White Oak Realty Partners and CA Office secured the first tenant for their spec office project at 625 West Adams Street: Ferrara Candy Company, which is set to move its headquarters into the tower from suburban Oakbrook Terrace.
The candymaker is finalizing a letter of intent to take 60,000 square feet in the new 20-story office building, sources familiar with the deal confirmed to Crain’s.
Ferrara would not confirm the deal but said in a statement it is looking for a new location that will make it more appealing to potential job applicants. In moving downtown it would join a growing list of suburban companies uprooting from the suburbs for the city or opening an outpost in the city to attract young talent.
After landing a $97.2 million construction loan, Rosemont-based White Oak and Chicago-based CA Office in 2016 began building the 438,000-square foot tower on spec, hoping to cash in on the robust downtown office market. But the building, one of two large office projects to come online this year, has sat empty since it opened.
The developers hired Newmark Knight Frank earlier this year to lease up the building.
White Oak, meanwhile, is turning its attention to residential projects in the West Loop, where it plans to build a 273-unit apartment tower at 205 South Peoria Street and a 205-unit building at 111 South Peoria.
Ferrara signed a 10-year lease at 1 Tower Lane in Oakbrook Terrace in 2012 after it was bought by private equity firm Catterton Partners, which merged it with another confectionary company in its portfolio, Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company. A venture of Italian confectionary giant Ferrero Group bought Ferrara last year, then acquired Nestle’s U.S. candy business and integrated it under the Ferrara banner.
The future of the Oakbrook Terrace office space was unclear. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien