Christopher Carley is an unlikely candidate to develop North America's tallest building. He has a recent track record of projects that--despite their quality--have struggled to reach the financial finish line.
The chairman of Chicago-based Fordham Co. rejects such criticism, saying his projects are as profitable as those of his rivals.
Like many developers, Carley, 62, is a relentless promoter who rarely acknowledges a project's downside. Yet unlike most of his rivals, he lacks an outsized ego.
That perspective may be due to a bout he had with intestinal cancer in 1995, seven years after starting Fordham. Since then, he has been an active fundraiser for cancer research.
Before Fordham, the Chicago native and Marquette University graduate was an executive with Dallas real estate firm Trammell Crow Co.
But his projects haven't been without challenges, including the Pinnacle, a 48-story condo tower at 21 E. Huron St., which he calls a "home run."
"Unfunded costs" to complete the high-rise forced his lenders, Chicago-based Corus Bank and pension fund National Electrical Benefit Fund, to fork over an additional $17 million as part of a June 23 refinancing, a loan document shows.
Yet other lenders competed for the refinancing, a sign of the project's ultimate success.
Slow sales have marked another project, 65 E. Goethe St., a 24-unit, eight-story building that still has one unit to sell after five years of marketing.
And in September, a lender obtained title to 18 unsold condo units, a 188-car garage and retail space in the Fordham, a 50-story tower at 25 E. Superior St. Sales of those assets will offset the balance on the loan and give the lender "a healthy, competitive return," Carley said.
OFF THE GROUND
Developer stands tall in defense of work
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.