Five unfinished condo units that were to be auctioned earlier this month remain under construction and unsold, according to the Chicago auction house handling the sale, while the developer pushes to bring the homes to completion.
The remaining residential units within the embattled Tuscan Lofts property, 7320 Madison, stalled for two years under a decree from the municipality’s building department that prevented developer Robert Marani from doing any work at the site. During that stretch, which began in 2007, residents in the four neighboring units suffered the ill effects of living in an unfinished building. Water damage and a dispute over the formation of a condo association have made for hard feelings.
Meanwhile, the unfinished units now face foreclosure, and lawsuits involving the residents, the developer and the building department have been bandied back and forth.
Kelly Frank, executive vice president of Auction Services Group, said that sealed bids on the available properties would be opened on Dec. 10. Initially, bids were to be reviewed Nov. 5, but Kelly said that construction on the units is progressing and the properties would be easier to market as the product takes shape.
Forest Park Village Administrator Tim Gillian confirmed that municipal building inspectors are aware of Marani’s intentions to complete the units. At least daily, he said, inspectors will continue to visit the site.
“He is trying to get the five units more completed, or totally completed,” Gillian said.
New permits to resume work on the condos were issued Sept. 9, marking a somewhat stunning reversal by Forest Park officials. In October 2007, the village had ordered Marani to stop construction because of concerns that the quality of work jeopardized the public’s safety, and that the scope of the construction was significantly different than what had been approved. Marani filed suit in July asking that a judge lift the stop-work order. Before a ruling could be made – and after the sudden resignation of the building department director – the village issued new permits.
Potential bidders are invited to view the condominiums from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 22, Nov. 28 and Dec. 5. Minimum bids of $135,000 represent an almost 60 percent reduction in the market price.