The Real Deal Chicago

Sterling Bay’s John Gavin leaving for BDT Capital Partners

Gavin departs the firm as it ramps up plans for ambitious Lincoln Yards project
May 29, 2018 05:00PM

John Gavin and the landmark Wrigley building (Credit: Chintan Amin via Flickr)

Sterling Bay principal John Gavin is leaving for BDT Capital Partners. The departure comes as Sterling Bay pushes its plans for the 70-acre Lincoln Yards megadevelopment along the North Branch of the Chicago River, one of its many large-scale projects around the city.

But the moment is also an important one for BDT. Gavin will the private-equity firm’s real estate portfolio as it sells the landmark Wrigley Building, sources told Crain’s, which first reported on his new position.

Before joining Sterling Bay in 2011, Gavin spent 14 years running Cushman & Wakefield’s capital markets group.

BDT, led by billionaire banker Byron Trott, bought the Wrigley Building and a neighboring lot for $33 million in 2011 and spent $70 million renovating it. It sold the adjacent lot in 2014 for $42 million, and now is poised to sell the two-tower building for $255 million to Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto.

The firm primarily invests in private companies for wealthy family business founders, and in recent years has hired away Joe Gutman from GCM Grosvenor and John Dills from GTCR.

For Sterling Bay, the Lincoln Yards project is one of several several blockbuster deals. In the past year, it acquired 600 West Chicago Avenue, home of Groupon’s headquarters, for $510 million; and the Prudential Plaza for $680 million.

The developer also has been a key investor in the Fulton Market building boom, developing the Google Midwest headquarters at 1000 West Fulton Market, the Fulton West development at 1330 West Fulton Market, the “vendor village” office building at 210 North Carpenter Street near the McDonald’s building and two hotels. It also recently secured a $182 million construction loan for the start of its ambitious plans for the 300 block of North Green Street. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien