14th and T: Room & Board Deal Falls Apart
Another month, another unexpected chapter in the 14th and T saga.
Jule Banville has been dutifully reporting previous twists and turns over at City Desk since last July. Back then, neighbors and commenters were cheering Tryst/Diner/Open City owner Constantine Stavropoulos and his associates' plan to bring an eatery, comedy club, yoga studio and dance studio to the building.
Then, in October, we learned that Dave Chappelle was a potential investor in the project, and, simultaneously, that the plan was falling apart because a new tenant, furniture store Room & Board, was interested in the place.
By that point, Room & Board had offered, as a starting bid, $9.25 million to purchase the property. Then in December came devastating news from their bank, Milwaukee-based Associated Bank.
"We were all set to purchase the building before the end of the year in December," says company CFO Mark Miller. "And we spent three months doing our due diligence, and really about a week before we were done, we got a letter and a phone call saying they had changed their minds about the terms of the loan we were going to get."
Through January, Miller and the building's owner tried to work out a rent-to-own deal in the space. But they couldn't come to an agreement. Not surprisingly, Miller says he's still attached to the building, and trying to raise the money.
"Again we would have purchased it in December—the very end of the December—had we not been surprised by our bank," he says.
But, realistically, all bets are off. His parting words to me:
"If you know of any properties for sale or for lease, let me know," he says. "We need 25 or 30,000 square feet. We'd love an old building like 14th and T."