CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of October 21

By BOMA/Chicago

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 21.

Office Sales Lead CRE Market
Chicago real estate deals are going strong for yet another year. Within the past ten months, $7.9 billion in commercial real estate deals have been struck in the Chicago area, with office property sales leading across all five categories with $2.7 billion in sales. Check out the top 2013 Chicago real estate sales on Crain’s Chicago Business.

401 N Michigan. Photo taken from Zeller Realty Group website.

401 N Michigan. Photo taken from Zeller Realty Group website.

Kraft Comes to Chicago
401 N. Michigan, best known for attention-grabbing art displays in Pioneer Court, may become the new home of Kraft Foods Group Inc.

Kraft is in talks to lease the top two floors of the 35-story tower, a space that totals 30,000 square feet. This potential move is yet another example of suburban corporations setting up shop in the downtown area as a way to attract younger employees.

Kraft executives are expected to decide within the next few days as to whether or not they will finalize a deal with Zeller Realty Group, the owner of 401 N. Michigan.

Lofty Views for Greektown
Five leases have been signed at two adjacent properties in Greektown that are owned by Urban Innovations. Three leases have been signed for 833 W. Jackson Blvd., increasing occupancy by 20% in the 60,000-square-foot building.  At 322 S. Green St., a 90,000-square-foot building, two leases were signed and this raised occupancy by 17%.

In May 2013, Urban Innovations bought these two properties as a value-added investment for $14 million. Both properties are currently undergoing renovations as a way to appeal to potential tenants.

Aaron Zaretsky, exclusive leasing agent at Urban Innovations for these two properties believes that these leases signal a high demand for loft office space, especially in the West Loop and River North.

From Cubicles to Kitchens
John T. Murphy, president of Chicago-based MB Real Estate Services LLC, continues to buy downtown office space with plans to convert them into hotels and apartments.

32 W. Randolph. Photo taken from LoopNet website.

32 W. Randolph. Photo taken from LoopNet website.

Murphy currently has his eye on 32 W. Randolph St., an office space within the Oriental Theatre building. According to a person familiar with Murphy’s agenda, the plan is to convert this office space into 220 apartments.

Downtown apartment development is becoming an increasingly competitive market. Developers are expected to create 300 apartments in downtown Chicago by the end of 2015. New residential high-rises are currently under construction at 73 E. Lake St. and 111 W. Wacker Drive.

Murphy, however, is instead focusing on current office space with plans to rehab those spaces into hotels or apartments. Rehabbing 32 W. Randolph St. would be Murphy’s third office-to-hotel project, as he is currently converting a 22-story office building at 100 W. Monroe St. into a Hyatt hotel and 68 E. Wacker Place into a 144-room hotel.

What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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About BOMA/Chicago

The voice of Chicago's office building industry since 1902.
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