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CHICAGO-Another bankruptcy court auction will be held July 25 after the default by AprilFirst, LLC to close a deal to buy marchFirst’s West Loop partially-finished office campus on the West Side for $5.3 million plus assumption of debt that could run as high as $16 million. Although some AprilFirst partners teamed with an earlier bidder to form Fulton/Elizabeth LLC, the price went up to $7 million cash plus another $4 million to be paid over the next four years, as well as settling construction and other liens on the partially developed property.

“You almost have to get a negotiated sale on this,” says US Bankruptcy Court Judge John D. Schwartz, who is expected to sign an order for the new sale this morning.

Attorneys for Turner Construction Co., one of several debtors at a hearing Thursday morning, argued their claims for payment should remain in place even though the proposed sale to Fulton/Elizabeth LLC is structured as a “free and clear” deal, according to John Voorhees, attorney for bankruptcy court trustee Andrew J. Maxwell.

A bid of at least $11.3 million will be required to top Fulton/Elizabeth LLC’s offer, Voorhees explains. If none is received, Schwartz would like approve the sale to the new entity, which like the previous ownership structure is led by attorney Dan Lucas.

The AprilFirst partnership forfeited $100,000 earnest money earlier this month when it could not close the cash deal.

“In our view, this is a better deal,” Voorhees tells GlobeSt.com after the hearing. “There’s more cash up front for the estate.”

Voorhees indicated negotiations with creditors likely will result in a reduction of the $16 million in assumable liens on the office complex of the failed internet consulting firm, which includes buildings at 300 and 320 N. Elizabeth St. totaling 177,000 sf, as well as a partially completed 208,000-sf building. A nine-story parking garage also was part of the $115-million development plan for the site before marchFirst went bankrupt.

The $11-million officer from Fulton/Elizabeth LLC is the second deal Millenium Properties, Inc. president Dan Hyman has put together for the property. He also brought the AprilFirst contract to the table after his firm marketed the property.

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