R2 Companies moving HQ to Goose Island, bringing retail

The freshly-renovated 55K-sf mixed-use complex is 80 percent leased

Aerial shot of Goose Island and Managing Principal of R2, Matt Garrison
Aerial shot of Goose Island and Managing Principal of R2, Matt Garrison

R2 Companies is moving its Chicago headquarters from the West Loop to a freshly-renovated 55,000-square-foot building on Goose Island, The Real Deal has learned.

The developer bought the 3-acre industrial property at 1200 North North Branch Street in 2015, taking over a two-story brick industrial warehouse where Division Avenue meets the north branch of the Chicago River. When the company’s sole tenant moved out late last year, R2 began converting the building into a mixed-use office and retail hub, according to leasing director and principal Matt Duhig.

With R2 set to make the formal move next week, Duhig expects the remade space — which is already 80 percent leased — to benefit from a wave of new interest stemming from the City Council’s passage of the sweeping North Branch Framework Plan last year.

The 160-acre island, bordered by the river to the west and the North Branch Canal to the east, was traditionally dominated by warehouses and manufacturers before it was rezoned to allow for retail and office space. Residential is still prohibited on most of the island.

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“There’s been a serious uptick in demand since this framework was passed, because there’s only so much space on the river for these retailers and restaurant operators to go,” Duhig said. “It’s destiny for an area that’s a five- or 10-minute Uber ride from Lincoln Park, Bucktown and the West Loop.”

The building’s retail component will include a Hero Coffee shop, set to open in September. Hero already operates cafes in the Loop, West Town and the West Loop.

R2 lists 23 Chicago properties in its portfolio, eight of which are on or within sight of Goose Island.

Across the canal, R2 is building a 40,00-square-foot REI superstore at 1442 North Kingsbury Street. It joins a crop of new development along the “wild mile,” a stretch of waterfront set to include a boardwalk, fishing stations and “vegetative islands” facing Goose Island. And earlier this week, Structured Development announced it had leased a 40,000-square-foot Planet Granite climbing gym for its Shops at Big Deahl complex being built the area.