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Loop Office Tower Hits Market In First Test Of Potential Google-Inspired Revival

Veteran developer John Buck has hired JLL to market the sale of a 38-story art deco office tower at 33 North LaSalle St., the first test of what building owners hope will be a Google halo.

The move follows Google’s July 27 announcement that it plans to buy the James R. Thompson Center and comes amid high hopes the tech giant's presence in the Loop will revive the downtown corridor as it grapples with high vacancy and the loss of companies to the West Loop and Fulton Market District.

33 North LaSalle St.

While no price tag has been made public for the 403K SF building about a block away from the Thompson Center, the once-distressed property was 43% vacant when a Buck venture purchased it in 2014 for $32.8M. 

Cook County property records reveal Buck refinanced the property in 2017 with a $58.4M mortgage following renovations and new leases, according to reporting from Crain’s Chicago Business

Attempting to sell the vintage building won't happen without risk, though. 

There is a chance the property may not be bid on at a higher price than its debt, making the building, which is now 75% leased, worth less than the loan tied to it, Crain's reported. It is unclear when the mortgage is due to mature. 

Comparable office buildings transactions in the past year have gone for close to debt, Crain's reported. Those include a 28-story office building at 225 West Washington St., purchased for $83M and just two blocks west of Buck's building, and 100 North LaSalle St., which sold for $100 per SF last fall.

Both sales occurred before Google appeared on the scene.

The largest tenant at 33 North LaSalle St. is coworking provider CommonGrounds Workplace, which occupies just under 31K SF.