Each week, The Elevator Speech summarizes news related to some of the key industry trends, buildings, deals and dealmakers that shaped headlines. Below are articles that caught our attention the week of October 15.
- A venture led by New York real estate investors David Werner and Joseph Moinian has emerged as the lead bidder to purchase 540 W. Madison St., a coveted West Loop office tower. While the venture has not been selected, they are prepared to pay $345 million for the 30-story, 1.1-million-square-foot office tower currently owned by Bank of America. A sale at that price would be the biggest downtown Chicago office building sale of 2012.
- A “Connected City” study by Jones Lang LaSalle revealed a correlation between cities’ investments in smart grid technologies and economic indicators for the commercial real estate industry. Strong employment, GDP growth and positive office market occupancy are all CRE factors that result from investment in smart grid technology.
- President Obama selected Chicago’s McCormick Place as the location for his election night rally November 6. While the indoor venue likely will not draw the same crowds as the 2008 outdoor rally at Grant Park — which drew an estimated 240,000 attendees and depicted Chicago’s skyline to the world — the location will likely ease potential concerns over security, weather and logistics.
- The lower floors of the iconic 330 N. Wabash Av. office tower are being transformed into the Langham Chicago, a 316-room luxury hotel set to open next year. Katie Benson is leading the transformation, and plans to establish the Langham Chicago as an alternative to well-established high-end hotel competitors. She discussed the challenges and opportunity it has posed in the video below.
- Chicago-area real estate investment trusts (REITs) returned 16.7 percent in the first nine months of 2012, .2 percent higher than all U.S. REITs. These investment vehicles are popular with many local investors because they tend to pay high dividends, a significant benefit in the current market. However, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli predicted a decline in financial services employment this year, which could put pressure on office REITs with a concentration of tenants in the sector, according to Fitch Ratings.
What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Or do you have comments or further thoughts on the five items noted above? We highly encourage you to post a comment.