After a year in receivership, the city's tallest building is on the verge of being listed for sale with a national brokerage firm.
The asking price: $8.3 million.
Attorneys representing Dillingham Hill Real Estate, the company that owns Chase Tower, and Kenneth Castrop, the court-appointed receiver managing the building, agreed on the listing price Wednesday.
Dillingham Hill had objected to an earlier listing motion Castrop filed last month that would have set the price at $6.5 million.
The company's objection said Chase Tower, which is the subject of a foreclosure lawsuit in St. Joseph County Circuit Court, has to be sold for at least $8.1 million to pay the court judgment held by Huntington National Bank as well as other liens and taxes.
HREC Investment Advisors is named in the listing contract as the exclusive agent that will be marketing the 25-story hotel and office tower. The Colorado-based real estate brokerage and investment banking firm, which has a dozen offices across the United States, will receive 3 percent of the purchase price if the building sells.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Gotsch appointed Castrop as the building's receiver exactly one year ago today, according to court documents.
Chase Tower tenants began complaining publicly about its condition in September at a South Bend Common Council meeting. They acknowledged the receiver has been doing his best to maintain the building with operating revenue, but they said it needs additional investment, likely from a new owner.
James Masters, a Chase Tower tenant and attorney representing Dillingham Hill, said media coverage of the complaints has harmed efforts to sell it.
City officials also have pursued a public-private deal to subsidize a renovation.
They seriously considered an offer from Chicago-area developer Satish Gabhawala, who wanted the city to contribute $5.7 million toward what he said would have been a $19 million rehabilitation of the building.
Gabhawala backed off last month after a majority of council members, with support from Mayor Pete Buttigieg, voted to delay their decision until Feb. 27.
Buttigieg said at the time that the city needs more than one option to consider before spending tax dollars on Chase Tower. He said Wednesday that several people have expressed interest in the building during the past month.
The mayor added that the city isn't committed to spending money on the building, and some interested investors aren't necessarily asking for city involvement.
"I would like to see this done in a way that doesn't require city resources," he said.
At the same time, Buttigieg understands those who work in Chase Tower want to see progress as soon as possible.
"The tenants are getting impatient," he said, "and so am I."
The contract with HREC is written to expire no later than May 15.
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Staff writer Kevin Allen: