Special Report:The Kim/Sargon Connection
What Happened to The Beachview Development Project?
In November of 2006, The Chicago Plan Commission approved Beachview Development’s plan to demolish the existing one story building at 7630-40 North Sheridan Road and build a 6 story condominium.( here's the link from Skyscraper City. scroll down to see story ) The masonry building would have approximately 1800 sq. ft. of ground floor retail storefronts, 40 one and two bedroom condominiums with 4 CPAN units set aside for affordable housing and 2 levels of underground parking. The Plan Commission approval came after a review process initiated by Alderman Moore’s office and subsequent community approval and it seemed as though the project was moving forward as planned.
Meanwhile, Twin Realty who is the principal investor in the Beachview Development project, had approached Parkway Bank for financing after reaching a deal to buy the property from the owner, Bong Kim. Mr. Kim received approximately $175k as a down payment and Beachview Development also assumed the mortgage payments for the property until the financing was complete. Again, everything seemed on track.
But things started going awry in July. Bong Kim and his wife were apparently having marital and financial problems and she decided to abscond with the 175k down payment. According to the people involved and even though he had a binding contract with Beachview Development, Bong Kim then decided to sell the 7630-40 North Sheridan property….. again.
In July, Beachview received notice from Parkway Bank that they no longer needed to send the agreed upon mortgage payments since the note on the property had been paid. Then, the owner of Beachview Liquors, who is a minority owner in the condo development, got a most unwelcome and surprising visit from his new landlord, Peter Sargon. Even though Mr. Sargon was not a known investor in Beachview Development who had just signed a new lease with the liquor store, he demanded that all rent payments were now payable to him, since he was now the owner of record since his name appeared on the title. Realizing that something wasn’t quite right and on the advice of council, the Beachview Liquor owner refused and immediately got slapped with a five eviction notice for non payment.
Well, if this is a little confusing to you, imagine how all the people who were at the other end of all these shocking developments felt. Imagine getting a notice from your bank telling you that someone else now owned your property. Imagine being a responsible businessperson in the same location for 24 years and suddenly being told, by the supposed new owner, to vacate in five days. Imagine then going to court and being told by an unsympathetic judge that you would have to post an eviction bond equal to one years’ rent or about 70k until the case was decided. And imagine every time you went to court, both Peter and Isaac Sargon were sitting in the courtroom hissing and threatening that the sheriffs were coming that day to throw you out on the street.
Think about the confusion at the bank and in the offices of Beachview Development and everyone else who thought this deal was signed, sealed and delivered. Thousands of dollars have been spent on architectural fees, permit fees and legal costs in anticipation of this project going forward and in an instant; everything came to a sickening, screeching halt.
Why? Because Sargon Isaac obtained the title to 7630-40 North Sheridan Road from Bong Kim under fraudulent circumstances, according to court documents and what insiders are saying. And now the whole development is in court and in limbo. Mr. Kim has fled to California. Peter, Sargon Isaac’s son, who’s name appears on the title to 7630 - 40 N. Sheridan Road and who also owns the 7626 North Sheridan Road building ( Biddy Mulligan’s ) right next door, has leased the space to Island Groove Café and the new owners are requesting a liquor license for the restaurant.
A quick look at Sargon Isaac’s property ownership on that corner offers some clues as to why he would want the liquor store evicted since that store is the only business left in the 7630-40 North Sheridan Road building. The Sargon’s also own 7650-54 North Sheridan,( yellow building ) and 7644 North Sheridan) Biddy Mulligan’s ) which is adjacent to the liquor store. If Sargon was successful in his eviction proceedings, that would give him control of three contiguous parcels on Sheridan Road. And the only building standing in the way of Sargon owning 5 parcels, is the small red brick 2 flat located at 7628 North Rogers since Sargon also owns 7626 North Rogers ( behind the trees ).
7626 North Rogers, owned by Sargon
(to the left behind trees )
and 7628 North Rogers ( red building )
7644 North Sheridan Road, owned by Sargon (center )
and 7630-40 North Sheridan Road (corner on left )
7650-54 North Sheridan Road
(owned by Sargon )
At the moment, the case against the Sargon’s has been moved to Appellate Court and there is no timetable being given for a conclusion. Approximately 45k has been spent so far on legal fees by Beachview Development and Beachview Liquors to gain their rightful ownership back from the Sargon’s. It is unclear whether the new owners of Island Groove Café are aware of these proceedings. I have never met them or spoken with them.
But neighbors in the surrounding community are well aware of what is transpiring and are not happy with the Beachview project setback or the request for the liquor license for a building that is owned by Sargon. Mention the Sargon name in this part of Rogers Park and you hear some very upset neighbors doing a little hissing of their own and plenty of horror stories; nothing surprises people when it comes to the Sargon’s.
It is well known in the community that Sargon’s building at 7650- 54 North Sheridan, which is adjacent to Island Groove Café, is not well managed, apartments are rented without proper screening and there is constant activity in and out of the building at all hours of the day and night. Yesterday, I was able to walk into the courtyard through the unlocked and open front door. Security for this building is non existent.
I spoke with a person who told of a 4 year court battle with Sargon Isaac and a small condominium building where he bought 2 units and rented to questionable people without leases, didn’t pay any special assessments so no improvements could move forward and his tenants caused numerous disturbances that required calling the police. Apparently, prior to the Sargon involvement, that building was quiet and peaceful and had never been visited by the police. Some people believe Sargon was trying to gain control of the building by moving in disruptive tenants. Today, after 4 years of headaches and legal expenses, a judge has finally ordered Sargon to relinquish control of the 2 units.
A Few Questions To Consider
1. If the security measures that the new owners promise do not work and the gang activity that is starting to take shape just out of view of the Howard Street camera on Sheridan continues, what recourse does the community have at that point? How will it affect sales of the new condominiums?
2. How will late night music and lack of parking for the patrons of the Café, affect the quality of life for established residents of the neighborhood and new condominium owners.
3. Is it fair or wise to grant a liquor license to a member of our community who has not demonstrated a cooperative attitude and who encourages and engages in questionable activity in his buildings and his business dealings?
There have been some dramatic improvements in the area just west of this corner of Sheridan and Rogers since last year and I think we’ve taken a few steps forward. Since installation of the police camera on Howard Street, the undercover sting operation, the crackdown by the police on loitering and the new management of The Broadmoor by Urban Equities, there is a considerable improvement in the quality of life and street safety in this area. But out of range of the new camera, a criminal element is starting to emerge on the corner of Sheridan and Rogers and area residents and store owners are starting to get worried.
As much as I would like to see an adult oriented, jazz club there, it seems counter intuitive at this time and with this owner and I think granting this liquor license will move our neighborhood more than a few steps backward. There are many in the community who feel the same way. I have nothing against the new owners; I will personally support the new restaurant and applaud them for their courage, investment and vision. But the history of Billy Mulligan’s should tell us that the issues that were problematic then are still a problem. Nothing has changed very much except the owner, Sargon Isaac. Most neighbors I spoke with believe granting a liquor license at this location to the owner of this property with his history of irresponsible behavior in our community is the wrong idea and I agree.