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Related Midwest Changes Course On Fulton Market Project, Plans New Office Tower Instead

Related Midwest is making a 180-degree flip on its plans in Chicago's Fulton Market District.

The real estate developer is changing course on creating an apartment and hotel complex and will instead seek permission for a 41-story, 1M SF office tower at 725 West Randolph St., Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

View of Chicago's Fulton Market

Related Midwest is scheduled to bring its proposal to the Chicago Planning and Development Department's Committee on Design next week. The developer will need the city council's Zoning Committee and full council approval before moving forward on the project, which is estimated to take three years, Crain’s reports.

Chicago's council originally approved Related’s mixed-use plans for the site in 2020. That project included 370 apartments, office spaces and an Equinox Hotel and Club.

The new proposal includes 931K SF of offices, a 17K SF restaurant, a two-story Equinox Fitness Club and Spa, private terraces and loggias, plus 11.5K SF of public open space.

With Chicago sitting as one of the top three metros in the country with the lowest occupancy rates, according to JLL, the move to build an office tower might seem risky to some, but the company is betting on the hot office market in Fulton Market District, where several companies relocated in 2022.

Per Crain's, Related has yet to secure an anchor tenant, though some are speculating the firm hopes to lure JPMorgan Chase, which has spent several years exploring options to relocate from its 10 South Dearborn St. office in the Loop.

Related Midwest CEO Curt Bailey said the change of plans made sense given the location, proximity to the Kennedy Expressway and West Loop train, and an ongoing flight to newer and better buildings as companies go all out to entice workers into the office.

"We really sat back after COVID and said, 'What really is the best use of this site?' . . .I think we and our partners on this and the experts on the leasing side in the office space said this is the best office site in Chicago," Bailey told Crain's, adding there is a vanishingly small amount of super premium office space on the market.