(Above) George A. Tripp House at 42 East Superior Street, along with 44 and 46 East Superior Street. (Click on image to view larger version.)
26-Dec-19 An attorney representing a group of Chinese investors who loaned $49.5 million to a developer to build a 60-story hotel/condominium at Wabash & Superior is now demanding that his clients get their money back.
Doug Litowitz, representing the investors in a federal class action lawsuit, says construction of Carillon Tower was supposed to be finished in 2017. The tower was not built and now New York-based Symmetry Development, LLC, says it does not even own the land on which the tower would be built.
Had Symmetry been able to go forward with its plan, the 19th century row houses at 42 and 44-46 East Superior Street would have been demolished. The properties, built shortly after the 1871 Chicago fire, are included in the citys proposed Near North Side Multiple Property District.
Symmetry has told Senior United States District Judge Charles Kocoras that the investors money cannot be returned because the project will eventually move forward, though it has not been approved by the city. 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly sunk the project in 2017 over concerns of unmanageable congestion at an already-busy intersection. The immediate vicinity includes popular restaurants Rosebud on Rush and Jake Melnicks Corner Tap.
On December 11, Symmetry filed new designs with the citys Department of Planning and Development. Deputy Commissioner Peter Strazzabosco says city officials have not had a chance to study the designs. Images revealed earlier in 2019 were an amalgamation of the original Carillon Tower project with the facades of the 19th century greystones incorporated into the new building.
Frustrated Symmetry has been able to continue to file new versions of the original project, Litowitz said enough is enough and his clients, after years of delay, deserve to have their money returned.
After four years of hiding $49 million in Chinese money on a five-year loan, investors were told it would be completed in 2017 [but] no shovel has hit the ground, said Litowitz (left). There is no proof Symmetry even owns the main parcel on which they are supposed to build, and the other parcels of the project are in foreclosure and heavily encumbered, and the whole thing is subject to future landmark committee approval.
Litowitz says he is dumbfounded as to why Alderman Reilly does not give the project a definitive thumbs-down and why the city is accepting from the developer new versions of the proposal.
We believe Symmetry should give back the Chinese investment and instead locate a rural area to build a more modest structure such as a teepee, yurt, or bamboo hut reinforced with elephant dung, mused Litowitz.
A spokesperson for Reilly says the alderman has not received any new proposal or plans from the developer. Attempts to contact Symmetry have been unsuccessful.
Each investor loaned at least $550,000 to Symmetry in order to participate in the federal EB-5 Visa program that would provide for them a path to become a legal resident of the U.S.