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Loan Trouble Looms Large Over 2 Loop Office Towers

Despite speculation of a Google-inspired revival, the Loop continues to show signs of struggling, with two LaSalle Street offices in danger of defaulting on their loans.

One North LaSalle

A $105M loan tied to 10 South LaSalle Street was transferred to a special servicer in a sign that property owners could default on the debt if terms aren't restructured. The owner is The Feil Organization.

The other property, historic 47-story office building One North LaSalle, which sits kitty-corner from 10 South LaSalle, has an $84.5M loan that was transferred to a special servicer last month "due to imminent payment default," according to Bloomberg data tied to the CMBS loan, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. A venture of Utah-based Bridge Investment Group owns One North LaSalle.

Bloomberg loan data reveals that neither owner has stopped making payments on its mortgage, but both have seen their occupancy drop over the past few years.

Bridge CEO of Commercial Real Estate Jeff Shaw said in a statement that the firm remains committed to the investment of One North LaSalle, and “external market forces sparked by the pandemic have resulted in similar scenarios playing out at other office buildings across the Loop and central business district.” 

He said these short-term challenges will require office owners and lenders to work together and think outside the box as the market adjusts.

One North LaSalle was 61% leased at the end of March, down from 76% at the beginning of the year. The building’s cash flow was slightly higher than Bridge’s debt service, according to loan data reported by Crain’s Chicago Business. The loan is set to mature Oct. 1, requiring Bridge to act quickly to make a deal with special servicer KeyBank to extend it. 

Planned renovations of $7.8M and $4.6M for future leasing commissions and tenant office build-outs were in the works for Bridge.

Meanwhile, conversations with the lender are taking place regarding 10 South LaSalle, according to Feil Executive Vice President Brian Feil. The property, a 37-story office building that is 73% occupied, has a net income no longer covering the owner’s debt service, causing the loan to be transferred to special servicer Rialto Capital.

Feil is trying to come back from losing its long-term lease for more than 100K SF with Northern Trust, which left for 333 South Wabash Ave. to consolidate its downtown offices.

"We're talking to the lender and trying to work something out," Feil told Crain’s Chicago Business.

These issues run deep for the downtown area, which has struggled long-term with record-high vacancy rates and shrinking office demand exacerbated by the pandemic. Office buildings at 115 and 135 South LaSalle St., 175 West Jackson Blvd. and the Civic Opera Building have all come under loan distress.