Midwest Property Group moving forward with River North office project

The 12-story building would go on a disputed lot where the developer once planned 300 apartments

Chicago /
Mar.March 27, 2019 11:00 AM
A rendering of 450-488 North LaSalle Street

A rendering of 450-488 North LaSalle Street

Midwest Property Group will move ahead with plans for a River North office project that has a litigious past.

The Chicago-based firm plans the 12-story office building with ground-floor retail on a surface parking lot at 450-488 North LaSalle Street, according to the office of Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd).

The building would have 40 bike parking stalls but no vehicle parking spaces, which is allowed because of its location near the Merchandise Mart CTA Brown Line station, Reilly’s office said. The building would wrap around the existing LaSalle Cable Car Powerhouse building at 444 North LaSalle Street, which would not be affected by the project, according to his office.

While the River North Residents Association supports the project, it still would need approval from several city panels and the City Council.

Midwest Property’s Jaime Javors and Michigan developer James Porritt battled it out in court over a pair of properties near LaSalle and Illinois streets, including the site of the proposed office project.

The more than two-year legal battle saw five lawsuits including a $17 million defamation claim filed by Javors.

A Javors venture in 2013 signed a ground lease with a trust connected to philanthropist John Cuneo Jr. for properties at 403 North LaSalle Street and the 450-488 North LaSalle lot. Two years later, Javors sublet the 403 North LaSalle Street lot to Porritt, who planned to build a 199-key hotel there, according to Crain’s.

In 2016, Porritt sued Javors, claiming he deceived him in the deal. Javors responded by filing a suit last year claiming Porritt violated his sublease. The two sides resolved their legal conflicts in November, according to Crain’s.

Porritt now plans to develop an 18-story Andaz hotel on the 403 North LaSalle property, the luxury brand’s first Chicago location.

Javors had planned to build a 300-unit rental project on the 450-488 North LaSalle lot, but Reilly rejected it. Javors then came back with the new office project proposal.

River North outpaced other Downtown submarkets in office rent growth between 2016 and 2018, driven in part by a wave of new software and technology companies signing leases.


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