Saturday, February 26, 2005

Reaching just a little higher for international acclaim, Donald Trump is pondering whether to make his new Chicago building taller than even the twin Petronas Towers in Malaysia.
It's a matter of how tall to make the spire for his new Trump International Hotel & Tower at 401 N. Wabash, the former site of the Sun-Times Building.
With his architects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Trump is looking at spire configurations that would qualify the building as being taller than Sears Tower, and hence the tallest in the United States.
But a top source at the Trump Organization said the developer might aim higher -- literally -- and try to top Petronas as well. There's only a 33-foot height difference between Sears and the Petronas towers.
TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL & TOWERCHICAGOStories: 92 (current proposal)Height: 1,360 (current proposal)
"We are studying the possibility of a building taller than Sears and possibly beyond that," the source said. "The decision should be made over the next month or so."
Trump is not shooting for the title of world's tallest, currently in the hands of the 1,670-foot Taipei 101 building in Taiwan. Exceeding Petronas in official measurements would require something at least 1,483 feet tall.
None of the spire alternatives involves increasing the size of the occupied portion of the new condo and hotel complex, where Trump has reported more than $600 million in sales. The spire would be ornamental but technically part of the structure and therefore figure in the height measurement.
Current plans put the 92-story building at 1,360 feet, some 90 feet short of the Sears mark.
The source said the various spire plans could add from $2 million to $5 million to the cost of the $750 million project. City approval would be needed to change the height, but the source said City Hall already has offered positive reviews.
Spokeswoman Connie Buscemi of the city's planning department denied matters have gone that far but confirmed enthusiasm for the idea. "We haven't seen the design yet, but we'd certainly look forward to it and be amenable to changes," she said.
When conceiving the project in 2001, Trump had the "world's tallest" title in mind but abandoned that goal after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that year.
Fears about skyscrapers being terrorist targets have subsided since then and buyer demand for tall buildings has increased, the Trump source said. "The tall building is back in vogue. It's like fashion. It's like dress sizes," he said.
All claims to height records, however, would be shattered if a proposed 1,776-foot building at Ground Zero in Manhattan wins approval from New York authorities and is built.


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