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Owners Of Chicago Board Of Trade Building Walk Away As Distress Takes Highest-Profile Victim To Date

The 93-year-old building that includes one of the world's oldest futures and options exchanges has fallen into the hands of its lenders.

Chicago-based Glenstar Properties and partner Oaktree Capital Management relinquished control of the 44-story Chicago Board of Trade Building in late December, handing over the keys to Apollo Capital Management and its Athene fund rather than facing a likely foreclosure lawsuit, CoStar reports.

The Chicago Board of Trade Building

Glenstar and Oaktree were at risk of defaulting on their $256M mortgage, which was issued in 2020 and included a $198M senior loan from Athene, which merged with Apollo last year, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, citing Cook Country records. Glenstar and Oaktree’s move completed a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure transaction, wiping out any equity held in the property by either entity, Crain’s reported.

Per CoStar, Apollo has hired Chicago developer R2 to revamp and revitalize the 141 West Jackson Blvd. tower, the highest-profile victim of distress that hit the city in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — though far from the only one. The handover comes amid a citywide initiative to transform neighboring LaSalle Street — home to more than 5M SF of vacant commercial space, most of it offices — into a thriving corridor of residential life.

R2 CEO Matt Garrison in an email to CoStar called the initiative a “huge positive” for the redevelopment of the area and the 1.4M SF Chicago Board of Trade property, adding R2 plans to seek new office tenants and explore other uses for the building on behalf of Apollo, which picked up the Athene fund for $11B in 2021.

The iconic building stands at the foot of the LaSalle Street canyon and was built in 1930 for the Chicago Board of Trade. It served as its primary trading venue until 2007, when CBOT merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. CBOT has been located at the site since 1885, and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

The building is 82% leased, the Real Deal reported, slightly above average for downtown office buildings. Its largest tenant is CME Group, which signed a 15-year lease in 2012 for 148K SF, according to the outlet.