Anatomy of the Deal

“Rising from the ashes of bankruptcy,the restoration of the Book Cadillac Hotel proved to be one of the most complicated redevelopment efforts in the nation. It included 22 levels of financing, a clouded title, political theatrics inside the governor’s office, creative equity, and the fulfillment of one man’s dream.”

“Despite being accused of throwing Gov. Jennifer Granholm under the bus, investing $8 million of his own money before renovation crews ever set foot in the Book Cadillac Hotel, and losing another $9 million in financing days before the closing only to replace it less than 24 hours later, John Ferchill still bristles at the one-sentence letter he received from the National Trust for Historic Places disapproving part of the tax credits needed for the nearly $190-million restoration effort — one of the largest projects of its kind ever attempted.”

“Ferchill, 65, a stylish, shoot-from-the-hip developer from Cleveland who’s tackled some of the most complicated historic renovation projects in the Midwest, couldn’t believe his eyes. “I called up our historic architects and said, ‘Did you guys see this letter?’ They said, ‘Oh, we’re on it.’ And I said, ‘Do you know what this means?’ ‘Yeah, we understand.’” But Ferchill, chairman and CEO of The Ferchill Group, didn’t sense the architects had grasped the full ramifications of the letter. “What this means is that all the money that you see related around the historics — the conservation easement, the tax credits — it’s a number that’s about $50 million — it’s gone.”



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