Triumvera’s HOA from hell

3700 Capri Ct, Glenview, Illinois

Seeing a new listing at 3700 Capri Ct at Triumvera set me off on a walk down memory lane. The listing states that it’s in Glenview, but it’s actually in an unincorporated area with a Glenview mailing address.

Back in the early 80s a partnership in which I was the general partner acquired 80 condo units, 6 ½ acres of vacant land and a parking garage at Triumvera. Our plan was to rent the units until the condo market picked up again, which we anticipated would take several years.

We acquired the property from the First National Bank of Chicago, which eventually became part of JP Morgan Chase. The bank had in turn acquired the property during the market downturn from the original developer, an entity controlled by architect / developer James Loewenberg.

Triumvera was a planned community consisting of several mid-rise buildings, townhome clusters, and a high-rise building connected to a large recreation center. The high-rise was the only one built of several that had originally been envisioned to flank the rec center.

Prior to our closing I met with the master Homeowners Association board. The HOA board asked me for a commitment that my partnership wouldn’t rent to what it obliquely referred to as “the wrong kind of people.” .I assured the board that we would screen our tenants carefully, since we had made a major investment in Triumvera. The board, with its legal counsel, Marshall Dickler, present, kept pressing for a commitment that we wouldn’t rent to “the wrong kind of people,” and I repeated my earlier assurances, which didn’t satisfy them.

The back-and-forth made it clear that the board was insisting that I not rent to blacks in what was, at the time, an all-white, almost all-Jewish development. I made it clear that I had a passionate commitment to equal housing opportunity.

The morning of our closing the site signage on the property was cut down and dumped into the retention pond. Units we acquired were vandalized. Utility lines to our sales trailer were physically cut. An employee’s car was vandalized. And guards were hired to bar our prospective tenant’s access to the rec center facilities.

Welcome to Triumvera!

We sued the HOA in the Chancery Division of the Cook County Circuit Court to gain access for our tenants to the rec center. After a series of bizarre judicial recusals the case eventually lodged with a corrupt judge, and a prolonged and expensive legal battle ensued. You can glean some idea of how badly that litigation was biased from this Illinois Appellate Court opinion, the first time the plain meaning of a section of the Illinois Torrens Act had ever been questioned.

In an attempt to have some of the issues tried before an honest judge, we also filed a federal antitrust suit against the HOA, alleging its activities amounted to an illegal attempt to maintain the resale price of units at Triumvera.

We rented the units successfully despite an ongoing pattern of thuggish behavior on the part of the HOA board, whose members frequently engaged in aggressive physical confrontations with me at the site.

Several years into the project I concluded that my investment partners would never recognize the futility of negotiating with the HOA board, and requested that they buy out my position and replace me as the general partner. They did. I’ve had no contact with the project since the mid-80s.

One positive development at Triumvera is that Glenview has authorized improvements to the water system there. In the 80s, the water occasionally ran a reddish brown, a condition we hoped wouldn’t occur when a tenant tested the water pressure.

That brings me back to my starting point. The 2-bedroom, 2-bath Unit 203 at 3700 Capri Ct was just listed for sale at $116,000. Among other similar units currently listed in that building, Unit 409 sold for $205,000 in January of 2005 and is now listed at $138,000. Unit 304 sold for $204,000 three years ago and is being offered at $159,000. Unit 205 sold for $103,000 last July, and has been on the market for 55 days at an asking price of $129,500.

Even in today’s market it’s unusual to see price drops of that magnitude – back to early 90s levels – in a well-located, well-built suburban development. You might want to do some careful investigation before buying at Triumvera.

If you do visit, report back and let us know whether Triumvea’s still on one of the main flight paths into O’Hare.

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