The case echoes other owner-tenant disputes that have arisen since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the economy and the real estate market last year. Many companies have simply stopped paying their rent, citing difficulties due to the pandemic. Last year, the owner of the office building at 353 N. Clark St. sued his largest tenant, the law firm Jenner & Block, alleging he breached his lease by failing to pay 3 , $ 9 million in rent and other expenses.
Bankruptcy records do not explain why Jahn LLC stopped paying DUS. The company lists assets of just $ 100,000 to $ 500,000 and liabilities of $ 1 million to $ 10 million, with Helmut Jahn’s claim accounting for more than half of the money owed. Jahn LLC has recorded gross income of just $ 12,390 this year through August 13, compared to $ 295,041 for all of 2020 and $ 745,373 for 2019, according to its bankruptcy filing. Jahn himself owned 100 percent of Jahn LLC.
The death of its founder and creative driving force was a blow to Jahn’s architectural firm, which could no longer count on the star power of the German-born architect to generate orders.
But since the bankruptcy filing does not involve Jahn Architecture Inc., it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the state of this business. The company received two loans totaling $ 922,349 in 2020 and 2021 under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, created last year to help businesses during the pandemic.
Arthur Herbstman, chief financial officer of the architectural firm and also director of Jahn LLC, did not return the calls.
Jahn remained busy in Chicago until the time of his death. In his final months, he partnered with conservatives in an attempt to save the Thompson Center, a state office building, from demolition. The state wooed developers to buy the building, but recently pushed back plans to sell it.
Jahn also died before the start of vertical construction on his tallest tower in Chicago: 1000M, a 74-story residential building at 1000 S. Michigan Ave., a project likely to generate significant costs for his architectural firm. .
Still, it’s still unclear how Jahn LLC fits into the bigger picture. Although Cohen, the firm’s attorney, claims it is a separate venture from Jahn’s architectural firm, public documents suggest otherwise. Jahn LLC was licensed for a “design-architect firm” from July 2012 to April 30 of this year, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Jahn LLC is also identified as the copyright holder of the 1000M design plans filed with Chicago City Council.
Bankruptcy court filings in the coming weeks could fill more blanks. One thing is certain: if Jahn’s architectural firm turns out to be healthy, DUS and its legal team will fight every step of the way.