Tavern owner buys loans on hotel project near Wrigley Field

ditulis oleh : Jomblo Terhormat 10 Juli 2013
A company known for bars such as Schoolyard Tavern & Grill and Benchmark is throwing a changeup, aiming to take over a boutique hotel project near Wrigley Field that faces foreclosure.

An affiliate of Four Corners Tavern Group Inc. bought roughly $3.9 million in outstanding loans on the project 3469-75 N. Clark St., two blocks south of the ballpark, county property records show.

Once it gains control of the development, the company plans to complete the project, reducing the number of rooms to about 22, from the 42 originally planned, and adding bars on the ground floor and rooftop, confirmed Andy Gloor, co-founder of Four Corners and a managing principal at development firm Sterling Bay Cos.

The original developer, a venture that includes Timothy Collins, president of ticker broker Main Event Tickets Inc., was hit with two foreclosure cases a year ago seeking a combined $3.9 million.

Yet Mr. Collins isn't prepared to give up. The development venture is lining up fresh debt to pay off the loans and complete the project, he said.

“They bought the notes in a short sale and we're paying them off,” said Mr. Collins, president of Main Event Tickets Inc. “We're moving forward. We should be closing on a new loan.”

Mr. Gloor declined to comment on the foreclosure case.

The first phase of the project, a hotel with 21 or 22 rooms, is nearly complete, he said. An adjacent lot, where the Collins venture planned to expand the hotel, would be used for additional bar-restaurant space, parking or a beer garden, he said.

Four Corners is putting forward its plan as the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, pitches a $500-million-plus redevelopment of the ballpark and nearby properties. The family has announced plans for a Sheraton hotel across from Wrigley, including a 40,000-square-foot health club.

“They would be in competition with the Ricketts concept, although it will be more institutional in nature, a much larger and more traditional hotel,” said Ted Mandigo, director of Elmhurst-based hotel consulting firm T.R. Mandigo & Co.

The smaller project, meanwhile, likely will draw baseball fans but also will need to capture other guests, such as those visiting friends and family in Lakeview and nearby neighborhoods, to offset cold-weather months when the Cubs aren't playing, Mr. Mandigo said.


“The benefit is being at the heart of Wrigley Field for sports events, concerts and other events,” he said. “But they're not going to have the commercial business that you see downtown, and there's limited overflow from conventions. The Cubs are a great bonus, but Wrigley Field activities aren't enough to sustain a property on their own.”

Four Corners was founded in 2001 by Mr. Gloor and Matthew Menna, a former vice-president with Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Co. who is now a principal at Sterling Bay.

The new project comes about a year after Four Corners received $14 million in a sale/leaseback transaction involving three locations — Benchmark in Old Town, WestEnd near the United Center and Kirkwood Bar & Grill in Lakeview. The buyer was Scottsdale, Ariz.-based real estate STORE Capital.

Four Corners said the deal would free up money for new projects. The company's other bars are Crossing and Gaslight Bar & Grille in Lincoln Park, Schoolyard in Lakeview, Brownstone in North Center and Sidebar Grille in the Loop.

An affiliate of Four Corners bought the Clark Street hotel loans in 2012, likely at a discount, from Chicago-based Gold Coast Bank and Newport Beach, Calif.-based Sabal Financial Group L.P., county property records show.

Source : http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20130703/CRED03/130709925/tavern-owner-buys-loans-on-hotel-project-near-wrigley-field

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