601W Cos. Buys Chicago’s Sullivan Center Office Space for $176M

JLL’s Capital Markets group handled the sale and arranged acquisition financing for the New York City-based company, which purchased the property from a joint venture of KKR and Madison Capital.
Sullivan Center
Sullivan Center in Chicago

The 601W Cos., a New York-based private real estate investment and development firm, has expanded its Chicago holdings with the acquisition of the historic Sullivan Center’s 833,000-square-foot office component for $176 million from a joint venture of KKR and Madison Capital.

JLL’s Capital Markets group, led by International Director Bruce Miller and Managing Director Nooshin Felsenthal led the sale process. Managing Director Keith Largay handled the financing for the buyer from Brookfield Asset Management.

Bruce Miller, JLL International Director
Bruce Miller, JLL International Director

“This asset received significant investor interest because of its excellent location, strong tenant base and the fact that it is one of the few larger floor plate buildings catering to the progressive tenants driving demand in this market,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “At nearly full occupancy, it is clearly the type of property that tenants covet.”

Largay described the transaction as “a competitive lending opportunity backed by an experienced sponsor and high-quality asset.”

“We continue to find very aggressive capital in the debt markets for transactions of this caliber,” he added in prepared remarks.

Historic past, new uses

KKR and Madison Capital, both based out of New York City, had owned the iconic building since April 2016. The site, location of the former Carson Pirie Scott department store built in 1899, encompasses almost a full city block in Chicago’s Loop and is bounded by State, Madison and Monroe streets and Wabash Avenue. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1970, its upper floors were converted to office space in the early 2000s. The property is currently 97 percent leased.

Nooshin Felsenthal, JLL Managing Director
Nooshin Felsenthal, JLL Managing Director

“As rents for high-quality creative office space have accelerated, investors recognize that Sullivan Center also represented an excellent opportunity to increase rental income significantly over time,” Felsenthal said in a prepared statement.

The sale did not include the retail space, which comprises a 124,000-square-foot Target store. The former owners previously sold the Sullivan Center’s 176,000 square feet of retail space—the two lower floors and basement level—to Arcadia Realty Trust in a separate $147 million transaction in August 2016.

Keith Largay, JLL Managing Director
Keith Largay, JLL Managing Director

Between 2001 and 2012, Sullivan Center underwent more than $200 million in renovations to restore its historical features and modernize its mechanical systems. It’s known for its high lofted ceilings and large floor plates ranging from than 100,000 square feet on the lower levels to between 22,000 and 79,000 square feet on the upper levels.

The Sullivan Center’s location on State Street provides tenant access to all seven CTA El lines, CTA bus service and a short walk to Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center. It is near attractions including The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium and Grant parks and the State Street retail corridor.

601W’s Chicago portfolio

601W owns several properties in Chicago, including the Aon Center, the 83-story office skyscraper at 200 E. Randolph St. in The Loop, which this week announced Kemper Corp. will be taking 65,000 square feet on the 32nd and 33rd floors of the iconic property. Other 601W Chicago assets include 550 W. Jackson Ave., 600 W. Chicago Ave. and 180 North LaSalle St. The firm is also redeveloping the Old Main Post Office building along the Chicago River as part of a $600 million mixed-use project featuring offices, restaurants, retail and entertainment space. 601W is also in the process of selling the Prudential Plaza office complex, located next to the Aon Center, to Sterling Bay, a Chicago development firm, for about $680 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. 601W was part of an investment group that acquired the controlling interest in the 2.2 million-square-foot Class A office towers in Chicago‘s East Loop in June 2003.

Images courtesy of JLL