It stays in the family: Sterling Bay sells Fulton Market building to Crowns for $33M

Sterling Bay’s managing principal is the relative of Henry Crown & Company’s principals

Aug.August 26, 2019 05:00 PM
Keating Crown, James Crown and 1040 West Randolph Street (Credit: Newmark Knight Frank)

Keating Crown, James Crown and 1040 West Randolph Street (Credit: Newmark Knight Frank)

Sterling Bay has found a buyer for its original headquarters in Fulton Market — and they’re well acquainted with the investor, principal Keating Crown’s own family members.

According to Cook County property records, Sterling Bay sold 1040 West Randolph Street to Henry Crown & Company for $33 million.

Henry Crown & Company bought the former Sterling Bay headquarters through limited liability corporations controlled by James S. Crown, A. Steven Crown and William H. Crown, property records show. The deal does not appear to have been financed with an acquisition loan.

Sterling Bay bought the two-story, 56,000-square-foot building in 2012 for $4.7 million, well before much of Fulton Market’s transformation, which Sterling Bay helped to pioneer. After building up much of the surrounding area, including the nearby McDonald’s corporate headquarters, the developer is cashing out of the property at a sizable profit.

The property, which was on the market since March 2018, is leased out to Aspen Dental, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But the Crown family has other options than sitting on it and collecting rent money: the property’s zoning allows for a structure four times bigger than the current one.

Sterling Bay reached a deal earlier this summer to sell 1330 West Fulton Market, 290,000-square-foot building that was home to its second headquarters, to German firm Commerz Real for $175 million.

Henry Crown & Company is no stranger to doing deals with Sterling Bay. Keating Crown, son of A. Steven Crown and grandson of Lester Crown, has been a managing principal at Sterling Bay since 2012.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that A. Steven Crown is an investor in a joint venture to build a hotel-and-rental complex at 300 North Michigan Avenue. Sterling Bay is developing that project with partners Magellan Development Group and Wanxiang America Real Estate Group.

Crown & Company, the Chicago-based family run investment firm, late last year paid $10.5 million for a Lincoln Square apartment building. The Crown family has a number of high-profile real estate holdings, including 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, which the family bought with Tishman Speyer in 2000.

Locally, the family owns 222 North LaSalle Street, where last year it signed technology platform Origami Risk to a 24,500-square-foot lease.

It is not known if Crown has plans for the building at 1040 West Randolph. The firm could not be reached for comment, and a representative for Sterling Bay did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While it has cashed out of two of its Fulton Market holdings, Sterling Bay is staying active in the neighborhood’s ongoing development boom. In July, the Lincoln Yards developer made public plans for two new office towers in Fulton Market totaling 750,000 square feet in office space.

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