The Office Road Less Traveled
Glenstar Properties and USAA Real Estate paid $145M for the Board of Trade last year, so we snagged Glenstar principal Michael Klein to tell us about it at our April 25 Chicago State of Office event next week. He's been busy at the 1.2M SF art deco property (just under 70% occupancy) with leasing and redevelopment (health club, conference center, new fiber backbone, etc.). Michael hopes to change the building's reputation as "traders only," setting his sights on the high-tech community. (Traders and hip tech employees sharing a building? We smell a sitcom.) Few people know that the property has more fiber providers than any building downtown, a fully redundant cooling system, and five different substations feeding it some serious power, he says.
Other projects: 55 E Monroe and Presidents Plaza at O'Hare, where Glenstar's leased 275k SF in the past two years. (He's mum on Continental Towers in Rolling Meadows.) Embracing a contrarian approach, Michael's bullish on the suburbs, citing a tight O'Hare market with few remaining blocks of space above 50k to 75k SF and 900k SF of positive absorption in the Northwest market in 2012. Maybe being a contrarian will make it easier to drive on the wrong side this summer in London, where Michael's family will celebrate he and his wife's 25th wedding anniversary, his 50th birthday, and his sons graduating high school and 8th grade (this sounds better than the Royal Wedding).