27-Feb-23 – Two developers who failed in their 2017 attempt to build a 60-story residential tower near Superior Street & Wabash Avenue are challenging an order by a federal judge for documents related to the $27.5 million they owe to Chinese investors in the tower.
Jeffrey Laytin and Jason Ding of New York-based Symmetry Property Development told Judge Charles Kocoras they could not follow an agreed-upon repayment schedule because a loan they were expecting had not yet materialized. An order by Judge Kocoras on February 9 included a clause that told the developers to provide documentation about the loan, but on February 17, the attorney for Laytin and Ding, Daniel Hildebrand, filed a motion asking for clarification.
While Hildebrand said his clients cannot provide any documentation for the loan, they will be using the loan to pay the balance of their settlement with the investors.
With dubious progress, Laytin and Ding started to repay the $27.5 million to their investors, as ordered to do so last September, with three monthly payments of $100,000. However, on November 10, just $20,000 was sent – to the wrong bank account. They were granted a ten-day grace period but missed the November 20 deadline and now the investors suing them are seeking the developers’ assets.
The Chinese-based investors loaned the money through the federal EB-5 visa program, which helps foreigners obtain permanent resident status in exchange for significant financial investment in U.S.-based projects.
89 investors collectively loaned $50 million to Laytin and Ding to fund construction of Carillon Tower. The tower would have replaced a series of historic 19th century rowhouses at 43-46 East Superior Street. Their proposal was not approved by the City of Chicago and in 2020, the rowhouses were included in the city’s Near North Side Multiple Property Landmark District, protecting them from demolition.