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Troubled Office Building Near Millennium Park May Have New Life

The Pittsfield Building, Chicago
The Pittsfield Building, 55 East Washington, Chicago

The Pittsfield Building has fallen on hard times in recent years, but a document filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court indicates there may be a new life for the 90-year-old building. Akara Partners agreed to buy 30 of the Pittsfield's 40 floors for $16M, which could pave the way to redeveloping those floors into apartments, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

The Pittsfield Building was built in 1927 by heirs of Marshall Field, but attempts to sell the property stalled the past couple of years amid legal battles. Morgan Reed Group had a deal in place to sell the space to developer Adam David Lynd in November 2015, but Lynd filed a lawsuit that alleged Morgan Reed misled him into believing the city was OK with him converting the floors into a hotel. Lynd also had a deal to buy the remaining floors, which are used as student housing, from Alter. Lynd sued Alter, accusing Alter of overstating the footprint of its ownership stake.

Morgan Reed tried and failed to sell its stake at auction last month, then sued the city alleging that the building was illegally downzoned in March 2016 to prevent it from being converted to a hotel. Finally, Morgan Reed filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 26, which gave the firm the time it needed to strike the deal with Akara.

Akara has been busy along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor and delivered Kenect in River West last autumn. If approved, the purchase price would cover $8.2M in secured debt owed by Morgan Reed on the building and overdue property taxes.