Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deal for the National Association of Letter Carriers' Building Falls Through

Mayor Daley's nephew, Robert G. Vanecko, has been in the news a decent amount and last year we had a post about him and a partner investing city pensions to buy, build and develop the land where the current National Associate of Letter Carriers' has a building (1411 S. Michigan) which is just south of the Chicago Firehouse restaurant). Well according to the Chicago Sun-Times that has fallen through:
The restaurant, opened 10 years ago in a former city fire station, is next door to the longtime home of the National Association of Letter Carriers' Chicago Branch. Three years ago, union leader decided to sell their two-story building, hoping to turn a profit so they could build a new headquarters elsewhere in the city.

Several developers were interested. The best offer came from Vanecko and his business partner, mayoral ally Allison S. Davis. They wanted to put up a 32-story building-either condos or hotel rooms - on the property at 1411 S. Michigan Ave. and agreed to pay $8.5 million for the land once the union built its new headquarters at 3850 S. Wabash.

The gave the union a down payment - and advanced millions of dollars in city pension funds so the union could buy land and build its new home.

To date, Vanecko and Davis have given the union more than $4.5 million in city pension funds - including an $850,000 down payment, a "predevelopment commitment" advance of $400,000 and a $2.9 million line of credit, records show.

Last summer, Vanecko walked away from the company that he and Davis created, DV Urban Realty Partners, soon after a federal jury issued subpoenas to the company and the pension funds. Then, Davis and his son Jared Davis told the union they no longer wanted to buy the property - and they wanted the pension fund money back.

Obviously there is probably more to the story, but it appears not much is going on with this prime piece of South Loop property. The story is a good read and has quotes from Mayor Daley saying he advised his nephew that this was a bad idea. Interesante!

(Image from Chicago Architecture Foundation)


MarkChicago said...

that's too bad, this neighborhood really needed another 32-story condo tower.

AndrewChicago said...

Markchicago, you beat me to the punch. Empty buildings add to the beauty!!!

Anonymous said...

it said "or hotel rooms" you morons. Way to be negative about another interested party investing in the Sloop. I think a hotel would have been really good for the area! That empty commercial space at Marquee would have prob filled up

Anonymous said...

Great space for a Jumbo Subway restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I live in Trevi Square (1439 S. Michigan) to the south of 1411. Our Board met with the Alderman to discuss upkeep of the property when the Union moved out. The Alderman informed the Board that Vaneko's company wanted to turn the property into an apartment complex, there never was mention of it being a hotel or condo complex. The reporter in the Times got this part wrong. The "Hotel" project is actually a pet project of Matt O'Malley who wanted to put a hotel on the parking lot he owns at the corner of 14th & Michigan, across from The Firehouse. O'Malley had lined up investors (Daley's friends) but the deal fell through due to the economy which is why that property is now for sale. There's been talk of O'Malley turning The Defender building into a boutique hotel but that is also on hold.  Back to the still Union-owned 1411 property - the Aldermam was adamant that the last thing this neighborhood needed was more vacant apartments and at that time said that getting zoning would have been difficult as nobody from either Vaneko's company or the Union had even approached the Alderman's office to discuss the sale or use of the property. The Alderman also said his fear was that the apartments would never rent and Vaneko's company would rent them out strictly as Section 8 rentals, something they had done at other properties in the south side. 

The problem we as neighbors now have 1411 S. Michigan sitting vacant and isn't being maintained at all. Last year the front gate collapsed in and wasn't repaired for several months. The gate's been fixed but now trash (beer bottles, fast food bags, etc) are piling up behind the fence. Rats stream in/out of cracks at the base of the front where the building meets gravel. The parking lot has sinkholes that have become rats nests. The union also abandoned office furniture in the parking lot which has now started to decompose. In the winter the sidewalk was only shoveled once after an elderly neighbor from the retirement home at 14th & Indiana had a slip & fall and threatened to sue. The Alderman said he'd look into who is responsible for maintenance as it's a touchy matter for the city to send rat control onto private property. 

MarkChicago said...

"condos or hotel rooms"

Get your facts straight before you try to slam people. Understand this, I am extremely positive about the Sloop and love living here. What I don't advocate is developers thinking they can make money by packing more high-rise buildings in an already congested corridor, adding more empty retail/living space, while blocking views for the established buildings.

Anonymous said...

@ MarkChicago you said "another 32-story condo tower." in your post...keyword being CONDO. Why dont you try and read your own comments before making another post.

Anonymous said...

to Anon from July 1, 2010 6:55 AM:

Unfortunately, for all of us in the South Loop, these vacant lot issues you mention are occurring all over the neighborhood. I call on the Alderman to hold these vacant lot owners accountable for proper upkeep of their properties. Enough with these eyesores!

Anonymous said...

Last thing the south loop needs is a empty condo, apartment or section 8 housing blocking the views of existing buildings.

We paid top dollar for the lake views and would be decimated if the turned that corner into anything else besides the restaurant and union hall. I guess historic designations and post office is not a guarantee no one will block your view. Every developer is basically a liar and that's why we are in this economic mess!!!

Anonymous said...

You live on Michigan, and you expect to always have lake views? Ha! Shouldn't have spent the money unless you were willing to take the chance that your view would disappear. I had a great developer, but I did my research before buying. If everyone did the same and didn't spend money they didn't have (not saying you did), we wouldn't be in this mess.