CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of April 7

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 April 7.

Another Slice of the Meatpacking District for Sterling Bay
Sterling Bay Cos. recently purchased the 11,308 square foot Pittsburgh Paints building located at 345 N. Morgan St. This acquisition is one of more than 20 buildings Sterling Bay has bought in Chicago’s meatpacking district. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sterling Bay may have plans to incorporate the Pittsburgh Paints building into a hotel development it is planning next door. 1000 W. Fulton Market, owned by Sterling Bay and where Google Inc. will move to in 2015, is across the street from the Pittsburgh Paints building.

More Transit Improvements Underway?
A Chicago coalition of transportation advocates launched a campaign earlier this month named “Transit Future” in attempt to raise billions of dollars for mass transit improvements. The proposed improvements involve extending and modernizing the existing CTA system, creating new rail lines that entirely bypass downtown, a bus rapid transit corridor running the length of the city and the creation of a high-speed bus service that would extend deeper into the suburbs. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle support the coalition and recommend raising new tax money in Cook County to help pay for the mass transit improvements.

Newcastle Purchase in River North
Newcastle Ltd. has purchased 615 N. Wabash Ave. in River North for $5.2 million. The 4-story office building houses 15,469 square feet of space and sits on a 8,900 square foot lot. As Newcastle searches for new tenants, the building could be demolished. Zoning specifications would allow Newcastle to build up to 100,000 square feet, but Newcastle representatives deny the pursuit of placing a high-rise on the parcel and are instead trying to lease space to retail or restaurant tenants.

Chicago Pension Reform Proposal
The Illinois State Legislature is continuing to consider and revise legislation proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to address the near $20 billion dollar pension crisis in Chicago. The Mayor’s proposal contained both new revenue and significant reform of the pension system to address the pensions of municipal workers and laborers. While no solution is going to be easy or painless, BOMA/Chicago and the business community are supporting the proposal as a way to protect the viability of Chicago and its credit rating, and to provide leverage for dealing with an already existing $600 million mandate for police and fire pensions.

Proposed Expansion of Special Service Area
The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is moving forward with a proposal to renew and expand the existing State Street Special Service Area (SSA). An SSA is a special taxing district that levies an additional rate on properties within the boundaries in order to provide services beyond basic ones provided by local government. CLA, which manages the current SSA, is proposing to expand the district to include Wabash and parts of Michigan Avenue from Congress Parkway to the Chicago River. To adequately prepare members to be meaningfully engaged in the process, discussion and decision to renew and expand the SSA, BOMA/Chicago will hold an informational meeting on April 22, 2014 at 10:00AM in the Aon Center. Buildings in the proposed SSA will be contacted with details. Questions about the SSA can be directed to Ron Tabaczynski, BOMA/Chicago Director of Government Affairs.

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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