Tom’s Recommended Reading for the Week
Check out the top news in Chicago commercial real estate before heading into the weekend!
- Amid rising market, pile of bad real estate debt shrinks further – Special servicers — firms that get paid to work out bad real estate debt — have a lot more free time these days. The delinquency rate on Chicago-area commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans dipped below 5 percent in May and has stayed there, its lowest point since January 2010, according to Trepp LLC, a New York-based research firm. The rate was 4.9 percent in July, down from 7 percent a year earlier and a peak of 10.6 percent in January 2013… Crain’s Chicago
- After legal fight, Des Plaines office building sells for huge discount – A Chicago investor bought a nearly half-empty foreclosed office building near O’Hare International Airport for $6.2 million, less than a third of what the lender was owed on it. The sale of the 244,049-square-foot building at 1350 E. Touhy Ave. ends a troubled chapter that began in December 2009, when the property’s developer, Des Plaines-based MR Properties LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection... Crain’s Chicago
- Serial converter has no such plans for latest Loop office tower buy – Prices of the area’s biggest commercial properties keep rising, and so do their taxes. Property taxes rose at nine out of the 10 commercial properties in Cook County with the highest bills in 2013, according to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. That’s similar to the 2012 tax year, when tax bills also mostly rose for the area’s biggest landlords. Yet unlike 2012, when five of the most valuable commercial properties here were hit with double-digit tax increases, increases in the past year were more modest, perhaps reflecting a cooling real estate market that was red-hot throughout 2012 and into 2013… Crain’s Chicago
- Office space, the final frontier – When Montgomery Ward & Co. opened its massive Catalog House along the Chicago River in 1908, it was at the cutting edge of commerce, with “pickers” on roller skates zipping through the halls to gather merchandise ordered from the retailer’s catalogs.
More than a century later, the behemoth at 600 W. Chicago Ave. is once again a pathbreaking address in Chicago commerce. Every day, hundreds of employees bicycle to work at Groupon Inc., where they sell all manner of products and services via the Internet. It’s just one sign of how the city’s burgeoning tech sector is radically transforming the largest downtown office market west of Manhattan… Crain’s Chicago
- Zell Tackles Overhaul at Equity Commonwealth: Real Estate – Since taking over Equity Commonwealth in an investor-led revolt almost three months ago, Sam Zell and his team have found buyers for more than $200 million of properties, sold shares in a former unit and moved the company’s headquarters. Now they face a bigger challenge. Zell and one of his longtime deputies, David Helfand, must remake the Chicago-based office landlord after an ouster of top executives based on claims of mismanagement and a misdirected strategy. They’re in charge of a disparate group of more than 100 properties in U.S. suburbs and markets where rent growth is slower than in big cities such as… Bloomberg