Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Not So Fast! Legal Hurdle Could Slow Down 62-Acre Related Midwest Project

One of the many big real estate stories currently being discussed in the Sloop is the 62-acre "urban jungle" that Related Midwest wants to develop south of Roosevelt (between clark and the river).

This land has been in limbo for some time, but ever since Related got involved last year, it seemed like it would be moving in the right direction.  While it still may happen, there is a new complicating factor (via ChicagoTribune):
Photo from illinoispaytoplay.com
An Iraqi-born British billionaire who bought the largest undeveloped plot of downtown Chicago land from politically connected convicted felon Tony Rezko a decade ago was in on a scam "amounting to theft" when he cut a North Shore businessman out of nearly $13 million he was owed from the deal, the 7th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled.  
The ruling Monday against Nadhmi Auchi and his company, General Mediterranean Holding, throws a potential road bump in front of the proposed development of the 62-acre parcel of land connecting the South Loop and Chinatown, hailed last month as a transformative project that would alter Chicago's skyline.  
Auchi, 79, was convicted in 2003 in France in a corruption scandal, and his involvement in the huge plot southwest of Roosevelt Road and Clark Street has long been a subject of intrigue. Court testimony in 2008 indicated then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2004 attended a party Rezko threw for Auchi in an attempt to interest Auchi in the property.  
Auchi eventually bought the land from Rezko for $31.8 million, and last month partnered with Related Midwest to develop the site in a deal Mayor Rahm Emanuel is backing.
It's always been interesting that Obama is tied to this story.  Anyway, should be interesting to see how it plays out.  While there are tens of millions of dollars involved in this case, it seems like the scope of what Related has proposed is much more than that.

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