Old Post Office Back on Auction Block

First deal with winning bidder fell through Saturday

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009  |  Updated 6:21 PM CDT
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Chicago's old post office is for sale. Again.

After failing to close the deal with a previously high-bidder who backed out at the last minute, the United States Postal Service announced Tuesday that it was inviting all of the original bidders at the original August auction to submit new bids on the Eisenhower Expressway-spanning facility.

Bids are due by noon on Friday, and the USPS wants the deal closed by 5 p.m. that day.  The winning bidder will have until noon on Monday, Oct. 19 to deposit 10 percent of their bid.

The building was initially won on a $40 million bid from investor Bill Davies of England on August 27, but the deal didn't close at the end of a 10-day "cure period" that Davies said he'd negotiated.

Most agreed that Davies bid an astronomical amount even if the old post office is one of the largest, well-located and vacant buildings in the nation.  The fire in one of the vents this past weekend is evidence of the millions that will have to be spent on infrastructure and environmental cleanup.

Nathaniel Hsieh, a Chinatown attorney who represents Asian, Russian and South American investors, said he is "outraged" over the announcement and plans to file a lawsuit on Wednesday.

Hsieh said he signed a back-up offer contract with the postal service that would take effect should Davies' agreement fall through. 

"A contract is a contract," he said.

The building has been empty since the mid-90s when the United States Postal Service moved to another location nearby.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places but is not a Chicago landmark.

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