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South Loop Condo Developers Face Lawsuits

by Chicago Agent

Two years ago, approximately 100 condo buyers were sued for refusal to close on their units at One Museum Park West, located at 1201 S. Prairie Street; many of these cases have been settled in the favor of the developers, Ronald Shipka Sr. and Gerald Fogelson, but the lawsuits continue, said Crain’s.

Recently, the developers were sued by Gerald and Marilyn Hall, in the amount of $59,050 which accounts for 10 percent of the purchase price they paid “in earnest money.”

Eight additional former residents have also filed complaints against Shipka and Fogelson seeking a refund of their earnest money.

Lawyer Robert McLaughlin anticipates that the clients will win their money back due to the developers’ failure to complete the former owners’ units by the initially promised deadline, giving them a valid reason to skirt closing on their units.

“The bottom line that makes all these stories the same is that (the developer) wasn’t able to complete units on time when that time came and went,” said McLaughlin to Crain’s.

Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm, reported that buyers had closed on only 22 percent of the condos at the end of the first quarter, accounting for the lowest closing percentage among the nine South Loop projects that the firm tracks.

Similar lawsuits have become somewhat of a trend in Chicago, with other cases regarding condos in Hyde Park and on the South Side of Chicago surfacing in recent months.

When not in the Cook County Circuit Court, the developers are working to attract prospective buyers to their new 53-story project located in the South Loop.

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