Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicago Office Market Snapshot: Third Quarter 2009

CHICAGO, IL--The following summary is designed to provide a brief overview of the Chicago metro office market during the third quarter of 2009. For more information or to speak with one of the company’s local market experts, please contact Erin Mays at 312.698.6735 or via email at


· Nearly 1.3 million square feet of vacant space was added to the Chicagoland market during the third quarter, increasing the total negative net absorption to more than 3.3 million square feet year-to-date and contributing to the region’s 60-basis-point increase in vacancy to 19.6 percent.

· The area currently has more than 2.7 million square feet of new development under construction. However, much of it is the 1.1-million-square-foot 155 N. Wacker and the 1.2-million-square-foot 353 N. Clark in Chicago’s CBD, both delivering in the fourth quarter and both 80- to 85-percent leased.

· Average Class A asking rental rates for the region stayed flat at $29.80 per square foot from $29.79 per square foot in the second quarter.

· With commercial property values continuing to erode, CMBS and traditional bank loan maturities are expected to remain a major concern through 2012.

Analysis:  Most tenants are interested in evaluating their options while it is a tenant’s market. However, inability to make a long-term commitment has caused tenants to either put decisions on hold or sign short-term renewals in order to maintain maximum flexibility. Many well-capitalized landlords are holding out for the market to revive, or alternatively, they are “backloading” deals by offering rental rates that are initially low to help the tenant through the recession, then escalating those rates toward the end of the term to recoup the discount.


· The vacancy rate in the Chicago CBD office market increased 60 basis points to 15.4 percent from the second quarter.

 (O'Hare Airport, middle right photo)

· The market had overall negative net absorption of 770,000 square feet in the third quarter, bringing the total negative net absorption accumulated year-to-date up to 1.5 million square feet.

· Class A average asking rental rates decreased by $0.02 to $37.13 per square foot for the third quarter.

Analysis: While 155 N. Wacker and 353 N. Clark may be mostly preleased, the older buildings from which tenants are moving don’t have other businesses waiting in the wings to take the space. This, combined with the existence of more than 4.3 million square feet of sublease space on the market, indicate that things are likely to get worse before they get better.

The downtown real estate market continues to be a tale of two landlords. Well-capitalized landlords are in a position to either wait out the recession or to woo tenants with attractive incentives, including moving allowances and tenant improvement dollars. Highly leveraged landlords, however, are very limited in what incentives they can provide to tenants, and lenders have taken a more active role in these discussions.

(300 N. Riverside Plaza, middle left photo)


The vacancy rate crept to 24.3 percent overall, an increase of 40 basis points from the previous quarter.

The market saw more than 500,000 square feet in negative net absorption during the quarter, bringing the total for the year to 1.8 million square feet of negative net absorption.

A modest 430,000 square feet is currently under construction in the I-88 East, I-88 West, North and O’Hare submarkets. The Northwest submarket, which has the highest vacancy of the region at 29.3 percent, currently has no new construction underway.

Average Class A asking rental rates in the Chicago suburbs stood at $24.19 per square foot, an increase of $0.09 from the previous quarter.

Analysis:  Commercial real estate fundamentals continued to soften in the Chicago suburbs as vacancy increased and negative absorption mounted. However, these losses have slowed compared with previous quarters, potentially signaling that the suburbs may emerge from the recession before Chicago’s CBD. The construction pipeline has begun to dry up while the CBD awaits 2.3 million square feet of new construction deliveries, and the suburbs posted less negative absorption this quarter than did the CBD.

To access the full Chicago Metro Office Trends report and other Grubb & Ellis research publications, visit

Grubb & Ellis Represents Chinatrust Bank USA in Sale of The Flat

LOS ANGELES, CA (Oct. 12, 2009) – Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, today announced that its Financial Services Asset Management Group represented Chinatrust Bank USA in the sale of The Flat, (top right photo) a 206-unit REO apartment conversion that the bank took ownership of in September.

The property was sold to SA Properties Holding LLC in an all-cash transaction. Financial consideration was not disclosed.

The Flat is located at 750 S. Garland Ave., and was 93 percent occupied at the time of the sale. Although the sale price was not disclosed, the property was listed at $27 million, making it one of the city’s largest real-estate-owned investment sales transactions in 2009.

Senior Vice Presidents Phillip Sample and Chris Cooney were the lead brokers. Chris Caras, senior vice president, Sandi Mann, senior associate, Mike Shustak, senior vice president, and Ed Rosenthal, vice president, assisted Sample and Cooney in the representation of Chinatrust Bank..

“Navigating the foreclosure, bankruptcy and subsequent sale of the asset was extremely complicated,” said Sample.

“Adding to the complexities of the transactions was our client’s goal to close the transaction prior to the end of the third quarter. Certainly, having a buyer with the ability to quickly close all-cash on this complex asset was key to our success.”

Sonya Moreno, managing partner of SA Properties Holdings, represented SA Properties Holding LLC in the transaction.

Contact: Julia McCartney,  Phone: 714.975.2230,  Email:

Wyndham Hotel Group Recognized as Largest Hotel Company in the U.S.

PARSIPPANY, N.J.– After a year of solid system growth and increased efforts focused on franchisee retention, Wyndham Hotel Group, franchisor and manager of well-known hotel brands, including Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Ramada®, Days Inn®, Super 8®, Wingate by Wyndham®, Baymont Inn & Suites®, Microtel Inns & Suites®, Hawthorn Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® and Knights Inn®, has been recognized by Hotel & Motel Management magazine as the largest hotel company in the U.S. by number of rooms.

Included in the magazine as part of its 2009 Top U.S. Hotel Companies Survey, the distinction highlights the more than 464,000 rooms and nearly 6,000 hotels that make up the company’s 11-brand U.S. portfolio, as of June 2009, which, in a little over a year, has grown by more than 300 hotels and 20,000 rooms. Wyndham Hotel Group is also the largest hotel company in the U.S. by number of hotels.

“Over the past year, we’ve made significant strides in enhancing our development and retention efforts by increasing the size and scope of our development team while providing the necessary tools and flexibility to ensure that current owners and developers succeed in this challenging environment,” said Eric Danziger, (top right photo)  Wyndham Hotel Group president and chief executive officer.

“This achievement underscores the success of those efforts and is a testament to the strength and value of our brands.”
(Ramada Bangkok Sukhumvit, bottom left photo)
Wyndham Hotel Group, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of companies (NYSE: WYN), encompasses more than 7,000 hotels and 590,000 rooms under its 11 brands in 66 countries. All hotels are independently owned and operated excluding certain Wyndham and international Ramada hotels which are managed by our affiliate or through a joint venture partner.

Wyndham Hotel Group is based in Parsippany, N.J. Additional information is available at

CONTACT:  Christine Da Silva, 973-753-6590,