The Real Deal Chicago

Sterling Bay hires Howard Blair as director of construction

The move comes as the developer continues to make large acquisitions, embarks on massive Lincoln Yards project
By John O’Brien | July 23, 2018 11:00AM

Howard Blair and Lincoln Yards

Sterling Bay hired industry veteran Howard Blair as director of construction, as the developer continues its string of high-profile office acquisitions and embarks on plans for the massive Lincoln Yards development.

Blair joins the Chicago-based firm after a 32-year career at Development Resources Inc., where he was involved in rehabs of 224 South Michigan Avenue, the Wieboldt’s building, Robert Morris College, 120 South LaSalle Street and 110 North Wacker Drive, according to Sterling Bay.

His most recent project was overseeing CNA’s headquarters buildout and move-in at 151 North Franklin Street.

Blair has completed more than 400 projects in his career.

“I like the idea of completing a project and getting it occupied. It’s exciting,” Blair said, adding helping a company move into a new location can have visible impact on the client. “You can see it,” he said.”That’s the fun of building something and seeing it through to fruition.”

Blair and Sterling Bay Managing Principal Andy Gloor have known each other for years and worked together when Hillshire Brands moved its global headquarters to Sterling Bay’s 400 South Jefferson Street in 2014. Blair was Hillshire Brands’ project manager.

Calling him a “legend in the business,” Gloor said Blair’s experience and business savvy will help the company at a critical time in its history.

Last week, Sterling Bay unveiled its $5 billion vision for the Lincoln Yards project, which calls for 5,000 residential units and 6 million square feet of commercial space on 53 acres along the North Branch of the Chicago River.

“I’m looking forward to getting all the infrastructure and laying the groundwork and foundation,” he said of the project.

Sterling Bay also has a number of active projects in Fulton Market, where it developed headquarters for McDonald’s and Google’s Midwest operations. On one block of Greet Street alone, the firm is developing 1.7 million square feet of office space.

Sterling Bay also just acquired the office space in the former John Hancock Center,  on the heels of key acquisitions of the Groupon headquarters at 600 West Chicago Avenue and Prudential Plaza.