An attorney for Symmetry Property Development says the 60-story residential tower could still be built at Wabash & Superior now that the corner is located in another ward. Alderman Hopkins disagrees.
7-Sep-22 – An attorney for a New York-based developer that still owes nearly $50 million to Chinese investors says the 60-story residential tower they invested in could still be built at Wabash & Superior now that the corner is located in another ward.
In 2017, citing neighborhood opposition, Reilly blocked the project, called The Carillon, from moving forward. Then, in 2020, the Near North Side Multiple Property Landmark District was created, protecting the three parcels Symmetry had sought to demolish, along with 12 other buildings in River North and Streeterville. The single-family homes, row houses, and apartment buildings represent early redevelopment of the Near North Side following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Hopkins introduced an ordinance in 2018 that made it more difficult – and more expensive – for property owners who intentionally neglect their landmarked buildings so they would have to be demolished, creating vacant parcels that could then be sold to developers.
Money still missing
In early February 2021, co-defendants Jeffrey Laytin and Jason Ding, principals of Symmetry Property Development, signed a settlement agreement to return $49.5 million owed to the Chinese investors. A year and a half later, the money is still missing. Hildebrand has said in court that while his clients cannot locate the money, they are acting in good faith.
Doug Litowitz, one of the attorneys for the investors, says he believes his clients’ money was siphoned off long ago by Symmetry’s principals.
The Chinese investors, each of whom had invested as much as $550,000, were participating in the federal EB-5 program that gives foreign investors a fast track to permanent U.S. residency status.
Laytin and Ding have not responded to numerous requests for comment.