Banks Look to Seize Block 37

Lenders file foreclosure suit

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009  |  Updated 12:52 PM CDT
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Banks Look to Seize Block 37

WMAQ

A group of lenders led by Bank of America has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Block 37.

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As Halloween approaches, it is all too appropriate that Block 37 be haunted by another failure.

Late Monday, Bank of America led a group of lenders to file a foreclosure suit against Block 37, the mixed-use project that has been under construction since July 2006.

The developer, Joseph Freed and Associates LLC, released a statement, saying the lawsuit "is a serious breach of trust with the people of the City of Chicago" and that it "lacks merit." Freed and Associates plan to "fight it vigorously."

The statement went on to describe the progress the project has made in building "the physical structure for this development" and in acquiring tenants.

"Any efforts by Bank of America and the bank group to stop the project just as it was to open will have serious and damaging consequences. It will result in an immediate and substantial loss of jobs and much-needed revenue for the City of Chicago. It will deprive the City of millions of dollars in tax revenues going forward," Freed said.

Oddly enough, the statement seems to leave out the part when Loews Hotels pulled out of its $175 million project, the part when Lululemon USA Inc. were duped into thinking there would be an Apple retail location, and the part when David Barton Gym—the complex's first and largest retail tenant—also canceled its plans.

Freed added, "Once shuttered, this project will be near-impossible to restart."

Restart? That would imply that anything has developed in the first place!

If you're looking for a good haunted house this Halloween season, try Block 37. The spirits of retail stores never-to-be roam its barely constructed walls, and the moans of exasperated Chicagoans echo through the cold darkness.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, thinks dumping money into a giant hole would be more productive than Block 37.

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