Ground Breaks on 1.4 MSF Chicago Office Tower

Howard Hughes Corp. and Riverside Investment & Development Co. have already signed Bank of America to a 500,000-square-foot lease at 110 North Wacker, scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Downtown Chicago will soon get a new trophy office tower now that The Howard Hughes Corp. and Riverside Investment & Development Co. have broken ground on 110 North Wacker. The 1.4 million-square-foot project will cost $760.7 million to complete, as noted in an SEC document recently filed by HHC.

Designed by Goettsch Partners, the 55-story office high-rise at 110 N. Wacker Drive—in the coveted West Loop submarket—will stand along the Chicago River on a highly desirable one-acre parcel that had been home to a 1950s-era office building occupied by real estate company GGP.

“This site has been sought after and often considered the best remaining development site in the city for a long time,” Paul Layne, president of the Central Region for The Howard Hughes Corp., told Commercial Property Executive. “We recently unlocked the site for a new development, after successfully consolidating fee simple ownership.”

In 2017, acting as leasing agent for 110 North Wacker, CBRE helped HHC land a commitment from Bank of America, signing the company to a 15-year lease for 533,200 square feet, or roughly 30 percent of the planned office space. “With the lease in the old building approaching expiration and the new anchor lease signed with Bank of America, along with continued strong occupancy for trophy-class buildings in Chicago, the time was right to launch. The continued strong interest from prospective tenants reinforces our decision,” Layne added.

Trophy space wanted

The courting of tenants continues, with CBRE’s Drew Nieman and Sara Spicklemire, executive vice president and senior vice president, respectively, spearheading the leasing effort. Lincoln International has also staked a claim to space at the LEED Gold-certified project, having signed a lease for 60,000 square feet. The development team is optimistic about adding more names to the roster. The property, CBRE contends, is tailor-made to allow employers to give employees what they want in a work environment.

This new design, along with a dramatic increase in the light and air by being on the River’s Edge, as well as enjoying a robust offering of building amenities, all lead to better recruiting and retention of employees,” Nieman told Commercial Property Executive. “In addition to efficiency and recruiting, proximity to transportation and a more robust technical infrastructure round out the top demand drivers.”

HHC and Riverside are joined on the 110 North Wacker project by Clark Construction, which is serving as general contractor under a $330 million contract. A $495 million construction loan from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase is also in place, as is a $169.6 million equity investment from USAA Real Estate.

“When you combine the B of A commitment with zoning approval, a financial loan and construction commencement, you become real! Real is important to prospective tenants,” Nieman continued. “The prospective tenant interest in 110 North Wacker is way ahead of schedule for a building delivering in October of 2020.”

Images courtesy of The Howard Hughes Corp.