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CHICAGO — This past Friday, a Cook County Circuit Court judge appointed CB Richard Ellis the receiver for Chicago's Block 37 retail project. This comes at the same time that the city issued a partial certificate of occupancy for the project.

The project's developer, Joseph Freed & Associates, has been fighting its foreclosure since last month, when lender Bank of America claimed the developer defaulted on $128.5 million in construction loans. In a statement, Larry Freed, president of Joseph Freed & Associates, said,” We strongly disagree with the court's ruling. We are the only developer in two decades to move Block 37 forward. We are very suspicious of [Bank of America's] motives just as Block 37 is opening and beginning to generate revenue. We still own Block 37 and will fight to protect our rights, reputation and investment.”

At the beginning of the month, Freed & Associates announced 13 signed leases for the 278,000-square-foot retail component, including PUMA, Zara, Anthropologie and Swarvoski. With the partial certificate of occupancy issued, some retailers already had plans to open over the weekend. Freed & Associates claims the project is currently 70 percent complete. Freed & Associates took over the retail and transit components of the project from now-defunct developer Mills Corp. in 2007.

CB Richard Ellis was unable to comment for the story. A representative of Bank of America said the company is pleased with the ruling but declined further comment.

— Coleman Wood

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