New Metropolitan Square Owner ‘Ready to Deal’
Foreclosed property taken over by Austin-based World Class Capital Group.
Empty spaces in Metropolitan Square may soon be filled by new businesses, and the development’s new owner is planning on it. World Class Capital Group, LLC, based in Austin, TX, took ownership of the foreclosed office and commercial portion of the development, the company announced in a press release on May 30.
Nate Paul, president and CEO of World Class, said the community can expect some new businesses to open, and, in the next week, they will be reaching out to groups that expressed an interest in the property in the past, but were not able to make a deal.
“We’re actively soliciting new tenants, we’re looking through offers that have been received, and we’re looking to bring in tenants immediately,” Paul said. “So, there’s no delay from our standpoint, and we’re looking to put tenants into place that are the right fit and that we think can be around for the long haul.”
In May, the owner of Emerson’s Ale House in Mount Prospect said he was unable to secure a lease for the space formerly occupied by Cheeseburger in Paradise, despite having reached a verbal agreement with owners.
Metropolitan Square has had numerous empty spaces since opening in 2006; some storefronts have yet to be occupied by any tenants.
Paul said they were excited to be the new owners, and they have great plans for Metropolitan Square to become the vibrant center first envisioned.
“[The community] can expect to see some new activity fairly quickly,” Paul said in an interview with Patch. “Finally it’s time for the development to really shine and be what’s always been envisioned for the community.”
Paul said the change in ownership would facilitate leasing the property, in part, because the previous owners defaulted on their loan. He said when that happens, you can’t sign leases effectively, and you still will need to fund some improvements for tenants and pay a leasing commission to a brokerage firm.
“If you’re not capitalized to do that, it’s tough to make decisions, it’s tough to be able to get your tenants feedback,” Paul said. “With us, those problems are no longer there. There’s an owner who is ready to deal.”
Mike Neises, owner of NEI Management and Development, which managed the property for Schwinge Family, and was also part-owner, told Patch in January he hoped to negotiate with Paul to reduce debt on Metropolitan Square and enable World Class to profit.
Neises declined to comment for this story.
Some businesses that have moved downtown recently, including MBD Martial Arts Studio on Miner Street, have chosen spaces outside of Metropolitan Square with lower rents costs.
When asked if this would change under the new ownership, and if rents would be lower, Paul said vibrant activity was the goal.
“It’s tough to say it’s a lower rent,” Paul said. “I think it’s probably better articulated by saying that we’re a well-capitalized owner that’s wanting to bring more vibrant activity to the center.”
Collier’s International in Rosemont will manage the property, Paul said. A leasing agent has not been selected yet. The previous leasing agent was Zifkin Realty Group in Chicago.
Paul was optimistic about filling the spaces.
“We’re looking at a myriad of options of different tenants and different possibilities that way,” Paul said. “We can see the center filled up and really reach it’s maximum potential.”