Massive pension fund buys Streeterville retail property as vacancies rise

The Maryland-based equity fund picked up the retail strip that neighbors the apartment complex its trying to sell
By Joe Ward |
Research by Haru Coryne
July 05, 2019 11:00AM

Multi-Employer Property Trust buys Streeterville retail strip for $14.2 million. (Credit: Google Maps)

Multi-Employer Property Trust buys Streeterville retail strip for $14.2 million. (Credit: Google Maps)

Weeks after listing its twin Streeterville apartment towers, a major real estate fund has picked up a neighboring commercial building.

Maryland-based Multi-Employer Property Trust paid $14.25 million for the retail property at 311-317 East Ontario Street, Cook County property records show. The open-ended fund, made up of private and public pension investments, bought the commercial strip from a trust.

The deal comes weeks after the fund listed the McClurg Court apartment complex, which includes 1,061 apartments rentals at 333 East Ontario Street. The complex hit the market without an asking price, thought MEPT paid $126 million for the property in 2006, according to Crain’s.

The Downtown retail landscape is in flux, with storefront vacancies in the Loop hitting 13.7 percent in the first quarter. That was the highest rate since 2011. The Magnificent Mile, around the corner from MEPT’s newest acquisition, is also feeling the effects. The destination retail stretch saw vacancy rates hit 12 percent last year, up from 4 percent in 2015.

Multi-Employer Property Trust is an $8.6 billion fund comprised of 345 pension plans, investing in a variety of commercial real estate. It is managed by NewTower Trust Company. In 2011, the fund spent $217.5 million to acquire a 45-story office building at 200 West Madison Street, the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.

Earlier this year, MEPT provided a $71 million construction loan for Moceri + Roszak’s 20-story office tower being built at 145 South Wells Street.