THREATENED: Chicago Landmark Leiter II Building Heads Into Foreclosure


“Renowned as one of the nation’s most important early examples of skeletal-frame commercial architecture, Leiter II Building is discussed in every major history of American architecture. A National Historic Landmark, it was designed by William Le Baron Jenney, the so-called “father of the skyscraper.” This building was erected by Levi Leiter; later, it was leased by Sears, Roebuck & Co. for its flagship department store. It is the city’s oldest surviving department store, a type of building that contributed to State Street’s development as a retailing thoroughfare. The so-called “first Leiter” building, built in 1879 at Wells and Monroe, was demolished in 1972.” (City of Chicago, Chicago Landmarks)

“The owner of a historic State Street office building is on track to give up control of the property a few months after losing its only tenant and watching the COVID-19 crisis devastate demand for workspace downtown.

“A lawyer representing 401 S. State St. owner Rampante Realty said the Tampa, Fla.-based investor won’t fight a foreclosure lawsuit filed against it this week for allegedly defaulting on a $47.8 million loan tied to the property.

“Instead of trying to hold onto the vintage 487,000-square-foot property, which served as the home of Robert Morris University from 1996 until the end of March, Rampante will respond to the lawsuit today acknowledging the default in hopes of handing over the keys to the property as soon as possible, said attorney Ariel Weissberg.

“The timing of the pandemic-induced recession couldn’t have been much worse for Rampante, which bought the State Street landmark for $68.1 million in 2016. After merging with Roosevelt University, Robert Morris moved out of the building at the end of March and stopped paying rent, effectively walking out on the remaining four years of its lease, according to a lawsuit a Rampante venture filed in April in Cook County Circuit Court. That lawsuit is pending.

“The 129-year-old William LeBaron Jenney-designed building, which used to be a flagship Sears department store, was designated a national historic landmark in 1976 and a Chicago landmark in 1997.” (Ecker, 8/27/20)

Read the full story at Crain’s Chicago Business

Investor set to give up vacant Loop landmark; The owner of Robert Morris’ former home at 401 S. State St. plans to hand over the keys to the vintage property after being hit with a foreclosure suit this week, Danny Ecker, Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/27/20)


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