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Letters: McPier land deal was entirely above board

An Aug. 16 article by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak, “McPier Hands A 400 Percent Profit To Insider’s Ex-Client,” distorts the facts surrounding a sound real estate transaction. Most glaringly, no public funds were expended by MPEA for the purchase in question.

CenterPoint Properties Trust, a property management company the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) purchased land from, made the decision itself to contribute 100 percent of the funds – $5.5 million – to purchase a previously foreclosed property at 2039 S. Prairie Avenue to develop into a park for the benefit of the community.

This was no insider deal. This was actually a transaction that was reported by Crain’s and the Chicago Tribune and was approved by the MPEA board on May 23, 2014 as part of a larger real estate transaction for the development of the McCormick Place Entertainment District.

The article suggests that an appraisal for the Prairie Avenue lot should have been conducted. However, it was determined that an appraisal was not necessary due to the fact that the purchase price for the park land was $250.00 per sq. ft. as compared to MPEA appraisals for surrounding properties that were $271.00 per sq. ft. – 8 percent less.  In addition, it was CenterPoint funds that were used to purchase this property.

What wasn’t emphasized in the article was that this was a foreclosed property whose initial price was artificially low. Within the time the property was purchased and sold the price of land in the South Loop increased significantly amidst a growing real estate market, also not noted by Mr. Novak. There are many examples of properties that sold for much more than they were purchased in the South Loop in a similar time frame.

The MPEA board reviewed and approved these real estate transactions to carry out our strategic plan to spur economic development in the area through the development of the Entertainment District while also providing important public benefits such as a community park.  The Entertainment District and other tourism investments will create 7,400 construction jobs.  Upon completion of the Entertainment District, MPEA projects an additional $250 million annually to be spent in the area supporting approximately 2,500 new jobs.

It is disappointing to see that the Sun-Times failed to report these facts.

Jack Greenberg

Chairman of the Board

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include a neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Show us who gets Jordan’s money

It’s a real shame that Michael Jordan didn’t get the $10 million he thinks he’s worth. The next thing I want to see is a complete list of all the charities that he claims he will be donating to, with dollar amounts, and that shouldn’t include a Michael Jordan Foundation.

Roger Gorlicki, Buffalo Grove

Cook Co. falls short with lost pets, strays

The Cook County animal care department has a few serious problems. It does not have a centralized database to track recovered lost pets and stray dogs and cats. This and other internal flaws have resulted in several canines and felines being grievously euthanized. The department could dramatically improve if a Cook County animal shelter were built. The hiring of experienced, talented, qualified, professional and proactive animal lovers to run the shelter’s operations would be ideal. Many dogs and cats would be adopted and lost pets could happily be reunited with their respective families.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

Stay cool over market fluctuations

Markets are going through a correction phase. It happens from time to time. Now the cause for such is China. What else would one expect? China’s economy could not sustain an 8 percent annual growth rate forever, and, as such, is now in a cooling-off recessionary period. Likewise, the USA suffers those downturns periodically as well when domestic economic pressures rise to a point of critical mass to a bubble burst whereupon the economy deflates, but rebalances itself over time to market equilibrium.

So now, international markets are in a sell-off mode. But the smart ones, the savvy investors, are sitting on the sidelines just chomping at the bit waiting to get back into the market. When these sold-off market assets further devalue to a point to match bargain-basement rates, these fearless-ones will start buying again.  So calm down everybody; the sky is not falling. The market will revitalize and stabilize.

China presently has the sniffles and USA markets seem to have come down with the flu. In the past, when the American economy sneezed, the world came down with pneumonia. My, oh my, how things have changed in these past 20 years.

Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.