Chicago “Building of the Year” Commands $468M

Beacon Capital Partners has acquired the 52-story AMA Plaza with the help of HFF.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

AMA Plaza, Chicago
AMA Plaza, Chicago

Chicago—An affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners LLC has acquired AMA Plaza, a 1.14 million-square-foot office building in downtown Chicago, from a joint venture between Riverview Realty Partners and Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, for $467.5 million.

“We have a value-add orientation with respect to investment returns we’re trying to achieve and we felt the value creation had been accomplished through the redevelopment and lease-up of the building,” Jeffrey Patterson, Riverview Realty Partners president & CEO, told Commercial Property Executive. “We had also done an interim financing along the way, which enhanced the returns and we felt we had maximized the return on the asset.”

In June, the 52-story building was awarded The Outstanding Building of the Year Award (TOBY) in the Over One Million Square Foot category at the Building Owners and Managers Association International annual conference.

Located at 330 N. Wabash Ave., AMA Plaza was designed by noted architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and originally completed in 1971. It was designated with landmark status by the city of Chicago and placed on The National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 2008.

“One of the reasons it was appealing is it’s a pretty architecturally significant building; it was Mies van der Rohe’s last American office building,” Patterson said. “It was also the youngest building to ever be landmarked in the city of Chicago.”

The joint venture acquired the property in 2010, and it was only 39 percent occupied at the time. Thanks to a major renovation and repositioning effort, the building now is 96 percent leased, with a tenant roster that includes The American Medical Association, the international law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP, SmithBucklin Corp., BDO USA LLP and Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP.

“We like to say we created a new building within a building,” Patterson said. “We modernized all the elevators, we upgraded the HVAC system, we alleviated asbestos, which was in the building and upgraded all the restrooms. All the office floors became state-of-the art and as a result, we were able to compete with new buildings.”

The renovations also included the addition of a 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness center, a food service cafe and a conference center.

The Building obtained LEED Gold status in 2015 from the U.S. Green Building Council and is one of the few buildings of its age and size to obtain LEED Gold status.

The acquisition also included the leasehold interest in the adjacent 12-story public parking garage located at 401 N. State St., which contains approximately 900 parking spaces.

HFF acted as the seller’s broker for the transaction and also assisted the buyer with its financing. The HFF sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing directors Jaime Fink and Jeff Bramson, and also included Associate Director Patrick Shields.

AMA Plaza also includes a five-star Langham Chicago Hotel, owned and operated by affiliates of The Langham Hospitality Group. The Hotel is separately owned and was not included in the sale to Beacon Capital Partners.