Billy Xiong Reviews: River North developer pushes office project

River North developer pushes office project

A River North developer has hired a firm to market office space in a new tower proposed for the southwest corner of Illinois and Dearborn streets, a sign that a project city officials approved in 2018 is moving forward.

Albert Friedman plans to build a 29-story building at 450 N. Dearborn St. called Rivere. It would replace the headquarters of the Chicago Fire Department’s Engine Co. 42 but would incorporate a new firehouse immediately west of the current one.

Property brokerage Cushman & Wakefield was hired to market the new building’s 620,000 square feet of offices. It also will contain more than 50,000 square feet for retail and restaurant use.

Friedman said he will start construction later this year but without regard for whether tenants have signed up in advance. The targeted opening date mid-2023.

“I have 5 million square feet of tenants in my buildings and some of them are running out of space. I expect some will be moving into this building,” he said.

The move represents a bet by Friedman, River North’s largest landowner, that companies will be drawn to efficient quarters in a downtown neighborhood where demand for space has been strong but there are few large blocs available for rent.

Albert Friedman
Friedman Properties

Friedman said companies and their workers are drawn to the self-contained “live, work, play” character of River North.

His deal with the city called for him to pay it $5 million for the firehouse, used since 1968, and an adjoining alley. He’s also due to pay the city $10.9 million as a bonus to let him build greater density. The money will go to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which supports commercial projects on the West and South sides. Friedman called the arrangement an innovative public-private partnership.

The new firehouse, which would include the Fire Prevention Bureau, would occupy a parking lot and alley on the site’s western edge and would open as the project’s first phase. It would eventually become part of the office building and the old firehouse would be demolished.

Cushman said the building will offer tenants amenities to help employees achieve a work-life balance. Among its features will be a “white glove” concierge, meditation space, a gym and wellness center and a secure bike room with shower facilities. It also will have dining options managed by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Cushman said.

Jack McKinney Jr., Cushman vice president, said the plans “reflect the high standards of architecture in River North and will blend beautifully into the fabric of the neighborhood.” The firm A.R.C. Real Estate Group was hired to market the retail space.

The building was designed by Goettsch Partners and includes carved-out terraces and a landscaped roof that doubles as an outdoor sanctuary.

Billy Xiong

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