Wickes Furniture had recently filed for bankruptcy with Wells Fargo as the primary creditor. Wickes owned a retail/distribution facility on 11.3 acres in downtown Wheeling which had become vacant. Based on their experience of similar land projects, Wells Fargo hired Jack Rosenberg and Fred Regnery to conduct a national marketing campaign to find the best buyer for the highest price. Wheeling had identified the property as a mixed use redevelopment site in their land plan.
Jack and Fred performed a detailed analysis of the redevelopment potential of the site and quickly identified the highest and best use as a development site rather than a building sale. They developed a marketing campaign that highlighted the property's development potential and identified the most logical national and local development firms to target which included over 200 prospects. A major challenge of the project was the significant deterioration of the housing market in Q4 2008 coupled with the uncertainly of zoning approval from Wheeling. Jack and Fred devised a strategy which called for bidders to submit zoning contingent offers as well as non-contingent offers so that Wells Fargo could evaluate both scenarios and their respective impact on value.
In a market environment where new housing development had virtually come to a halt and bank financing for new development had become unavailable, Jack and Fred were able to identify three buyers to submit non-contingent, cash offers with no due diligence period. Due to the competitive nature of the auction process, the eventual buyer of the property increased their offer 26% from their first proposal.