Novak Construction founder eyes opportunity in struggling retail market

Venture led by John Novak paid $25M for 43K sf Loop storefront

Chicago /
Jan.January 20, 2021 01:30 PM
Novak Construction Company founder John Novak and 162 North State Street (Novak; Google Maps)

Novak Construction Company founder John Novak and 162 North State Street (Novak; Google Maps)

Novak Construction Company founder John Novak picked up a large retail storefront property in the Loop, seeing the city’s down market as a buying opportunity.

The purchasing group, led by Novak, paid $24.5 million for the 43,000-square-foot space at 162 North State Street, according to Crain’s. It’s part of a trio of retail properties that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago marketed for sale in 2019, the report noted. Block 37 mall, which is at the base of Morguard North American Residential REIT’s luxury apartment tower, is nearby.

The $571 per foot the Novak group paid for the property — one of its tenants is Old Navy — is lower than past transactions in the area. But Chicago’s retail sector, like cities across the country, has been struggling through the pandemic, with tenants like the Gap and Macy’s exiting leases and closing stores.

The acquisition comes nearly three years after Novak Construction made a similar deal at a retail building in Logan Square. For that transaction, it paid $21 million for a 50,000-square-foot property at 2310 Logan Boulevard. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 


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