Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Converting office buildings to condos

This is a trend we'll see even more of as additional office space comes online and older space becomes functionally obsolete or just can't be leased. Perhaps my favorite project in Chicago is 55 E. Monroe, because people I know of (Walton Street Capital and Glenstar Properties) are doing it and because I used to work at the building. The syndicated construction and mezz loans (still making this a highly leveraged deal) have closed and I gather the conversion should start soon.

Only the higher, view-protected floors are being converted, and again, while there is a glut of condos on the market, this building screams location location location. If you have anything but the purest west view, the scenery is spectacular, and, because of where the building is, that view is going nowhere. And the area itself, right off Michigan near Millennium Park, is hot.

I will be interested to see how they handle the ~45,000 sf floorplates with condos and the interesting shape of the building. It ought to be nice.