Home Local News Cité restaurant atop Lake Point Tower could get a fresh start under new owner

Cité restaurant atop Lake Point Tower could get a fresh start under new owner

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Cité restaurant atop Lake Point Tower could get a fresh start under new owner

Lotfi’s venture has agreed to pay $2.0 million for the 5,200-square-foot restaurant space on the 70th floor and about 2,400 square feet of commercial space on the building’s second floor, according to a purchase and sale agreement filed in US bankruptcy court in Chicago. It is also paying $2.1 million for the restaurant equipment, fixtures, inventory and other items.

The sale won’t generate enough proceeds to pay off all that’s owed to the restaurant’s creditors—nearly $6.1 million, according to a March bankruptcy filing. Republic Bank of Chicago, the largest creditor, will receive at least $3.4 million of the $3.6 million it is owed, according to a court document.

US Bankruptcy Judge Janet Baer still has to sign off on the sale, and multiple parties in the case have filed limited objections finding fault with certain parts of the agreement. Robert Handler, the bankruptcy trustee overseeing the property and the sale process, declined to comment.

The sale would strip Gouletas of a property she has owned for decades. A member of the Gouletas family that built condo deconversion juggernaut American Invsco in the 1970s and 1980s, Gouletas knows Lake Point Tower well because the firm converted the building at 505 N. Lake Shore Drive from apartments to condos in 1988. Built in 1968, the curvy black glass-and-steel tower is the only high-rise in the city east of Lake Shore Drive.

Reached by phone yesterday, Gouletas declined to comment, saying she was boarding a plane. She has a colorful biography that includes her marriage in the 1980s to then-New York Gov. Hugh Carey and a feud with her brother, Nicholas Gouletas, about 20 years ago. Now in her mid-80s, Gouletas lives in Miami, where she runs her own real estate business, Skyline Equities. Her personal website, which describes Gouletas as “a real estate legend,” boasts that she has marketed and sold more than 30,000 condos in more than 40 regional markets around the country.

Yet, Cité has been a source of trouble. Back in 2012, Gouletas faced a $5.7 million foreclosure suit on the restaurant and commercial space, but she managed to retain ownership of the property. She refinanced it with a new loan from Republic in 2015.

Gouletas has been wrangling in court with Republic since October 2019, when the bank filed to foreclose on the restaurant property. The bank was able to evict the Gouletas venture that owns the restaurant last November.

But the venture countered a few days later by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December, effectively blocking Republic from completing its foreclosure. In March, Judge Baer handed control of the property over the Handler, the trustee. She gave Handler permission to hire a broker, Northbrook-based Hilco Real Estate, to sell the property about a month later.

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