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

Northwestern Nabs Fairbanks Building
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare has purchased the former Time-Life Building at 541 N. Fairbanks Court for $79.5 million. Northwestern was the largest tenant within the 541,637 square foot, 28-story office tower before the purchase. The Chicago Park District, which owned a headquarters totaling 110,000 square feet in the building, will move out by 2018.

Igniting the Move to the CBD
Ignite USA, a firm with products in the housewares and sporting goods industries, will relocate its headquarters from the West Loop to 21,000 square feet downtown. Ignite planned to renovate its office space at 954 W. Washington Blvd., but decided that a move to 180 N. LaSalle St. would be the most cost effective. The terms of the West Loop lease would have required Ignite to pay for renovations when the downtown move will have renovations built into the lease and will allow Ignite to maintain a collaborative work environment.

Long-Term Lease for Law Firm
Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a Chicago-based law firm, has finalized a 15-year lease for about 200,000 square feet at the Willis Tower. The firm will vacate about 300,000 square feet at the Citadel Center upon moving into 233 S. Wacker Drive. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Seyfarth Shaw’s move is part of a country-wide trend of law firms cutting down square footage as part of cost control measures.

Investor and Lease Secured for 150 N. Riverside
Developer John O’Donnell is planning to build a $490 million office tower along the Chicago River at 150 N. Riverside Plaza. To help finance the building, O’Donnell has secured an investor in Elgin-based Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, a domestic real estate arm of Chinese auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang Group Inc. The proposed tower will rise 53 stories high and offer 1.2 million square feet of office space. William Blair & Co., an investment banking and asset management firm located at 222 W. Adams St, recently finalized a 15-year lease for 318,000 square feet at 150 N. Riverside Plaza.

Vintage Interest for John Buck
John Buck Co. is currently considering taking ownership of the Class B structure at 33 N. LaSalle St. for less than the building’s remaining debt. The building is currently owned by Golub & Co. and German shipping and real estate firm Norddeutsche Vermogen. The 38-story art deco tower has been struggling since the City of Chicago vacated 31% of the space in 2013. Vacancy is nearly at 40% at 33 N. LaSalle, which is above the overall downtown vacancy rate of 14.7% during Q1 of 2014.

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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