Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chicago developer Terrapin Group facing foreclosure and dissolution

Your guides are saddened by the news that local developer, Terrapin Properties LLC, is facing some tough hurdles in the coming weeks as the first major condo developer to lose control of their operations due to the slowdown in the local real estate market. A foreclosure suit against Terrapin over a project in Kenosha, Wisconsin, indicates that the company could be dissolved.

Back in the day, the principals of Terrapin, and your guides, fresh faced and new to the business worked in neighboring storefronts in Old Town on Wells Street. Each of us on either side to Topo Gigio. The guys who eventually founded Terrapin had their own small law office, specializing in real estate transactions. Greg, Dave and Michael were the go-to guys for real estate deals in our office, and often came to Habitat Company office meetings to share advice.

I always envied the guys for making it big while we stayed on in residential sales; helping clients one-at-a-time or occasionally a developer with a small condo conversion. Now we hear that Indymac Bank is pursuing them for $13-million is past-due loan debts, perhaps our wanderlust was misplaced.

In 2007, Terrapin landed on the Chicago Sun Times' list of the top 50 builders in Chicago, with 292 sales in 2006 totaling $103.3-million. Now, enough sales to keep the creditors at bay are hard to come by.

In any case, we wish our old friends the best.