ULI Chicago News

Railyard to Redevelopment: 150 North Riverside

A group of 30 ULI Chicago young leaders gathered on February 16th to listen to triumphs and lessons learned from John O’Donnell and Tony Scacco of Riverside Investment & Development Company, the leader behind the 150 North Riverside project.  The 54-story Class A office building is exceptionally located on the west bank of the Chicago River at Lake Street.  The transit oriented development is centrally located just blocks from Metra, Amtrak, and CTA train and bus stops.

The building, which should be substantially completed this December, will sit on a 2 acre site stacked above Amtrak rail and below grade parking surrounded by 1.5 acres of park space.  The five year project has involved lengthy entitlement processes, numerous plans, and negotiations with the City of Chicago and Amtrak. It was ultimately approved because of future amenities and the projected surge in City property tax revenue.

A unique supporter of the project has been the residential building on the western side of the property (161 North Canal).  The City’s only residential letter of support for an adjacent commercial building was submitted after residents realized their pending property value growth and the project’s discreet light capacity construction techniques, despite the fact that 150 North Riverside will block riverfront views.

O’Donnell explained how leasing has exceeded expectations ten months prior to opening, “Our goal was to have 80% leased at completion and we’re already at 82%.  We should be at 85% in a couple of months.”  This is particularly impressive given the challenges of leasing new office space, due in part to employees occupying less square footage.  Technical amenities projecting needs 10 years out, such as the most advanced elevator system in the world, fiber optic cables, and an antenna system allowing for reliable cellular service, are credited for the high occupancy.

Building amenities were developed to appeal to millennial professionals including fine dining, conference spaces, a coffee shop, gym and a one of a kind art installation.  Riverside Investment & Development has engaged with local artists and organizations throughout the City to create a cultural landmark.  The 100 foot tall glass lobby will be the backdrop to a high definition light installation featuring dazzling skyline and abstract images.  The non-commercial images can be customized with non-repeating ambient features keeping arrangements fresh and lively.  Scacco explained that “it helps achieve our goal of future forward … this field of art is the convergence between technology and design.”  It seems that 150 North Riverside is set to become a professional and cultural destination for the City of Chicago.

This development spotlight was part of the ongoing ULI Chicago Young Leader Brown Bag Lunch series; informal, one-hour sessions hosted at various locations with guest speakers, development spotlights, or informal real estate discussions on topics of interest.  These lunches are free of charge, but sell-out quickly.  Watch for more Brown Bag dates coming soon!

Authored by Brittany Bagent, Teska Associates, Inc.

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