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Development group plans more rentals with new downtown tower

roeder reports

David Roeder reports on real estate 6:22 p.m. Thursdays on WBBM-AM (780). The reports are repeated at 10:22 p.m. Thursday and 7:22 a.m. Sunday.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



The Lakeshore East development that for many people has redefined living in downtown Chicago is expanding despite weak demand for condos. Magellan Development Group LLC, which controls the 26-acre site east of the Loop, is laying plans for the complex’s eighth high-rise.

Magellan is chasing the market that every developer with an eligible city site now covets — rentals. People have to live somewhere, and studies show demand for downtown apartments is acute.

At 345 E. Wacker, just east of the Swissotel, Magellan and architectural firm Brininstool, Kerwin and Lynch plan a 49-story building with 499 units. Magellan’s co-chief executive, Joel Carlins, said he’s in the late stages of raising money for the $150 million building and hopes to break ground in June. Construction would take roughly 18 months.

It would be Lakeshore East’s first new tower since the 82-story Aqua, acclaimed for its wavy balconies, opened in 2009.

The Brininstool design won’t cause as much excitement, but it works with its surroundings while maximizing views for the tenants. The exterior uses aluminum and stainless steel and glass ranging from clear to translucent to go for a modern look. The balconies are recessed.

It draws inspiration from the Swissotel, a triangular design from the 1980s by Harry Weese.

The apartment building will include 18,000 square feet of commercial space — Carlins is hoping for a restaurant — and 272 parking spaces below Wacker. Lakeshore East favors nautical themes, but the name of the building hasn’t been decided, Carlins said. Since it’s a rental, no name is needed until late in the marketing campaign.

SOUND AND FURY: And it signifies not too much. That’s the bottom line in the announcement that Wells Fargo & Co. is leasing 300,000 square feet at 10 S. Wacker, one of the two towers that constitute the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Center. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., which brokered the lease for Wells Fargo, said it is the largest relocation downtown since 2009.

However, it won’t mean much of a net gain for the downtown office market. Wells Fargo is centralizing its wholesale banking and wealth management operations, which are currently in 264,000 square feet spread across five buildings.

While 10 S. Wacker benefits, other buildings that house Wells Fargo will have space to fill.

It signed a 17-year lease with an option for 10 more years and the move will occur in phases starting in November, when the bank vacates space at 123 N. Wacker. The biggest phase will come in the third quarter of 2013 and the last of about 700 employees here will relocate by mid-2016.

The deal promises signage and “visibility” in the form of a Wells Fargo stagecoach eventually going on display. But the lease does not include a bank branch.

MORE ON WACKER: A smaller lease deal actually poses better news for the downtown market. University HealthSystem Consortium will bring about 250 workers downtown in June when its leaves longtime space at 2001 Spring Road, Oak Brook. The organization of university hospitals is taking top-floor space at John Buck Cos.’s 155 N. Wacker. It’s part of a trend in which employers are favoring downtown over the suburbs. The work force likes the public transportation, while the bosses like that they get more diversity in recruits.

ACCOLADE LADLE: Keith Lord, president of Chicago’s Lord Cos. LLC, has been named president of the 600-member Retail Brokers Network for 2011-13.

DOING THE DEALS: Venture One Real Estate LLC said it closed on the purchase of a vacant 26,000-square foot building at 1225 Pratt Blvd. in Elk Grove Village’s Centex Industrial Park. CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has been appointed to market the site for sale or lease. The price was not disclosed. … Floor & Décor Outlets of America, an Atlanta-based chain, leased 87,000 square feet at the Landings of Lombard, I-355 and North Avenue in Lombard, for its Chicago-area location. Horizon Realty Services and Fitzgerald Real Estate were the brokers. … Marcus & Millichap said it brokered the $1.23 million sale of a 19-unit apartment building at 305 Pyott, Lake in the Hills.



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