CA Ventures faces $40M in North Side loan trouble

Northbrook Bank & Trust hits Chicago-based developer with foreclosure lawsuits for mid-market properties, while LoanCore marks big Ravenswood complex as delinquent

CA Ventures' John Diedrich; 750 W. North Avenue, 1900 W. Lawrence Street and 2247 W Lawrence Avenue (Getty, CA Ventures, Loopnet, Antunovich Associates, live1900lawrence)
CA Ventures' John Diedrich; 750 W. North Avenue, 1900 W. Lawrence Street and 2247 W Lawrence Avenue (Getty, CA Ventures, Loopnet, Antunovich Associates, live1900lawrence)

CA Ventures is feeling more pain, this time in the North Side multifamily market.

The Chicago-based development firm has triggered two foreclosure lawsuits for mid-market apartment complexes and is on track to draw a third in Ravenswood.

In the largest of three recent points of distress for the firm, its lender LoanCore Capital said CA Ventures is late paying off its $32 million debt tied to the 59-unit building at 1900 West Lawrence Avenue in Ravenswood, according to loan data compiled by Morningstar Credit.

Meanwhile, Northbrook Bank & Trust has filed foreclosure lawsuits against CA Ventures affiliates that own the 25-unit complex down the street, at 2247 West Lawrence, as well as the vacant former development site at 750 West North Avenue, Cook County court records show.

They’re the latest disputes to pop up surrounding CA Ventures, which is defending several lawsuits filed by investors, lenders and former employees. One lawsuit has held up the transition of an industrial development platform into the ownership of bigtime New York-based investors Davidson Kempner and Monarch Alternative.

LLCs backed by CA Ventures guaranteed to repay Northbrook nearly $6 million for 2247 West Lawrence, which has been listed for sale at nearly $9 million by the brokerage Greenstone Partners. 

At 750 West North, CA Ventures and its former partner, David Trandel’s Springbank Capital, once planned to build an eight-story, 92-unit apartment building on the vacant lot between the historic brick building at 758 West North and the “L” tracks to the east.

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But earlier this year, Chicago City Council sunset the development approval that the North Avenue project won back in 2018, meaning developers would need to reapply for construction permission on the site. Northbrook is seeking $2.3 million in debt it says the landowner hasn’t paid back, which was also guaranteed by CA Ventures.

A person familiar with CA Ventures’ negotiations with LoanCore said the landlord has several more months to work out a resolution with LoanCore and potentially avoid losing control of the property.

Neither CA Ventures leadership, nor representatives of LoanCore and Northbrook returned requests for comment.

LoanCore is one of several creditors that doled out big chunks of debt to multifamily players ahead of interest rate hikes starting in 2022. Its loan to CA Ventures for the Ravenswood project — issued in 2021 — had a floating rate. That means it has likely grown more expensive to carry each month for the landlord.

The loan was set to come due last year, but it has extension options that could push the maturity out to 2026. However, loan data indicates the borrower has only paid the monthly debt service through November, meaning the property may not have met the performance metrics to extend the debt. The loan was transferred into special servicing in December, a move lenders usually make when there’s serious concern that a debt won’t be repaid.

CA Ventures also worked with Springbank to convert the building at 1900 West Lawrence from one of the seven original Sears stores built in the 1920s into apartments. The project was said to cost $40 million and opened in 2021.

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