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Sterling Bay's Masterpiece


Michaelangelo had the Sistine Chapel and Sterling Bay has the West Side. The firm’s movements are analyzed almost as much as Michelle Obama’s bangs as it singlehandedly sculpts Chicago’s hottest new ‘hood.


"They see this neighborhood as a unique opportunity, an extension of the West Loop with its own flavor and personality," says George Kohl, whom Sterling Bay just tapped as COO to fortify its operations. (The BOMA/Chicago prez, center, was snapped at the International TOBY Awards in San Diego with Lincoln Property's Robert Quast and Behringer Harvard's Michael Reilly.) The company has a full court press in the West Loop and meatpacking district; its greatest hits already include the acquisition and repositioning of 111 N Canal, where Gogo will lease 230k SF, and the acquisition and redevelopment of former cold storage facility 1KFulton (1000 Fulton St), with more than 380k SF already leased to tenants including Google.


Here's Hillshire Brands' HQ at 400 S Jefferson St, which Sterling Bay redeveloped then sold to Cole Real Estate Investments for $97.5M. The stars don't align to transform a new emerging submarket often, George says, and he likens this moment in time to what happened in River North years ago. Sterling Bay's secret: seeing value in a way others haven't, creating a strong brand with the buildings they acquire, and renovating in a way that's in sync with what forward-thinking companies are looking for, George tells us. Before joining Sterling Bay, the 25-year industry vet held leadership positions at Equity Office, Trammell Crow, and most recently CBRE. Over the holidays, he's off to Colorado with the family for some skiing.