ALTA OPENS NEXT WEEK
Fifield Cos' Steve Fifield (back for an encore after yesterday'sBisnow) tells us his Alta at K Station, the largest new apartment development in Chicago in more than a decade, is opening next week. He believes apartments are “first to fall and first to recover,” while offices are “last to fall, last to recover.” That’s why he pushed forth with the 848-unit, two-building, LEED-Silver project. Fifield also recently raised a $600M apartment acquisition fund, which Steve plans to use to buy about 5,000 value-add units throughout the US. Fun fact: Steve was the first MBA to work for Urban Investments in the 1970s, where he helped develop Water Tower Place and Hawthorne Mall. Steve joined up with Chuck Palmer in the 1970s and brought office development west from the train stations into the now-bustling west Loop in the 1990s.
Steve says one key to his success is doing what no one else is yet. However, this is just a model of West Loop and not Steve endorsing 1-SF buildings just to be different. It includes the buildings he's developed at K Station and in locations like 550 W. Adams, where his offices are, and 180 N. Jefferson. He's also developed the Quaker Oats building and 550 W. Washington, and owns a site on Monroe Streetready for two office buildings once demand picks up. Steve says the West Loop was ideal for smaller companies who didn't need to pay the rent for a more prestigious address. It's been three years since he's developed a new office, but he anticipates many companies will come out of the recession with more space than they need, so demand won't pick up until well into 2011 or 2012.
Twenty-three leases have been signed so far at Alta (555 W. Kinzie), and the building includes the first indoor full-size basketball court in a Chicago apartment. The eighth floor amenity area connecting Alta's two towers also houses this cyber cafe, high-tech gym equipment, a 22-seat private theater, business center, and outdoor pool. Units start at $1,200 a month for a studio, but Fifield is offering two months free rent to the first lease signers.