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Block 37: the Buck angle

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ChicagoBusiness Insider

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John Buck is playing a behind-the-scenes role in the financial drama unfolding at Block 37, a job that could give the real estate mogul the inside track if the project's lender decides to bring in a new developer.

Sources say Block 37 lender Bank of America N.A. hired Mr. Buck's firm last spring as an adviser on the star-crossed downtown shopping mall, which faces an uncertain future after the bank filed a $128-million foreclosure suit last week -- less than a month before its planned opening.

Unless developer Joseph Freed & Associates LLC agrees to put more money in the project, which is about $34 million over budget, Bank of America could oust it in favor of a developer that will.

That could provide an opening for John Buck Co., which has the experience, financial resources and now, the familiarity with the development to take it over if asked.

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