. There, you can find pages devoted to Chicago’s economy (with bullet points singling out the strength of the city’s hotels and its downtown office market), its residential real estate market (complete with projections of a 50-percent increase in the downtown population and an ever-growing demand for business-district residences), and the 2016 Olympics bid (featuring the key quote, “The city impressed judges with its commitment to making a Chicago Games a compact city center event, with long-term benefits to Chicagoans across the city”).

Chicago Spire rendering Chicago Spire rendering

Chicago Spire rendering Chicago Spire rendering

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