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SKF Group to Build New Research and Development Center in Naperville

13 Aug 2014, 3:43 pm

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

SKF USA Inc., a SKF Group subsidiary plans to build a two-story, 130,000-square-foot industrial facility at 1203 Warrenville Road in Naperville, Ill.  City and state officials recently revealed that the Swedish-based manufacturer has chosen the Chicago suburb for its new North American R&D center. Headquartered in Gothenburg, SKF is currently the largest bearing manufacturer in the world.

“I could not be happier at SKF Group’s decision to become a part of the Naperville community”, said Mayor A. George Pradel. “Naperville’s reputation is second to none, and SKF’s decision to move here showcases what this community can do for businesses.”

The new research and development center will house scientists, engineers and administrative staff, and is expected to create 40 full-time jobs within the next two years. The development site is conveniently located in close proximity to the Interstate-88 business corridor.

“The tech corridor along I-88 has long been a driving force in getting new companies to come to Illinois, and Naperville in particular,” says Christine Jeffries, president and CEO of the Naperville Development Partnership.

The Swedish manufacturer received a $2.2 million state initiative package and an additional $20,000 grant for job training, under Illinois’ Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program. In order to receive the credits, SKF has to invest at least $18.6 million in the Naperville location over the next 10 years. The company disclosed that the Naperville facility might eventually house more than 200 employees.

“The Naperville-based R&D center will strengthen our global network of technical centers that support each of our key regions. It provides a central location to some of our most significant U.S. customers, proximity to many local world class research universities and a highly-educated workforce that is critical to our knowledge engineering efforts,” says Tom Johnstone, SKF president and CEO.

Naperville officials will discuss further details and rezoning approvals at the City Council’s August 19 meeting. The company would need to annex and rezone about 3 acres of unincorporated DuPage County land.

 Logo courtesy of SKF Group

Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center Welcomes Its First Guests

6 Aug 2014, 11:29 pm

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the opening of Chicago’s first Le Méridien luxury hotel, located in the high-ranking Oak Brook suburb. The 4-star, 172-room hotel is owned by Rockbridge Capital LLC and managed by Wischermann Partners Inc. The property, which until recently housed the Chicago Renaissance Hotel, underwent a $25 million transformation into a high-end, one-of-a-kind luxury destination.

Le Méridien brand was established in 1972 by Air France and has a portfolio of more than 120 hotels around the globe. The prestigious brand was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2005.

Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center features 172 luxury hotel rooms, including one Presidential Suite and six Executive Suites. Additionally, the hotel features 3,500 square feet of event and meeting space, two Spa Suites, a fitness center and a Spanish restaurant, El Tapeo. Other hotel amenities include Le Méridien Club Lounge, a Grand Salon Ballroom, high-speed Internet, 24-hour security, laundry and dry cleaning service, and complimentary shutter service.

The newly redesigned hotel is located at 2100 Spring Road Oak Brook, in close proximity to the Oakbrook Shopping Center, as well as other luxury boutiques and restaurants.

“With shared passions for culture, the arts and cuisine, Chicago has long been on our short list, and the location is a great backdrop for our Le Méridien brand promise to unlock the destination for the curious and creative-minded traveler,” says Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Le Méridien and Westin.

Like all Le Méridien properties, the hotel features an extensive collection of large-scale contemporary artwork, unique soundscapes and projections. Chicago’s first Le Méridien hotel offers a reinterpretation of the traditional hotel lobby, namely Le Méridien Hub. The Hub is meant to transform the classic lobby into an area destined for social interaction, complete with large-scale contemporary art pieces and abstract installations.

Images courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Studio Gang And MAD Architects To Design George Lucas’ Museum Of Narrative Art

31 Jul 2014, 4:30 am

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

Chicago—George Lucas, acclaimed film director and creator of the Star Wars franchise, is bringing a taste of Hollywood to the Midwest.

The design team for the highly-anticipated Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has been revealed. Following a lengthy selection process, museum officials announced they have chosen MAD Architects and Chicago-based Studio Gang to handle the project. Beijing-based MAD Architects, led by Ma Yonsong, holds an impressive portfolio which includes the Absolute Towers in Ontario, Canada; the global architecture firm will be the principal designer for the site.

Jeanne Gang, best-known for designing the innovative Aqua Tower in Chicago will handle the landscape design. Additionally, Studio Gang Architects also plans to build a pedestrian bridge to connect the LMNA to Northerly Island.

“We are bringing together some of the top architects in the world to ensure that our museum experience begins long before a visitor ever enters the building,” says Lucas.

The acclaimed film director further stated that he is extremely pleased with the team’s vision and looks forward to presenting it to the city of Chicago.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is expected to be “a gathering place to experience narrative art and the evolution of moving images – from illustration to cinema to the digital mediums of the future,” according to the LMNA official website.

The museum will also display George Lucas’ extensive collection of art and film memorabilia.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lucas’ original plan was to build the museum in his home town of San Francisco. Following the rejection of his proposal by city officials, Lucas shifted his focus towards Chicago.

“We are honored to be partnering with the city of Chicago and the many cultural, educational and community groups that have come forward with ideas about how the LMNA will add to their work,” Lucas told the press back in June.

The LMNA is a welcome addition to Chicago’s extensive Museum Campus, a 57-acre site which houses some of the city’s most notable natural sciences museums. According to Chicago Curbed, the Star Wars creator intends to finance the entire development project out of pocket, with a total cost of close to $1 billion.

Image courtesy of MAD Architects

Construction Begins On Chicago’s New Wolf Point West Tower

24 Jul 2014, 7:14 am

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

Chicago officials gathered on July 18th to celebrate the start of construction on a new 48-story luxury residential tower. Developed by Hines in partnership with the Magellan Development Group, the building will be part of a larger master plan designed by Connecticut-based Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Award-winning architect Cesar Pelli also designed the World Financial Center in New York and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Pelli’s master plan for the Wolf Point area consists of three high-rise luxury towers. According to DNAinfo, The West Tower will be the first structure to be constructed, which will be a residential tower featuring 509 luxury rental units. The 950-foot high South Tower will be a mixed-use space and the tallest of the three. When completed, the South Tower will become Chicago’s eighth tallest structure, according to The Chicago Architecture Blog. The mixed-use East Tower will house a combination of office, retail, hotel and residential space.

The Wolf Point development, located at the Y-shaped intersection of the Chicago River’s northern, southern and eastern branches,was heavily debated for 14 months before being approved. As reported by DNAinfo, area residents initially opposed the project, claiming that the high-rise towers would block skyline views and increase traffic in the area. Developers eventually revised the project to feature no more than 950 feet, 1,410 residential units and 450 hotel rooms.

According to the Wolf Point project fact sheet, the development includes over 100,000 square feet of park and pedestrian areas as well as a riverwalk. The development intents to pursue LEED Silver Certification.

The Wolf Point area is historically significant for the city of Chicago. It was the location of Chicago’s first church, first hotel, first ferry and first bridges over the Chicago River. Today, Wolf Point is commonly used to describe a plot of land owned by the Kennedy family in the Near North Side community area.

Rendering courtesy of Magellan Development Group LLC


Sterling Bay Companies Announces Partnership with IPDNA to Redevelop Chicago’s Historic Old Post Office

25 Jun 2014, 11:53 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Sterling Bay Companies has recently announced a strategic partnership with International Property Developers North America to redevelop Chicago’s historic Old Post Office.

“We are very excited to partner with IPDNA and serve as the development partner on such a high profile project,” says Andy Gloor, managing principal at Sterling Bay Companies.

The rezoning plans for the site were approved last July by the Chicago Plan Commission and the City Council. Sterling Bay and IPDNA will now embark on an approximately $500 million dollar first phase renovation project which will convert the vacant historic structure into a high-end, mixed-use development.

“Sterling Bay has had great success transforming large, underutilized properties into highly desirable office destinations. The firm has played a significant role in transforming Chicago’s West Loop, and we feel that their knowledge of the city and current market trends will lead us to initiate the first phase of one of the most notable projects in Chicago in the last 50 years,” says IPDNA Chairman Bill Davies.

Upon completion of the first phase, the Old Post Office will feature over 2.7 million square feet of office space and retail amenities. Later phases could include further retail, hotel, residential and leisure accommodation.

“There are very few, if any, properties today that can accommodate corporate users looking for large, open floor plates, and/or tech companies looking for creative, non-traditional work space. We feel we are in an excellent position to capitalize on this growing demand,” says Gloor.

In the last several years, Sterling Bay has undertaken numerous projects in the Near West Side, including the redevelopment of 111 North Canal, 400 South Jefferson and 1000 West Fulton.

Photo Courtesy of: www.ipdamerica.com

29th Street Capital Acquires MF Property; eBay to Expand Presence in Illinois

18 Jun 2014, 6:28 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Real estate investment and advisory firm 29th Street Capital recently announced it has closed on a multi-family property located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago.

Located on the city’s Near South Side, bounded by the South Branch of the Chicago River, Bridgeport is an ethnically diverse community that serves as an affordable, safe and family-friendly alternative to some of the more expensive nearby areas such as the South or West Loop neighborhoods. 29th Street Capital has announced plans to upgrade the interior and exterior of the building. Besides the building renovations, the firm also plans to create a large outdoor common patio in a previously unused space.

“The current residents are excited about the renovations, and the property is certainly going to be attractive both to renters and future buyers. Bridgeport is a gentrifying neighborhood with a rich history,” said Dan Howard, director of acquisitions.

29th Street Capital intends to seek other investment opportunities in the Chicagoland area. The firm will continue to pursue value-add deals which will offer its investors above market return.

In other local real estate news, The Chicago Business Journal reports that Braintree will move into 60,000 square feet of leased space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The online and mobile payment platform has been acquired by eBay in 2013. eBay will also expand its presence in Illinois and will add 360 new jobs over the course of the next three years.

eBay has received a tax credit, under the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy, worth an estimated $12 million over 10 years from The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As per the EDGE agreement, eBay will invest $24 million in its Chicago expansion and pledges to create 216 full-time jobs by March 18, 2016, and another 144 by March 18, 2017.

Logo Courtesy of: www.29thstreetcapital.com

W.P. Carey Inc. Acquires $48 Million Distribution Facility

12 Jun 2014, 3:35 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

W.P. Carey Inc. recently announced it has acquired an 824,624-square-foot distribution facility just outside of Chicago. The property was purchased from Exeter Property Group for a price of about $48 million.

Located in University Park, Ill., the facility is fully-leased to a subsidiary of The J.M. Smucker Company for a period of nine and a half years. The original 575,024-square-foot facility was built in 2008 and Exeter expanded it by 249,600 in 2013 to facilitate the distribution of coffee under the Folgers brand, which Smuckers acquired in 2008.

“This investment represented an opportunity to acquire a new Class-A logistics facility that serves as a primary distribution center for all of Smuckers’ varied products,” says Gino Sabatini, W. P. Carey Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Investments. “In addition, the transaction demonstrates W. P. Carey’s ability to work with a variety of sellers, including those whose investment time frame is shorter and who are predominantly IRR-focused. Because our strategy is to generate income and cash flow over the longer term, we are an attractive source of liquidity to owners, developers and investors with shorter term investment horizons, as was the case with the Exeter Property Group.”

Located in Chicago’s South Suburban submarket, the modern Class-A distribution center with 32-foot clear height is one of only six distribution centers operated by Smuckers in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to consummate this win-win transaction for Exeter and W. P. Carey. We acquired the property in a non-stabilized condition and utilized Exeter’s development and leasing skills to add value and high investment performance to Exeter’s institutional partners, and are pleased to have made an outstanding asset available to a high quality organization like W. P. Carey,” says Ward Fitzgerald, Exeter CEO.

Logo Courtesy of: www.wpcarey.com

New Loews Chicago Hotel Joins ALHI

5 Jun 2014, 1:02 am

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Associated Luxury Hotels International recently expanded its portfolio with the addition of the new Loews Chicago Hotel which is scheduled to open in the beginning of 2015. ALHI will provide Global Sales Organization support, expertise and sales services for the new Chicago Hotel.

Situated in the center of Chicago, just one block north of the Chicago River and two blocks east of North Michigan Avenue, Loews Chicago Hotel will feature 400 guest rooms and suites in a highly visible 52-story tower. The hotel will offer 25,717 square feet of meeting space and outdoor function venues, including a board room with video conferencing capabilities, an 8,591-square-foot ballroom and a 4,740-square-foot junior ballroom. The hotel will be conveniently located within walking distance of numerous shopping and entertainment venues, and will be just 25 minutes away from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and 30 minutes from Chicago Midway International Airport.

“The brand-new Loews Chicago Hotel will be a very welcomed addition to the amazing city of Chicago,” says ALHI CEO David Gabri. “Chicago continues to be one of the most highly sought-after destinations, and this will be an outstanding new hotel for meetings and programs. It complements our other exceptional Chicago hotel members and provides needed new space in the marketplace.”

Owned and operated by Loews Hotels & Resorts, the Loews Chicago Hotel will feature numerous on-site leisure options including a signature restaurant, retail shop, 75-foot indoor lap pool, a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and spa treatment rooms, and a rooftop lounge offering panoramic views of Chicago. The hotel is being developed by DRW Trading Group and designed by architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

The Loews Chicago Hotel will become ALHI’s sixth member in Chicago, joining The Peninsula Chicago, The Langham Chicago, the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile and the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. The Loews Chicago Hotel also becomes the newest member of the ALHI City Solutions Collection which features 61 ALHI Four- and Five-Diamond quality member hotels from numerous metropolitan areas around the world.

Renderings Courtesy of: www.scb.com

CVMC REIT Pays $211.7 Million for 250,000-Square-Foot Chicago Data Center

28 May 2014, 10:06 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Carter Validus Mission Critical REIT Inc. has acquired the Chicago Data Center Facility in the Northlake suburb of Chicago for $211.7 million. The REIT will provide new capital for the continued build out and expansion of the facility.

“This property represents our largest single portfolio acquisition to date and demonstrates our continuing commitment to the data center space,” says John Carter, CEO of CVMC REIT.

CVMC REIT acquired the data center from Ascent and according to the announced partnership agreement Ascent will continue to manage operations, engineering and construction at the site.

“Partnering with CVMC REIT allows Ascent to concentrate on building out our current portfolio of data center facilities and increase strategic investment in the development of future locations,” says Phil Horstmann, CEO of Ascent. “CVMC REIT’s commitment to the data center space is the perfect complement to our design, construction and operational capabilities, strengthening our ability to provide current and future customers with the innovative solutions and mission-critical services they demand.”

The Chicago Data Center, a 250,000-square-foot multi-tenant facility, features Ascent’s purpose-built Dynamic Data Center SuiteSM model and shared infrastructure colocation suites. The facility has been designed for a wide range of customers with diverse computing and power density requirements, accommodating critical power requirements from less than 1 MW up to 20 MW of gross power.

“Given this property’s desirable location and long term leases with high-quality tenants, we believe that the Chicago Data Center is a great addition to our growing portfolio of mission critical real estate assets,” says Michael Seton, president of Carter/Validus Advisors, the advisor to CVMC REIT. “We look forward to our relationship with Ascent, a recognized leader in the data center industry, who will continue to manage and develop the property for CVMC REIT.”

Logo Courtesy of: www.cvmissioncriticalreit.com

Brennan Investment Group and Westminster Capital Sell Ogden Corporate Center

21 May 2014, 10:25 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Chicago-based Brennan Investment Group LLC and its joint venture partner Lake Forest, Ill.-based Westminster Capital recently announced the sale of Ogden Corporate Center to a private investor.

“This was our first investment with Brennan Investment Group,” says Mark Mazur, managing principal of Westminster Capital. “The Brennan and Westminster teams were aligned in our investment approach on this asset, identifying opportunities with a value proposition and leveraging our experienced platforms to create value and maximize returns. Westminster looks forward to more investments with Brennan.”

Located at 801-815 Ogden Avenue in Lisle, Ill., Ogden Corporate Center consist of two, single story, Class A office buildings. The property is fully leased to three tenants with the majority of space being occupied by an affiliate of DuPage Medical Group under a long-term lease. When the buildings were acquired by Brennan Investment Group in 2012 they had significant vacancy and occupancy was raised to 100 percent shortly after the acquisition.

“Although not an industrial asset, the purchase and sale of Ogden Corporate Center represents one of Brennan Investment Group’s strategies, of acquiring special circumstance properties, and adding value by leasing and improving the property, and selling upon stabilization, maximizing investor returns,” says Scott McKibben, managing principal and co-founder of Brennan Investment Group.

Brennan Investment Group acquires, develops and operates primarily industrial properties in select major metropolitan markets across the U.S. The company’s current portfolio spans 21 states and features over 15 million square feet.

Logo Courtesy of: www.brennaninvestmentgroup.com

Historic 850 Lake Shore Drive Earns Recognition from Chicago Association of Realtors

14 May 2014, 3:29 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

The conversion of the historic Lake Shore Athletic Club building into luxury apartments has won the 2014 Chicago Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award. The distinction honors groundbreaking new and newly rehabbed or redeveloped properties in the Chicago metropolitan region that have augmented economic vibrancy in their neighborhood and boosted local pride.

“Good Neighbor Awards demonstrate how real estate works to build stronger, vibrant communities,” says Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner at Urban Real Estate. “This is one of our association’s most important programs because it recognizes properties that exemplify how real estate can positively impact neighborhoods by fulfilling a need, helping the economy and boosting civic pride.”

The 850 Lake Shore Drive transformation project was developed by locally-based Integrated Development Group LLC in partnership with the National Electrical Benefit Fund. Originally built in 1927, 850 Lake Shore Drive opened as the exclusive Lake Shore Athletic Club. Integrated Development Group unveiled plans to convert the vacant building to luxury apartments in 2013 and, under the direction of architects Booth Hansen and general contractors Lend Lease and Valenti Builders, undertook the thorough renovation.

The recently reopened structure features 198 modern residences and upscale amenities such as a fitness center, indoor pool, business center, rooftop deck and a 3,500-square-foot “White Room” which includes a bar, flat screen TVs and billiards table. Residents can choose from over 60 floor plans ranging from studios to three-bedroom duplexes. Rents range from $2,190 to $12,000 per month.

“We’re honored to be recognized for this prestigious award,” says  Matthew Phillips, CEO and President of Integrated Development Group. 850 Lake Shore Drive was a unique opportunity to save a building that was significant to the community, and we’re grateful that the real estate industry recognizes the building’s historic value and has been receptive to its new life as luxury rentals in Chicago.”

850 Lake Shore Drive is managed by Seneca Real Estate Advisors, with leasing and marketing being provided by @properties.

Luxury Boutique Hotel Announces Opening in Chicago’s Andersonville Neighborhood

7 May 2014, 8:53 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

The Andersonville Guesthouse is set to expand and upon reopening, in the summer of 2014, will be rebranded into The Guesthouse Hotel.

Located at 4866 North Clark Street, in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, the former 10-unit boutique hotel will expand into a 25-unit luxury accommodation through the construction of a new building next to the existing hotel.

The Guesthouse Hotel aims to be the first luxury boutique hotel on Chicago’s Northside that allows guests to “live like a local” within a home-like setting. “Our guests have the opportunity to live like a local and take advantage of our proximity to Wrigley Field and downtown Chicago, wonderful restaurants, and shopping in the surrounding Andersonville, Uptown, and Lincoln Square neighborhoods,” said co-owner Simona Krug.

The hotel will feature one- and two-bedroom suites which will offer numerous comforts found in the hotel’s current two- and three-bedroom units, such as spa-like master bathrooms, gourmet kitchens and private outdoor area. The boutique hotel will also include penthouse units with private rooftop garden access. The new construction will have a spacious lobby with a reception area and retail space, library, club room, and exercise room.

“We want to create a different experience for travelers coming to Chicago – one that focuses on local neighborhood culture, offers comfort and independence, like that of your own home, and provides luxury accommodations at an affordable cost,” says Dave Krug, co-owner of The Guesthouse Hotel. “Our vision is to create a perfect hotel option for small groups or families where they have all of the home amenities in a popular Chicago neighborhood.”

$79 Million TIFIA Loan for the Reconstruction of the CTA’s 95th Street Red Line Station Secured

1 May 2014, 2:48 am

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) recently announced that $79 million in federal funding has been secured to finalize the funding of the new 95th Street Terminal on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line.

“The Red Line is the backbone of our transportation network system and one of our City’s key economic engines,” Emanuel says. “By utilizing innovative federal financing, we are ensuring that we build the infrastructure Chicago needs to succeed economically in the 21st Century and take advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a significant investment in the South Side.”

The new $240 million station is the first CTA terminal project in 30 years and one of the largest single station projects in the CTA’s history. The 95th Street station reconstruction project will completely rebuilt the station, which has become outdated. Located at the south end of the Red Line, the CTA’s busiest rail line, the new construction will expand customer areas, relieve congestion and generally improve the experience of the close to 4 million riders who pass through the station each year.

“The federally funded TIGER grant program is the largest and most competitive transportation grant programs in the nation,” Durban says. “We all worked together to bring this funding right back to the South Side, where construction on a new multimodal station will help bring new development, spur the local economy and give commuters a safe, modern station for decades to come. This announcement is an example of how the federal investments we are making today – and the additional funding that they help leverage – are putting us in the best position to provide world-class mass transit services in the future.”

The new terminal will feature two buildings, one situated north and one south of 95th Street, as well as reconfigured pedestrian areas and bus bays. The CTA has partnered with Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates to create artworks for the station. The $79 million in funding comes through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act which provides assistance for qualified infrastructure projects across the country.

Preliminary work is expected to start in late spring and major construction is expected to begin by this fall. The terminal is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Rendering Courtesy of: 95th/Dan Ryan via CTA/Flickr.

Amata Opens New Shared Office Center at 150 South Wacker Drive

23 Apr 2014, 6:50 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Amata Office Centers has recently announced it is opening its sixth shared office center in Chicago featuring 16,950 square feet of space. Occupying the entire 24th floor of the building located at 150 South Wacker Drive in the West Loop neighborhood, the shared office center is scheduled to open May 1.

Amata’s 150 South Wacker Drive shared office center will feature over 50 private office suites, seven open workstations, six large team rooms, three state-of-the-art conference rooms, a café and lounge and Amata’s signature Cognac room.

“It seemed natural that our next location would be in the West Loop as it has quickly become one of the hottest areas for startups, especially those launching tech firms,” says Ron Bockstahler, Amata’s CEO and co-founder. “We even took that into account in designing the shared office space at 150 South Wacker, as it will include an open loft concept, gigabit Ethernet connection and video games in the lounge. The building is also easily accessible from I-90 and I-94 as well as close to the Union and Ogilvy Metra Stations, making it a convenient location for commuters.”

Amata has been involved in the shared office movement for over ten years, connecting small, entrepreneurial businesses, as well as national and international companies that have been searching to set up offices in Chicago.

“Because of the increase in firms flocking to Chicago, we’ve seen an increasing demand for our cost-effective and flexible office solutions, so we’re excited to offer a new Amata location to companies,” Bockstahler says.

Certain Amata locations also provide special services that cater to specific industries. For example Amata’s “aLawCenter” locations at 161 North Clark Street and 180 North LaSalle Street cater to the company’s legal clients and offers private deposition rooms, paralegal support and docket services.

Photo Courtesy of: www.amatacorp.com

HOK-Designed Clark and Grand Hotel Complex Achieves LEED-NC Silver Certification

16 Apr 2014, 5:11 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

HOK recently announced that The Clark and Grand Hotel Complex has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) Design for New Construction (NC) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Designed by HOK and developed by Friedman Properties, The Clark and Grand Hotel Complex is the first high-rise select service hotel in Chicago made up of three distinct hotel offerings under the same roof.

Located in the River North neighborhood, the complex is on a block bounded by Clark Street, Grand Avenue, Dearborn Street and Illinois Street. In order to offer each hotel its own identity, HOK’s design has provided three separate entrances. The three hotels united under the same roof are: Aloft Chicago City Center – 272 guestrooms; Hyatt Place – 212 guestrooms; and Fairfield Inn & Suites – 180 guestrooms. Each hotel benefits from numerous efficiencies which are being achieved by sharing amenity and basement public spaces. All three properties are managed by White Lodging.

The Clark and Grand Hotel Complex is just the third new construction LEED-certified hotel project in Chicago. The energy performance of the hotels is 38 percent better than a typical hotel in the city. The building has numerous sustainable design features and strategies including the combination of a high-performance envelope with efficient mechanical systems and controls; and efficient heating and cooling systems. The complex achieved a 28 percent water use reduction by using low flow plumbing and also thanks to its landscape design that only uses non-potable water for irrigation.

“As the third new construction LEED-certified hotel project in Chicago, the energy performance of this complex is 38 percent better than a typical hotel in the city,” says Colin Rohlfing, Chicago-based HOK sustainable design leader. “The success of this unique hospitality project was achieved by combining a high-performance envelope with efficient mechanical systems and controls, which both respond to the increase in perimeter thermal performance.”

Photo Courtesy of: www.hok.com

Sumitomo Corporation of Americas Acquires Chicago’s Trophy 203 North LaSalle

11 Apr 2014, 8:55 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Commercial real estate services firm Avison Young announced that it has completed an office property acquisition on behalf of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas within a trophy-class building in downtown Chicago.

The acquisition comprises 581,107 square feet of office space within the 27-story class A mixed-use building located at 203 North LaSalle in Chicago’s Central Loop. The transaction refers solely to office space, which comprises the building’s 13th through 27th floors, and does not include the retail space on the first and second floor, nor the 10 levels of parking. Sumitomo Corporation of Americas has named Avison Young as the exclusive leasing agent for the acquired office space.

The office space was acquired from a joint-venture partnership consisting of M&J Wilkow, which has held ownership in the building since its completion in 1985, and HCI Capital AG, which has shared in ownership since 2005. 203 North LaSalle will continue to be managed by M&J Wilkow.

“Sumitomo has been active on the coasts for years, and has always viewed Chicago as a world-class city,” says Tomonori Wada, senior vice-president, Living Related Business Group, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. “We have been looking for the right opportunity to invest in Chicago and hope to increase our presence here.”

Avison Young Principal Suzanne Martinez, who led the brokerage team that represented Sumitomo Corporation of Americas in the sale transaction says: “This was a complex deal not only due to the multi-tiered ownership of the building, but also because Sumitomo was seeking a 1031 Exchange opportunity whereby capital-gains taxes are deferred until a future date in accordance with federal law. We identified the property at 203 North LaSalle as a great asset to satisfy Sumitomo’s 1031, but also it gives Sumitomo the opportunity to acquire office space in a building that can be repositioned for today’s market.”

The 29-year-old building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and has achieved LEED Gold certification and an Energy Star label. The building offers direct access to the Clark and Lake Chicago Transit Authority station and the Loop-spanning underground pedestrian walkway.

Sumitomo plans to make improvements to the lobby and elevators and install amenities such as a fitness center for tenants. Tenants at 203 North LaSalle include the University of Phoenix, Masuda Funai and DLA Piper.

Photo Courtesy of: www.wilkow.com

Governor Quinn Announces New “Welcome Home Illinois” Home Loan Program for First-Time Buyers

3 Apr 2014, 6:09 pm

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently announced the new Welcome Home Illinois program which aims to help Illinois’ first-time home buyers. The program provides $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.99 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

“Welcome Home Illinois will provide more opportunities for everyday people across Illinois to have their chance at homeownership,” Quinn says. “Homeownership and home-buying are essential to our economy. That’s why we are rolling out the welcome mat for families and hardworking men and women by giving them the resources they need to pack up and move into a new home.”

The program is funded through Illinois Jobs Now! and the Illinois Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The program is open to first-time buyers or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years in Illinois. Borrower income limits are up to 140 percent of the area median income, or $106,120 for a family of three or more in Cook County and $82,915 for a family of three or more in Springfield. The home buyer is required to have a credit score of at least 640.

Through the program home buyers can receive a forgivable loan of $7,500 that is secured by a second mortgage to help with closing costs or down payment. The borrowers are required to contribute the greater of one percent of the overall purchase price or $1,000 toward the down payment.

Apart from creating new ownership opportunities the Welcome Home Illinois loan will also stimulate statewide economic activity. It is estimated that the program will generate 1,500 full-time jobs, $50 million from real estate-related industries, $40 million in economic activity for the state and an extra $16 million in other statewide spending.

“Governor Quinn understands there’s never been a better time to buy a home in Illinois, so he created Welcome Home Illinois to help more buyers take advantage of historically low-interest rates,” says IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney. “Now that Illinois’ economic recovery is gaining momentum, housing prices are trending up and buying a home will enable families and individuals to build wealth for their future.”

Governer Pat Quinn Praises 111 West Wacker Drive Development and Workers

28 Mar 2014, 12:02 am

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

As the long awaited 111 West Wacker Drive project gets closer to completion, which is scheduled for this summer, Governor Pat Quinn recently saluted the developers and workers.

As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, the long-stalled Chicago project was acquired by Related Midwest in 2011. The project had been stagnant since 2008 but Related Midwest secured $115 million in construction financing from U.S. Bank in 2012 and re-launched the development.

Originally envisioned as a 90-story tower featuring upscale for-sale residences and a Shangri-La hotel by its previous owner, Waterview L.L.C., 111 West Wacker Drive has been reimagined by Related Midwest as a LEED Silver 60-story ultra-luxury residential tower. The architect of the project is New York-based Handel & Associates LLP and the interior designer is Chicago-based Kara Mann Design.

“This development is further proof that Illinois is making a comeback,” Quinn says. “After stalling during the worst recession since the Great Depression, today this monumental project is back on track and has employed more than 1,000 skilled workers. This is what happens when the state’s business climate encourages private investment and creates good jobs for Illinois’ hardworking men and women.”

Situated on the corner of Wacker Drive and Clark Street, the 950,000-square-foot development will feature 504 rental units, 440 parking spaces and street-level restaurant and retail offerings. The project has employed over 1,000 skilled construction workers for a total of 510,000 hours to date, twenty-five will be permanently employed upon completion of the building and another 100 service providers will service the building.

“The transformation of this site into one of Chicago’s finest, new apartment buildings has been a long but very rewarding journey,” says Related Midwest President Curt Bailey. “I could not be more proud of the dedicated and extremely talented workers who have helped us create a best-in-class building for a world-class city. We are very excited to unveil 111 West Wacker to Chicago and help establish the Loop as one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in the city.”

Rendering Courtesy of: www.relatedmidwest.com

New Luxury Boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Chicago to Open in 2016

24 Mar 2014, 5:22 am

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

Nobu Hospitality LLC recently announced plans for a new development in the West Loop of Chicago. The new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Chicago will be located on the corner of Randolph and Peoria Streets and is scheduled to open early 2016.

“Chicago’s tourism industry continues to see record growth because renowned venues like Nobu are investing in expanding options for Chicagoans and tourists,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel “This hotel and restaurant builds on the city’s great hospitality and culinary offerings to further cement Chicago’s role as a world-class city.”

The development is inspired by the world-renowned Japanese Chef Nobu and championed by Academy award-winning actor Robert De Niro and Hollywood producer Meir Teper. Nobu Hotel will feature 155 luxury rooms, the Nobu Restaurant, an indoor and outdoor bar, a rooftop lounge and venue and exclusive guest room retreats. The designer of the project is Shaw Sullivan, partner and studio leader at the Rockwell Group, a company that has designed numerous Nobu projects on a global scale over the past twenty years.

“The City of Chicago is an extremely important destination for Nobu Hospitality and our shareholders Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper. As one of the key global cities of the world, Chicago is already a magnet for business and leisure travellers offering unique venues for dining, entertainment and enjoyment, and we look forward to embracing the values, the traditions and desires of the people of Chicago,” says Trevor Horwell, chief executive of Nobu Hospitality. “We also look forward to be working with the City of Chicago to deliver a unique and special destination for Chicago which reflects our overall growth strategy of expanding with other properties to 24-hour gateway cities, both in the U.S. and internationally.”

Logo Courtesy of: www.nobuhotels.com

The University of Chicago Lists Harper Court Complex for Sale with CBRE Group

24 Mar 2014, 5:13 am

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor

The University of Chicago recently announced that it has listed the 12-story Harper Court complex for sale with commercial real estate firm CBRE Group.

Over the past years, the university has undertaken a project in partnership with the City of Chicago which aims to help revitalize the 53rd Street corridor in Hyde Park. As part of this project, after a multi-year redevelopment project, Harper Court opened in 2013 with a new design which aimed to bring new amenities to Hyde Park and create economic opportunities for the surrounding area.

The concept of Harper Court grew out of community visioning workshops which took place in 2008. The University of Chicago and the City of Chicago contributed land and other resources to redevelop a former shopping center. In order to attract developers to bid on the project, the university committed to a 20-year lease of the office tower.

Up to now, the university has invested over $30 million in Harper Court and provided a $21.5 million loan guarantee for the construction of the new Hyatt Place hotel, adjacent to the office tower.

The university initially announced its plans to sell the property in November, shortly after purchasing it from the developer, CJUF III Harper Court LLC, for $98 million. UChicago, after finding a buyer, intends to lease back all of the office and retail space.

Harper Court features 224,000 square feet of office, retail and parking space. The university intends, as part of a purchase deal, to sign a 20-year master lease for the office and retail portion and plans to continue to work with its leasing agent in order to identify retail tenants for the remaining spaces in the building.

Associate Vice President for Commercial Real Estate Operations for the University of Chicago, James Hennessy, in a statement says: “This project is the result of many years of planning and input from members of the community about the kinds of retail they wanted to see in the neighborhood, and we are looking for a new owner that will be committed to Harper Court for the long-term.”

The university, as owner of the project, is currently paying property taxes which contribute to the 53rd Street TIF district and will continue to contribute to tax revenues as anchor tenant after the building is sold.

“From the beginning, Harper Court helped boost interest from prospective tenants and is now providing increased foot traffic to support the surrounding businesses,” Hennessy says. “We’re confident that it will be a good investment for the right buyer and continue to be an important center for the community.”

Photo Courtesy of: Harper Court via Facebook (www.facebook.com/HarperCourt).

One Response to Chicago Archive

  1. Joselyn Overley

    Sep. 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I just think it’s too hard for small businesses to try to purchase a property, renting or leasing is their only real option

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