SOUTH BEND, Ind. The future of South Bend’s tallest building has been up in the air for more than three years now, but today marked a turning point.
“I think today is a good day, it’s a positive step with respect to the building, it’s been a long time coming” said Chase Tower tenant Andrew Nemeth.
Today, the Chase Tower was auctioned off at a St. Joseph County Sheriff’s sale of foreclosed properties.
The lone bid of $4.5 million came from Washington Square Realty, LLC, the same entity that owns the $8 million judgment that forced the sale in the first place.
Washington Square bought the Chase Tower mortgage judgment in March of 2013, and unsuccessfully tried to flip the building in November. Today, Washington Square finally moved to assume ownership of the iconic 25 story structure.
“Washington Square is a very well-heeled company, they’re based out of Long Island, New York, they have experience in building office buildings, renovating office buildings, hospitals, schools, you name it,” said Andrew Nemeth.
Nemeth is Managing Partner of Nemeth Properties, LLC, who says he will perform some management duties on behalf of the new owners.
“First order of business, I expect will be to, addressing the elevators and the parking garage, I know that we’re working on bids for all those items,” said Nemeth. “I’m from South Bend, I was born here, raised here, my business is here, my business is in fact in the building. Myself with all the other tenants we’ve been putting up with a lot of heartache and problems and issues but I think that before too long here we can turn things around and be happy about it again, and be proud to be in that facility.”
Today’s sale ends a three year crawl through the mortgage foreclosure process that began in February of 2011.
During that time, a court appointed receiver was in charge of the Chase Tower. “Running the hotel, collecting the rents from the tenants, overseeing insurance, the constant repairs, the drama de jour with regard to that building,” said Attorney Michael Hardy from Barnes and Thornburg, who represents the court appointed attorney.
Hardy says the length of the receivership was much longer than normal, and that the receiver faced problems in meeting the building’s maintenance needs. “The biggest issue obviously has been one of cash flow, during football season and obviously there’s a lot of hotel revenue, you’re able to accomplish more things in repairs to the building etcetera.”
Several unsuccessful attempts were made to sell the building during the three year foreclosure period.
Last week, the mysterious new owners settled the delinquent tax bill associated with the Chase Tower, spending $350,000 to do so.
Late today it was announced that the Chase Tower ownership group would now be known as The Tower at Washington Square, LLC.