Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rainbo Village Developer Faces Foreclosure Suit

By Eddie Baeb (Crain's)
Developers who planned to turn the former site of the Rainbo roller rink in Uptown into a 127-unit complex of condominiums, townhouses and courtyard retail have been hit with a $24.2-million foreclosure lawsuit.
Cleveland-based AmTrust Bank claims the project’s developer, Skokie-based Metropolitan Development Enterprises Inc., failed to pay off a $27-million construction loan when it came due July 20, 2008, according to a complaint the bank filed late last month in Cook County Circuit Court.
The Rainbo Village project at 4814-4850 N. Clark St., just across from St. Boniface Cemetery, has seemingly struggled since its inception. Continue Reading


  1. Didn't realize the 'ole Rainbo rink site had such a history. What's the story behind the human bones being found on the site?

  2. There were a couple of follow-up stories on the skeletons, speculating that they were two teenage girls who mysteriously disappeared, but I never did read any "closure" on the case. Maybe we could hire the cast of the TV show "Cold Case?"

  3. I hadn't heard that they were determined to have been female bones, of a certain age, and that there were two bodies. Wow.

    This is definitely a cold case that needs to be revisited. Whatever happened, someone didn't want those bodies to be found because they were encased in a lot of cement from what I remember. ??

  4. Hey AmTrust! I know where you can find a grand of your money:

    Rainbow Homes LLC
    7855 Gross Point Rd
    Skokie, IL 60077

    $500.00 2/7/2007 to Citizens for Shiller

    Metropolitan Development Enterprises
    7855 Gross Point Rd #A1
    Skokie, IL 60077

    $250.00 7/12/2005 to Citizens for Shiller

    $250.00 11/29/2005 to Citizens for Shiller

    Illinois State Board of Elections

  5. Pretty creepy stuff! I'd also be interested in hearing if there was any follow up on the situation.

  6. Forget about the human bones.

    How many living humans are occupying the Village?
    What's the occupancy rate?

    This going to be happening all over Uptown. Uptown is a very vulnerable community at this point. There's a lot riding on these developments...and if they go down, so do a lot of other things.

    The politicians in Washington and the politicians here at the local level are all connected to the financial industry.

    Locally it's realtors, builders.

    Most of the "real estate" boards that govern the codes are made up of hand picked flunkies chosen by the builders.

    In the same way the AIG picks and populates the "regualtory agencies" that regulate it.

    Uptown needs someone who will speak honestly...and it's possible to produce a person like that at the small local level.

  7. There were so many unsolved murders when that was an ICE rink back in the 60s that it would be impossible to know whose bones those were. Yes, the Stones, Dead Led all played there and the panhandling was pronounced. "Can you spare a some change" All the pretty hippie girls from Glenview, Northbrook etc used to come see the freak shows produced by Aaron(ran for Las Vegas mayor)Russo. I am an expert on that corner as I had a ringside seat from the 3rd floor of the now demolished Lawrence and Clark building. No real surprise that this development was doomed.

  8. The last time I went by there the condo buildings looked somewhat neglected. Work had obviously stopped, but I could tell that some of the units (at least facing Clark) were occupied.

  9. I actually live at Rainbo at it's been a little hellish. The developer has been lying to everyone since day 1.

  10.'s such a "quiet neighborhood" (esp. across the street) and isn't that on the wish list of homebuyers? :-)

  11. The Rainbo should have never been torn down. Looks like Uptown can join Rogers Park with its own "Hole of a Mess".

  12. So, the lesson here is that you can't SKATE on your loan for your crappy condo slum.

  13. From "Somewhere Under the Rainbo," courtesy of Uptown Adviser,

    [The skeletons were dated to a time of death not more than 15 years ago at the time due to the clothes and shoes found there.]

    Dec. 2, 2003

    Chicago Police Remove Bones from Historic Rainbo Gardens Site
    Demolished Uptown landmark yields remains of unknown origin

    MANY MEDIA OUTLETS covered the Friday, Nov. 28, and Tuesday, Dec. 2, police recovery of what may be human bones from the site of the
    demolished RAINBO GARDENS AND ARENA, Clark at Lawrence, in Uptown. While reports claim the bones were found below ground in the boiler or chiller rooms, the exact location in the building's underground service areas has not yet been released.

    Autopsy and forensic reports are pending, police said.

    News of the grisly find comes one week after another city approval
    for the 127-unit condominium complex planned for this site by a suburban real-estate development team. The condo project ends a century-long run of entertainment businesses on the two acres.

    Developers have promised local officials and residents that the designers of the complex will include fragments of the RAINBO's historic facade in some sort of new courtyard structure. About 60 ornamental stone pieces (some including "Rainbo" studlighting) and an unknown quantity
    of face bricks were chopped from the facade for the planned garden
    tombstone of sorts for this historic Uptown, Chicago, venue.

    The RAINBO was the result of three or four building campaigns,
    including meeting halls, the RAINBO GARDENS ballroom, a jai alai
    court and lobbies. Since the turn of the last century, the site has
    served to entertain Chicagoans as a roadhouse, dance hall, cabaret,
    jazz-Swing-and-Big Band venue, restaurant, political rally hall,
    jai alai arena, boxing arena, ice skating rink, bowling alley, rock-n
    roll club, roller skating arena and more. The last public skate was
    Sunday, March 30, 2003.

    Some excerpts of recent news clips are copied here for your reference.

    Bones Found At Roller Rink Likely Human
    Police Continue Dig At Former North Side Skating Center
    "Detectives continued the dig at what used to be the USA Rainbo
    Rollerskating Center, 4836 N. Clark St., to help them re-evaluate the
    investigation, according to Belmont Area Detective John Thomas.
    Anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow of Oklahoma [will] be in to inspect
    the bones 'in a few weeks,' according to a medical examiner's office
    spokeswoman." View the NBC TV-Channel 5 Web site:

    Cops hunt remains at roller rink site
    "Chicago police returned today to the former site of a North Side roller
    Skating rink and, with the help of a search dog and an excavating machine,
    dug up what appeared to be more bones from the now-vacant lot. Investigators
    could be seen pulling bones from a hole dug by a backhoe at the south end
    of the lot. Officers also recovered two tennis shoes, each from a different
    pair, from the hole. Detectives returned to the fenced-in lot about 9 a.m.
    today and started digging and filling brown paper evidence bags. They
    refused to answer questions, so it was unknown what brought them back
    to the site." Chicago Tribune

    127-unit Rainbo project nears final approval
    Plans for a $40 million mixed-use development on the 2.23-acre site of the
    Rainbo Gardens Building in Uptown advanced last week as the Chicago
    Plan Commission approved the project. Chicago Tribune\

    Reported architects of Rainbo Homes II

    Metropolitan Development Enterprises Inc., Skokie, Ill., developer

    Vintage image of the RAINBO

    RAINBO tribute link: North Side roller rink closes
    For more than two decades, Rainbo roller rink on the North Side has been
    the place to roller-skate. For more than a century, the building has been
    home to all types of entertainment, including ice skating and wrestling.
    Sunday the rink closed for good and the building is set to be destroyed.

    Across Clark Street from St. Boniface Cemetery

    Jazz Age Chicago's take on the RAINBO

    -- END --

  14. I hated that they tore down the roller rink.

    Nuff Said

  15. There was nothing sweeter than coming home on a Friday night with blisters on my feet from six hours of roller skating. Couples skate, talk about pressure!

  16. The reason those condo's sit empty is because they were outrageously overpriced and the sales team were rude. I ended up buying a WAY bigger place for 50k less!

  17. Well if they were found under the boiler...they might very well find the killer by looking at who ran the boiler. Probably one person. Someone who would be there all the time 15 years ago and probably an employee or owner...who had access at all times to that area. It probably would not be the owner, but rather the person who was capable of operating the boiler...the only person likely to ever enter the room.

    Who ran the boilerroom 15 years ago?

    He would not bury them there if it was likely that the area would be trafficked. Someone might notice the changes made by the burial and ask questions.


  18. I have as good memories of the Rainbo as anyone... ice skated there as a kid in the 1960s, went to concerts there as a teenager... but it was really ready to be retired when the owner decided to sell it.

    It was falling apart because of poor maintenance. While I admire that it was a place for Uptown teenagers to hang out (and there hasn't been a suitable replacement since), doesn't anyone else remember the shabbiness, and that every Saturday night, one poor kid was chosen to get beaten up on the walk home?

    The whole point of owning a business is to make money. The Rainbo's owner decided make a profit all at once rather than eke out more Saturday nights. I regret that no place has surfaced that serves the same function as the Rainbo did, but I don't miss it. It had, quite literally, exceeded its sell-by date.