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CHICAGO-While the Bank of America has filed a petition with the courts to foreclose on the project, developer Joseph Freed and Associates LLC has been busy inking deals. An additional 13 retailers have signed on to occupy space in the State Street project.

“The momentum of this block of leases is a testament to the excitement from retailers to get this development launched after 20 years of seeing the property vacant on State Street,” says president Larry Freed.

The retail-focused project, which sits between State, Dearborn, Washington and Randolph streets, will open ground-level retailers and the Pedway later this month. There is still construction that remains to be done on the project.

The most recent tenants include Sephora, L’Occitane en Provence, Michelle Tan, Claudia Kleiner Malabar Collection, GNC Live Well, Simply Thalia, Local Charm, Spirit of the City, Accent Chicago, iCandylicious, the Comic Vault, Bleeding Heart Bakery and Alternative Shoes. Both the Malabar Collection and the Alternative Shoes leases are pending bank approval.

In total the 13 leases will occupy 18,050 square feet. The largest lease was inked by Sephora, which will occupy 6,000 square feet on the first floor, with State Street access.

Earlier PUMA, Zara, Anthropologie, Steve Madden and Swarovski signed on to take the street-level spots. Earlier on Freed ran into some leasing troubles when a number of retailers committed to space and then backed out of the project.

It’s not clear what the total occupancy rate is for the project now. In March the 280,000-square-foot project was 60% leased.”We remain committed to Block 37 and are on track to open this new shopping andentertainment destination for consumers before Thanksgiving and to complete Block 37 by the end of 2010, assuming the bank cooperates on the necessary funding,” Freed says.

As GlobeSt.com reported in October, The Bank of America filed to foreclose on the project which has been in the development stages for years without completion. The Mills Corp. first began the project and then sold it to Freed in April 2007. Bank of America claimed Freed owed more than $128 million and asked that a receiver be appointed to manage the property and ensure its completion.

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