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New hope for foreclosed West Side gym, private school

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:37AM

President Barack Obama, following his Election Day custom, played his education secretary, Arne Duncan, and friends in a pickup basketball game Tuesday. Former U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias also tweeted his participation. They played at a place that has gone through foreclosure — what the Republicans could have done with that a few days ago.

Obama was at Attack Athletics, 2641 W. Harrison, which in an unusual set of circumstances is coming under control of Chicago Hope Academy, a private Christian high school. The 60,000-square-foot complex, with its four NBA-regulation courts, was built by Michael Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover, in 2007. But Grover defaulted on a more than $10 million mortgage and in a bankruptcy listed Jordan as a creditor to the tune of $1.5 million.

So Grover lost his business. But how did Chicago Hope, a highly regarded school, get it? The investment group that bought the gym out of foreclosure, Ringgold Capital Management LLC, donated it, said a grateful Robert Muzikowski, president of Chicago Hope. He wouldn’t identify who is behind Ringgold, saying the donor prefers to be anonymous, and I couldn’t find corporate records that would help. But the name invites speculation. Ringgold? Gold rings? Somebody with an NBA connection?

Muzikowski said the property will no longer operate as a training center for professional athletes. It is now the Chicago Hope Athletic Center and will be open to local teams and community groups. Robert Morris College already uses it.

Under Grover, the gym always claimed patronage from an array of star athletes present and past, such as Jordan, Carlos Boozer and Tim Hardaway. But Muzikowski said elite training never was much of a business there.

His school was a tenant at Attack Athletics and also uses a field across the street. Muzikowski said he hopes the deal will bring services to the community and victories to his school’s teams.

LANDLORDS LEERY: Owners of downtown apartment buildings are filling almost all available units, but rent increases in 2013 are likely to be moderate, Ron DeVries, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, told the Chicagoland Apartment Association. In a presentation last month, he said landlords are aware of the onslaught of new construction downtown that will add about 7,900 apartments between now and 2014. Also on their minds is the shadow effect of condo rentals. Apartment dwellers won’t see double-digit hikes in 2013, DeVries said. In 2012, rents rose about 8 percent. “Strength in the market is not coming from job growth. It’s simply that people want to live downtown for the quality of life,” DeVries said.

TRAVELERS’ AID: The Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 W. Bryn Mawr, has launched a promotion for harried O’Hare Airport travelers. If you stay there one night for $89, you can get free parking at the hotel for 10 days, with free shuttles to and from O’Hare. The deal is available through Jan. 31, 2013.

SPACE FOR SALE: If you are an investor looking for a challenge, consider the three-building Greenspoint Office Park development in Hoffman Estates, which the brokerage Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP is marketing for sale. The 498,000-square-foot complex at Interstate 90 and Barrington Road is only 41 percent occupied, a poor performance even for the weak northwest suburban market.

With a three-acre lake and walking trails, the property has been well-maintained, said Holliday director Mark Katz. The seller is Multi-Employer Property Trust.

WACKER WONDER: No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Work has resumed at the 111 W. Wacker site, the forlorn concrete shell that has been unattended there since 2008. Related Cos. and partners have taken over the deal, and will complete a 60-story luxury apartment tower with commercial space and 400 parking spaces.

The plans are impressive but downsized compared with an earlier group’s designs for a 90-story condo and Shangri-La Hotel tower.

“The restart of this project is a significant signal that the real estate market in Chicago is recovering,” said Andrew Mooney, the city’s commissioner of housing and economic development.

DOING THE DEALS: Bradford Allen Capital secured a $24 million loan for the four-building Naperville Corporate Center at 1230-50 East Diehl Road, Naperville. The property owner is EquiTrust Life Insurance Co. … A 453,000-square-foot building at 350 Rohlwing road, Addison, sold for $20.5 million in a deal handled by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. Paper producer Domtar Corp. leases the space. … Duke Realty Corp. will expand its industrial building at 1800 Averill Road, Geneva, by about two-thirds, or 163,000 square feet, to accommodate expansion for Peacock Engineering Co. … In a $700,000 sale, Bestview International bought a 78,000-square-foot industrial building at 2230 Ridge in Glenview. The manufacturer of stone products in moving from Itasca and will take part of the space and lease the rest to others. Paine/Wetzel/TCN Worldwide and Lee & Associates were the brokers.

David Roeder reports on real estate at 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780) and WBBM-FM (105.9). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.

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