Chicago’s Congress Center on Block

Several programs sponsored by the former Triple Net Properties, now known as Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors L.L.C., have put the Class A, 523,000-square-foot Congress Center in Chicago up for sale. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. will be handling the marketing.A source familiar with the building told CPN that Triple Net is its first owner, having bought the building for $136 million in January 2003 from Development Resources Inc. shortly after it was completed. The 16-story building is being sold subject to existing financing. Congress Center (pictured), at 525 W. Van Buren St., has 16 stories of office space and is approximately 79 percent leased to tenants including the U.S. federal government, Akzo Nobel Inc., North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, and Amtrak.In a prepared statement, HFF managing director Jaime Fink said, “Congress Center offers excellent credit tenancy coupled with tremendous upside potential through the lease-up of vacant space, which includes two full-floor availabilities.” Those two floors, which are contiguous, are about 33,000 square feet each.A Cushman & Wakefield Inc. report on Chicago’s West Loop submarket notes that the 2007 EOY vacancy rate was 11.3 percent, which was the lowest it had been since 2000. Average asking rents were $34.08, compared to $31.64 in 2006. In 2007, the submarket experienced nearly 2.7 million square feet of leasing activity, on a base inventory of just over 33 million square feet. with net absorption being 463,000 square feet.