ChicagoismynewBlog

Archive for the ‘Construction’ Category

Three years behind schedule, Green Exchange close to signing a major tenant.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on July 30, 2010

Have you noticed that hulking, huge, vacant, massive, old, other adjective warehouse that backs against the Metra tracks, I90, and Diversey?  Well that’s the Green Exchange, located at 2545 W. Diversey Pkwy.

Originally planned as loft condos, the neighborhood had major issues with the plans so the development was halted.  Does anyone know why there was an issue with an old delapidated lamp factory being turned into nice, new condos?  Now being advertised as the nation’s biggest showcase for environmentally friendly businesses, it’s been quite the elephant in the room for the neighborhood because the Green Exchange is three years behind schedule.

The developers are currently in talks to land a major lease with Coyote Logistics LLC which will take 18-31% of the 227,450 square feet of available space making the building over 70% leased.  Some would say Coyote Logistics isn’t much of a green buiness but Coyote is a trucking company that works to minimize the number of trucks traveling empty, which in turn reduces energy consumption and emissions.

Check out the full Crain’s Chicago Business article AND video HERE!

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Alinea creators coming to Fulton Market with Next Restaurant and The Aviary!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on July 29, 2010

Brought to me by the weekly Fulton River District Association bulletin, the creators of the world-famous restaurant, Alinea, are making their presence known in the Fulton Market.  Currently under construction, two new businesses are taking shape at 953-955 W. Fulton Market.  

Next Restaurant will explore world cuisine and instead of taking reservations, your booking will be made more like a theater or a sporting event where your tickets will be fully inclusive of all charges, including dining service.  Obviously, ticket prices will depend on the time and day of your visit. 

The Aviary won’t technically be defined as a bar or a lounge, really.  They’ll have chefs producing the drinks so not only will they have the classic cocktails, but you can bet they’ll have some amazing and beautiful cocktails to compliment the menu at Next Restaurant

Both Next Restaurant and The Aviary are slated to open later this year. 

Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea and one of his food creations.

Posted in Construction, Food, Fulton River District, Restaurant | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

River North’s Staybridge Suites in another legal battle as foreclosure looms.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on May 24, 2010

Take a look at Crain’s Chicago Business’ article about our poor Staybridge Suites hotel that has sat as an empty 16 story shell for nearly two years.  Wow, time flies.

Investors battle lender on stalled Miglin hotel

127 W. Huron. Photo from CoStar Group Inc.
By: Alby Gallun May 19, 2010

(Crain’s) — Chicago developer Duke Miglin and an Irish group he recruited to invest in his stalled River North hotel project are striking back at the lender trying to foreclose on the property, now just a 16-story concrete shell draped in canvas.

Mr. Miglin and his prospective partner allege that the lender, CapitalSource Finance LLC, reneged on an agreement to recapitalize and restart the planned Staybridge Suites hotel at 127 W. Huron St., which has been idle for nearly two years.

A venture financed by the Irish investors filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month to force CapitalSource to return a $1-million deposit from the venture that would have gone toward the aborted recapitalization.

It is the latest salvo in the dispute over the failed 216-room hotel development, which was launched at the peak of the hotel boom but is now just another symbol of the bust. CapitalSource, which provided a $43.1-million construction loan for the project, filed a foreclosure suit in October 2008 alleging that a venture led by Mr. Miglin failed to put up an additional $5.9 million to finance the hotel as required under the loan agreement….

Click HERE to look at the full Crain’s Chicago Business article.

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Construction photo of the West Loop’s newest park!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on April 23, 2010

This photo, taken from the roof of 901 W. Madison, shows that the parking being built in the heart of the West Loop is definitely underway and looks like it won’t take to much time to be completed!  Replacing a run down and delapitated factory-type building and underused parking lot, this new park should definitely act as a focal point to the neighborhood and will definitely increase property values surrounding it.  I assume this will become part of the Chicago Park District when done?

The park is located on a full city block with Monroe Street to the North, Adams to the South, Sangamon to the West, and Peoria to the East.

 

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New Retail Space at Presidential Towers Taking Shape!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on April 2, 2010

No photos yet, but from driving by on Jefferson and Monroe Streets, you can definitely tell construction is fully under way for the new retail spaces at Presidential Towers.  You can even see a new addition on the roof of the parking area for what could be part of the new Fitness Formula Club (FFC)  gym. 

Has anyone walked/driven by there to see for themselves?

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Ritz-Carlton Residences on Michigan Avenue moving forward! Positive news for sure.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on January 1, 2010

Kuwaiti bank pegs Michigan Avenue condos at $242 million

By: Todd J. Behme Dec. 28, 2009

(Crain’s) — A Kuwaiti bank that has invested in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, a 40-story condominium tower under construction on Michigan Avenue, said Sunday that the project is worth $242 million.

Kuwait Finance House said in a release that it has a 95% stake in the project while Chicago-based Prism Development Co. owns the remaining 5% of the development at 664 N. Michigan Ave.

The investment is a pricey bet that the market for new luxury condos will rebound strongly by 2011, when the project is scheduled to be completed.

The $242 million refers to the gross sales proceeds from the 88 condo units, says Bruce R. Schultz, a principal with Prism. He estimates the cost of the project at $200 million. The development has a $137.5-million construction loan from the German financial institution known as Helaba.

Of the remaining capital in the deal, Kuwait Finance has put up 95%, which would be about $59 million. That includes a $40-million preferred-equity investment when the sale of the site closed last year.

After KFH and Prism each recoup their equity investments, they will split the projects’ profits 50-50, Mr. Schultz says.

The project is about 40% sold, roughly unchanged in more than two years.

But in a hopeful sign, two contracts have been signed in the past 30 days, Mr. Schultz says. The development is slated to be completed at the end of 2011, with the foundation to be complete by March 1.

“We’re moving forward,” Mr. Schultz says, adding that the project is “very fortunate” to have KFH and Helaba on board.

Despite the current slowdown in sales, the project could benefit next year from a pent-up demand for high-end condos, says Gail Spreen, president of residential brokerage Streeterville Properties.

Also, Ritz-Carlton Residences will face less competition than it might have because of cancelled projects, she says….

Check out the full Crain’s Chicago Business article by clicking HERE!

   

Posted in Construction, Michigan Avenue, News Articles, Streeterville | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Union funds meant to finance The Chicago Spire construction now kaput.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on December 29, 2009

From this week’s In Other News

Chicago Spire twists in wind as union funds pass on bailout loan

By: Eddie Baeb December 21, 2009

Officials at four big investment funds affiliated with labor unions say they’re not interested in rescuing the stalled Chicago Spire project.

Recent reports that Spire developer Garrett Kelleher and union officials are discussing a possible loan rekindled hope that work would resume on the twisting tower, which at 150 stories would be North America’s tallest building.

But two union funds identified by a local labor leader and a Spire spokeswoman as having expressed interest, the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust and the union-backed life insurer ULLICO Inc., are taking a pass, according to top executives there. Representatives of two others, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust and the Multi-Employer Property Trust, say the Spire isn’t a suitable investment for them.

“It’s not something we’re able to do,” says Edward Smith, president of ULLICO. “Unfortunately, these are just very difficult markets.”

Another union fund or group of funds still could step forward with a loan for the project. Mr. Kelleher also could secure funding from other sources. But the lack of interest from the four big funds narrows the Irish developer’s options as he seeks a financial lifeline for the Spire.

They’re among the largest funds of their kind, controlling about $13 billion in union pension funds and other assets. They also have a history of commercial real estate investing here and around the country, and an interest in backing projects that create jobs for union workers.

Worries about the prospects of the Spire in a moribund real estate market appear to have trumped their desire to help put union members back to work. The funds are no more eager than other real estate investors to risk money on a highly speculative project in the worst downturn in recent memory.

Mr. Kelleher seeks about $170 million in short-term financing to pay off existing debt and move the project forward. It would be a particularly risky loan because the most likely source of funds for repayment would be a construction loan for the $1-billion-plus project. Construction lenders typically advance funds only after a developer sells 50% of the units in a condominium project. After two years of worldwide marketing efforts, Mr. Kelleher has sold about 30% of the Spire’s 1,194 units.

In essence, Mr. Kelleher is asking the union funds to bet on his ability to sell condos in a stagnant downtown housing market, where mortgage and construction financing is hard to come by.

Michael Arnold, head of investor relations for the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust, says his fund can’t take that risk. “We would obviously like to be helpful,” he says. “We understand the interest, but we’re not any different than other real estate lenders today.”

Thomas Villanova, president of the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council, hopes union fund managers will consider not only financial risk but also the job-creating benefits of the project.

“This just can’t be looked at in a straight investment-type view. You’ve got to add into the equation this would be 7.5 million man-hours for my members,” Mr. Villanova says. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen times as bad as they are now.”

Mr. Villanova organized a meeting in the spring between Mr. Kelleher’s company, Shelbourne Development Group Inc., and representatives of the 24 local unions that comprise his group. He says some local union officials met with Shelbourne again, but he can’t recall which ones.

More recently, Mr. Villanova arranged a meeting on Nov. 30 between Shelbourne and Mark Ayers, a Washington, D.C.-based union leader who’s a board member with ULLICO and the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. Mr. Ayers didn’t return calls….

Check out the full Crain’s Chicago Business article by clicking HERE!

Photo courtesy of Crain’s Chicago Business

Posted in Buildings, Chicago Spire, Construction, News Articles, Streeterville | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Story of the 2009 Market. Lincoln Park 2520 Scaled Down by a Third.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on December 24, 2009

Proposed Lincoln Park condo project scaled down

By Thomas A. Corfman, July 22, 2009

(Crain’s) — Developers of a proposed luxury condominium complex overlooking Lincoln Park are slashing the number of units by nearly a third in a bid to break through the locked-up market for large construction loans.

Ricker-Murphy Development LLC told buyers last week that the number of units would be cut by a nearly a third, to 198 from the 292 previously proposed, in Lincoln Park 2520, a three-building complex proposed for the site of the demolished Columbus Hospital, 2520 N. Lakeview Ave.

As a result, developers plan to lop off eight stories from the tallest building, reducing the height to 33 stories from the 41 stories previously proposed.

“Our opportunity to reduce the scale we believe will actually make us more attractive for not only construction financing, but also more attractive for the buyers” who want a smaller project, says John Murphy, a co-principal in Ricker-Murphy, whose joint-venture partner is the General Electric Co. pension fund.

Although the building will be shorter, the changes would not affect the design by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange.

But even at a reduced size, the project would likely require a construction loan of more than $200 million to complete. As a result, the venture plans to start work without a loan on the foundation, which alone could take 12 months to finish. A smaller building still could be completed by late 2011, as required by the current contracts with homebuyers.

The shift in strategy comes as Ricker-Murphy faces an Aug. 15 maturity date on a $28.75-million loan on the site held by Bank of America, property records show. Mr. Murphy says talks are already under way for an extension of the loan.

B of A executives could not immediately be reached for comment, a spokeswoman says.

Ricker-Murphy and the GE pension fund are taking an aggressive approach to challenges facing many residential developers, who have instead opted to put their projects on hold.

“The cheapest thing to do is to sit and wait it out,” says developer Harry Huzenis, a principal in Chicago-based Jameson Development LLC. “The type of buyer they have will be there when the market is better.”

With asking prices of $885 a square foot, the project has not been immune from the broad downturn in the condo market, despite its premium location. Sales have stalled at about 50% of the units, a level that was once more than enough to obtain a construction loan. But lenders have become fearful of new condo projects because of deep concerns about weak demand and the glut of units already being built.

By reducing the number of units, the percentage of condos under contract would increase to 74%, from about 50%, assuming the number of buyers does not change, Mr. Murphy says. Reducing the number of units eliminates 29 condos that are already under contract, giving those buyers the chance to walk away and possibly washing out any advantage to the developers….

Check out the full ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com article by clicking HERE!

Old Lincoln Park 2520 Rendering.

Posted in Construction, Lincoln Park, News Articles, Proposed Developments | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

North/Clybourn Apple Store to be much like the Scottsdale, Arizona Apple Store.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on November 7, 2009

So word on the street is that the new Apple Store, located at North Avenue and Halsted Street, will look exactly like Apple’s Scottsdale, Arizona store.  After I heard this, I immediately Google’d to find the image and sure enough, it looks like it’s true.  You can already tell from the steel frame of Chicago’s Apple Store that, when finished, they will be the same.  Take a look.

applestore

If you’ve walked or driven by the new Apple Store, you’ll definitely notice a resemblence.  Too bad I don’t have a picture from here.

 

Posted in Buildings, Construction, Lincoln Park, Retail | Leave a Comment »

Block 37 stores to open by Thanksgiving. Good news for Chicago’s State Street!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on November 5, 2009

Block 37 signs 13 new tenants, plans to open by Thanksgiving

By Sandra M. Jones

Tribune staff reporter

3:41 p.m. CST, November 3, 2009

Joseph Freed and Associates LLC said it signed leases for 13 new tenants at Block 37, the embattled retail development that has been threatened with foreclosure.

The announcement of the new leases comes as developer Freed fights a move by lead lender Bank of America to put the retail and transit project at 108 N. State Street. into receivership less than a month before the mall’s first shops were set to open.

The new tenants — which include Sephora, Michelle Tan and Comic Vault — are a mix of chains and local shops aimed at satisfying the city’s redevelopment agreement to put unique retail in the famous city block.

Freed, which is contesting the foreclosure lawsuit, said it plans to open the mall by Thanksgiving and complete the project by the end of 2010, “assuming the bank cooperates on necessary funding.”

The banks filed a foreclosure suit last month, claiming that Freed essentially ran out of money to complete construction. .

Among the new tenants:

Sephora, the beauty chain owned by Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, will open a 6,000 square foot store on the first floor of the four-story indoor mall with access onto State Street.

L’Occitane en Provence, a body care products chain, will occupy 750 square feet on the first floor.

Michelle Tan, a local women’s clothing designer, agreed to lease 650 square feet on the second level….

 
Check out the full Chicago Tribune article by clicking HERE!  This is great news for the retailers getting ready for the Christmas shopping season and there’s even more information on the new stores going into Block 37 in the article!

Posted in Buildings, Construction, News Articles, Retail, The Loop | Leave a Comment »