Office development returns to Chicago

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Real estate developer Hines Interests made big waves recently with the news that they’ll be breaking ground this year on the first truly speculative office development in downtown Chicago since the 1990s.

The impressive plans for the “River Point” project call for a 45-story, 900,000-square foot tower at 444 W. Lake Street on the banks of the Chicago River (see photo at left).

While Hines is just one a several developers with plans for a new tower, a $300 million equity infusion from Montreal-based partner Ivanhoe Cambridge means it can begin construction without any pre-construction leases — a huge advantage over other firms which will need committments from one or two major tenants just to finance construction.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Bill Rogers, who represents office tenants in Chicago, tells Crain’s Chicago Business that the Hines project has a huge leg up in this regard:

“Other buildings could catch up to them if they sign an anchor tenant in the next  six months, but right now Hines has the advantage without needing an anchor  tenant locked in. All the other developers still have this  pre-leasing requirement that’s somewhere in the 40 to 70 percent pre-leasing range.”

To read the full Crain’s story on the project, click here.

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