Chase Tower sale gets judge's OK

An investment banking and consulting firm based in Washington D.C. has its sights set on buying South Bend’s tallest building—the 25 story Chase Tower.

“Our commitment is to a sustainable revitalization of the building we hope will complement the resurgence of downtown South Bend,” said Dr. Cedric Franklin, CEO of Harley Stanfield Global Corporation.

Dr. Franklin told NewsCenter 16 he planned to spend more than $30 million on improvements to the Chase that would make it “one of the greenest properties east of the Mississippi.”

Dr. Franklin spoke of covering the south side of the building with reflective solar glass and said his goal was to cut the building’s energy usage by at least fifty percent.

The Chase Tower has been run by a court appointed receiver since foreclosure proceedings began in February of 2011.

On Friday, Harley Stanfield Global Corporation filed a proposed purchase agreement with St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jenny Pitts Manier, who gave the deal her blessings this afternoon.

Court document envision that a closing will take place by the end of November.

The Janee Hotel Corporation of Naperville, Illinois is a managing partner in the deal. Janee would bring the Wyndham Gardens brand to the Chase.

The hotel accounts for about one third of the space at the Chase. As for the office portion of the building, Dr. Frankin said he plans to convert floors 20 through 24 into space for those who want to live there. “There’s a condo component. It’s approximately 40-two bedroom, two bath condos that are going to be built. They will be condos but they will not be sold, they'll be leased.”

“There has been a suitor or two in the past, so we're cautiously optimistic,” said Scott Ford, Executive Director of South Bend’s Community Investment Department. “We think there's some promise with this but want to just remain, we're actively following the conversations as they go and providing input when asked.”

In January of 2012 a proposed Chase Tower purchase was scuttled when the city failed to contribute $5.7 million to the project.

It’s not yet clear if financial incentives will be needed by Harley Stanfield Global. “We have not had any conversations about specifics though we shared with them we, the potential incentives at play that could be involved in a project like this,” said Ford.

Court documents list the purchase price at $5.2 million. That’s far short of the $7.5 million owed when a foreclosure order was issued.

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