Sears Centre Spawns Lawsuit

As groundbreaking nears for the $60 million Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., a local developer is suing the partnership behind the project, claiming he was squeezed out of the deal.

Jack Wilson of Prospect Development LLC and Landstone LLC filed the complaint July 1st. He is seeking a judgment amount equal to assets and revenues generated from the arena, plus 49 percent ownership of the facility or cash equal to what that’s worth, according to the Daily Herald of suburban Chicago.

The suit reportedly alleges officials from Ryan Companies, Sears Roebuck and Co., and Madkatstep Entertainment LLC took Wilson’s idea for a similar arena in Prospect Heights that didn’t materialize and used it for the Hoffman Estates facility. The developer has also filed a $1 million breach of contract suit against Prospect Heights, the Daily Herald reported.

Sears Centre operator Steve Hyman, of CCO Entertainment, said Wilson’s lawsuit won’t affect the 12,000-seat sports and entertainment center’s time schedule.

“The project was approved and is going forward. This is a civil suit claiming that this gentleman is due something,” Hyman told Pollstar. “This is the second community or group of individuals he has sued, so I think his actions and that fact that this is [lawsuit] number two kind of speak for themselves.

“The bottom line is he’s free to do whatever he so desires. He’s just seeking a day in court, I guess, which he’s entitled to do.”

Hyman said plans for the Sears Centre have fallen into place, including the venue’s financing and development agreements. Groundbreaking is scheduled for July 21st.

“We had to go through, as you do with any of these projects, the planning commission, zoning board of appeals and the multiple-step process within the village, including not just getting approval of the actual building itself but all the financing instruments,” he explained. “The United Hockey League met and approved the lease just a few days ago in their spring and summer meetings in Las Vegas, so it’s a big move for everybody.”

The arena is projected to draw about 750,000 people for more than 135 shows a year.

Tina Amendola