GORDON ZIEGENHAGEN is the vice president of development at Draper and Kramer, a real estate firm based in Chicago. The firm received a $10.4 million construction loan from Urban Partnership Bank to finance the development of LA Fitness, a 40,000-square-foot health club on the city’s South Side.
The firm struggled to close on the deal with LA Fitness for almost a year. Throughout those tentative months, Urban Partnership Bank remained by their side. “Sometimes a long time frame can interrupt a bank’s lending commitment, but Urban Partnership Bank stayed with us the whole way and were very eager to make the deal come to fruition,” Gordon said.
Urban Partnership Bank was a different type of bank – one that was willing to have a dialogue with Gordon about how to make a project move forward. “We could always count on [them] at the end of the day to be a true partner and find a way to get the deal done.”
The LA Fitness health club opened in February 2015 and is drawing new customers to the area. It is just the first phase of the firm’s comprehensive, long-term plan to redevelop the entire 70-acre parcel into a high density, mixed-use community with over 7,000 new residences and 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space.
The project has yielded not only a shining new health facility in a disadvantaged area, but also 130 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs. Gordon predicts that 20 more jobs will be created as additional spaces in the center are filled.