Canyon-Johnson Invests in Harper Court Redevelopment for Hyde Park

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor Harper Court, the redevelopment project for Hyde Park, has found a new partner in Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, the real estate investment fund led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The fund will provide a majority of the $16 [...]

Harper Court, the redevelopment project for Hyde Park, has found a new partner in Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, the real estate investment fund led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The fund will provide a majority of the $16 million in equity for the first phase. ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com reports Vermilion Development, the project’s developer, is planning the official groundbreaking for November.

The $100 million development will deliver 1.1 million square feet of mixed-use space and will be anchored by a Hyatt Place hotel. David Cocagne, president and CEO of Vermilion Development, expects the first phase of the development at Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street to be completed by spring 2013.

All the office space at Harper Court, around 150,000 square feet, has already been leased by the University of Chicago in one of the biggest lease deals in Chicago this year. LA Fitness has also leased 31,000 square feet of retail space, while a joint venture between Beachwood and Smart Hotels LLC has purchased the rights to build the 130-room hotel. Cocagne attributes the success of the project to the level of leasing in place and the quality of the tenants.

The city is also showing support toward the project by approving around $20 million in tax-increment financing. With the $65 million construction loan provided by New York-based Citibank, the project is ready to roll.

Vermillion is currently seeking further financing to support the second phase of the project, which will include 425 residential units.

This is not the first Chicago real estate investment for Canyon-Johnson, a joint venture between Canyon Capital Realty Advisors and former NBA superstar Johnson. Recent investments include the Roosevelt Collection project in the South Loop.