Distressed Dirt
Once the planned pinnacle of multifamily high-rise development, The Spire in Chicago—like many apartment developments underway in 2008 and 2009—never got out of the ground. In fact, a block-wide parcel of dirt still sits in the tony River North neighborhood with prime Michigan Lake frontage. With Irish developer Garrett Kelleher and Kelleher’s Shelbourne development back on the other side of the pond avoiding contractor and architect liens on the project, CB Richard Ellis has stepped in and was named receiver on the property by a Cook County judge at the request of the project’s primary lender, Anglo Irish Bank Corp. Whether that’s the easiest or toughest receivership gig in the world remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, CBRE doesn’t have to worry about keeping the lights on for Spire’s 1,194 units that never were.

Bada-Bing Property Management
If you’ve been thinking about getting into fee-management in Sicily, you might as well fuhgeddaboutit. The Italian government agency responsible for overseeing siezed mafia assets is expanding, with new offices planned in Palermo, as well as back on the peninsula in Naples and Milan. The National Agency of Administration of Mafia Property was opened in February following the arrest of some 28 of Italy’s 30 most-wanted mob bosses and the seizure of some 18 billion Euros worth of property, which includes a sizeable portfolio of apartment assets. The agency is charged with the property management and eventual disposition of those assets back to the public.

The Furnace Man Giveth…
... and the furnace man taketh away. If there’s a dispute over billing, that is. An Omaha, Neb., landlord was left out in the cold recently after her HVAC contractor repossessed a furnace he installed over alleged non-payment. Landlord Carmen Thomas says she put $1,000 down on the furnace installation but did not pay the remaining balance after the system was found to be non-compliant with building codes. According to the contractor, Thomas owes his company another $2,000 for the furnace and signed a contract that spells out his right to repo the heater if the balance is not paid in full. Omaha City Prosecutor Marty Conboy disagrees, and told Omaha’s CBS affiliate that he will likely issue midemeameanor tickets for damage to property and trespassing.

Editor’s note: Send your offbeat multifamily news leads to cwood@hanleywood.com