JV Buys Office Building in Chicago’s West Loop

A joint venture has purchased 230 W. Monroe, a building in Chicago's popular West Loop area. The building is the second of two similar Class B buildings to have been sold by the General Electric Pension Trust affiliate.

A joint venture consisting of Lincoln Property Co., of Dallas, and an investment fund has purchased 230 West Monroe, a 29-story, 623,500-square-foot office building in Chicago’s West Loop area, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, which represented the seller, announced late last week.

The closing took place on Aug. 10, HFF senior managing director Jaime F. Fink told Commercial Property Executive. The sale price was not disclosed.

The seller, according to the announcement, was “a national private investment group.” The building’s website states that its owner is “an affiliate of the General Electric Pension Trust, advised by GE Asset Management.” The building is leased and managed by MB Real Estate, Chicago.

Located at the northeast corner of Monroe and Franklin streets, the building was designed by Perkins & Will in the International Style and completed in 1971. The edifice is currently 89 percent leased to tenants in the financial services, education, engineering, insurance, legal and real estate industries. The property reportedly underwent lobby renovation, retail expansion and elevator modernization in 2003.

Among the building’s strengths, according to John Grissim, senior executive vice president at Lincoln Property Co., are its location (barely a block from the famous Loop formed by the Chicago Transit Authority’s elevated tracks), “its diversified rent roll and near-term opportunity to lease more than 100,000 square feet of full floor high-rise space.”

The building is the second of two similar, adjacent Class B buildings to have been recently sold by the General Electric Pension Trust affiliate. Last week, CPE reported on the sale of 200 West Monroe to a JV consisting of Lubert-Adler, Philadelphia, and The Farbman Group, Detroit, for $75 million.

In both cases, the HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing directors Jeff Bramson and Jaime Fink and director Mark Katz.

The Class B office market in Chicago’s West Loop submarket, according to a second-quarter report from Transwestern, totals 15.1 million square feet. The direct vacancy rate is 10.6 percent (11.3 percent counting sublease space), down substantially from the 2010 figure of 14.4 percent.

Year-to-date net absorption is 54,000 square feet, compared with negative absorption of 211,000 and 286,000 square feet in 2009 and 2010, respectively.